Best Places to Live

Austin, TX

Population: 971,752

Name and occupation: Rachel Lily Campbell, personal trainer and owner of fitness studio Fit4MOM

How long did you live in LA? I grew up there. My neighbors were the likes of O.J. Simpson, Dustin Hoffman, etc.

Where did you move? Austin, Texas

Why did you leave LA?

I moved to New York City after college and then to Austin in my early 20s. Growing up in LA was non-traditional. It was fast-paced and I think in my soul I knew that I needed more stability. 

What's the difference in your rent/mortgage payment in LA vs. your new city? 

Well, my parents still live in a super-tiny two bedroom house that’s worth over $1 million in Malibu. Currently, I have a house that’s double the size and my mortgage is a little less than $1,500 per month. It’s actually a lot more pricey to live in Austin now than when I moved here over a decade ago, but it’s still very manageable, especially as a single parent/income home.  

How did leaving LA affect your career/creative life? 

Leaving LA was great for my soul and my overall life. I think it was a necessary slowdown; I was able to streamline my own values, which were much more on the family front. 

Also, I got to go out to dinner wearing jeans. Expectations of keeping up with the Joneses in Los Angeles were unmanageable!

What's something creative you've been able to do in Austin that may not have happened in LA? 

I am a business-owning single mother! I’m able to provide comfortably for my little family here. My quality of life is so fantastic, and I don’t know if I could’ve done that in Los Angeles.

What do you miss about LA? 

The Mexican food. Sorry, Texas. This ain’t Mexican. 

Tell us something surprising about Austin that people may not realize. 

Austin is literally the best blend of people from the big cities in this “small town.” You’ve got your super-educated artsy people, your liberal arts fanatics, and your funky creative young families, sprinkled in with a little bit of manners — that’s Austin, Texas. It’s the best town I’ve ever lived in, with the most diversity, the most amazing health/fitness/wellness scene. 

And JuiceLand. I could never live without it at this point.