As a former resident of San Francisco, I can really relate to this. Your travel experience is similar to that of an artist I know. She rented her house in the city and lived in Bali for several months. Not only did she save money, she found new creative energy living in a different culture. Like you, she never regretted giving that gift to herself. I’m glad your family was able to do the same.
If I were able to airlift my current home to California, I would not be able to afford it. It’s ridiculously expensive there. I admire you for finding that kindness is your refuge and also your solution in many instances.