The Real Reason Why I Moved Country- Alone, At 19

The Real Reason Why I Moved Country- Alone, At 19

Growing up a lot of my sentences started with, “when I live in New York…” but of course it was all just a distant dream. So in my last year of college when everyone was moving on to the next step in their lives and planning for their future, it only made sense to casually bring up that I’m moving to NYC when everyone asked me what I was doing. I had no idea how it was all going to happen but regardless of that I started to tell a few people of my plans to say goodbye as the date for my move got closer. 

I ended up booking a 2 week vacation to New York that summer with one of my close friends to get an idea of what I was getting myself into. This was by far one of the best trips I’ve been on and I still remember that last day at JFK airport and how miserable I felt knowing I had to leave. This was the first time I felt homesick for a place that wasn’t actually my home but it just confirmed that my heart was in New York and obviously that wasn’t good enough. Whether it was all the crazy people we met, the non-stop lively atmosphere or the fond memories of bagels with cream cheese, I knew I needed to physically be there. 

A very long 5 months later and I was back in NY- this time with a one-way ticket and one overflowing suitcase filled with a few pieces of clothing, leaving cards and other random items I threw in the night before, (I hate packing and will definitely leave it to the very last-minute whether I’m going away for the weekend or uprooting my entire life). I wanted to start again so I only brought a limited amount with me. 

My friend picked me up at the airport and that was it, I was in the middle of a new country having to start a whole life again from the beginning. 

I always get asked for the reason why I moved out of the UK and I usually just come out with “because I wanted to” as it’s so much easier and a much quicker response than the real reasons why I moved. I thought I may as well write about it so if anyone asks me, here’s the answer! 

  • I needed a serious change

I thought about all other options and relocating just felt like it needed to be my next step. If it wasn’t going to be New York it was at least going to be another country. The last couple of years had all rolled into one and I just wasn’t happy and lacked any form of motivation. After living in textbooks for most of my life and taking everything so seriously I was tired of doing the same thing every single day. I wanted to take a year out purely to gain new life experiences.

  •  New York is my dream city

I’ve said this too many times now but I feel so inspired here. There’s so much creativity, passion and an indescribable fierceness. It’s always been my dream city and I feel like I make a perfect match here. Sometimes we’re not born in the city we were meant to be in and we don’t relate to the place we call “home.” I wasn’t brought to NY because of a job or a relationship but simply my love of the city and everything I’d seen of it so far. I was always fascinated by the idea of living overseas and New York was at the top of my list. 

  • Nothing holding me back

As a duel citizen I had an opportunity to live in New York. I knew if I didn’t take this I would totally regret it. I didn’t know how it was going to work out or what exactly was going to happen out there but that’s what made it so exciting for me. I loved the unknown. What was my life going to look like and how much would I have changed in a year? Who would I spend most of my time with and what new things would I learn? 

I remember telling everyone that if it doesn’t work out the worst-case scenario is that I’d have to come back to the UK sooner than expected, but in my heart I went in with high expectations and I knew it was going to be an awesome experience. 

Sometimes we expect everything we want to be put right in front of us and we don’t want to make small sacrifices. I didn’t know the exact outcome or how I would deal without family and living alone.

The fact is that I’ve had a life changing experience in such a short space of time and have grown in ways I never could have imagined possible just a few years ago. And sure, there was a chance that this move to a new continent alone wasn’t going to work out. I could have backed out but if I did I wouldn’t have had the best year of my life or met some of my closest life-long friends. I visualized a life in New York and it was never an illusion to me, it was a plan. Now I’m actually here I have so much to look forward to since I’m only just getting started! 

  • A chance to reinvent myself

If you move to a new location, since no one really knows you and mostly everyone you meet is for the first time, you can choose to be whoever you want to be. I’m not saying to be fake or someone you’re not just a different version of yourself that people from back home never saw in you. You can take on new hobbies, try out new styles, behave differently in social situations and no one will know the old you. Sometimes we can be held back by a certain environment and it’s not until we let go and move on to something else we really start to grow and become who we always were on the inside. 


Things will go wrong no matter where you are in the world and not everything goes exactly as anticipated. I’m still going to get sick, rejected by something I want and deal with negative feelings from time to time.  

We’re never going to be fully ready and sometimes we need to throw away the idea of waiting to make things happen until that feeling of being “ready” shows up. Of course having some plan of action and preparation is necessary (I had to make sure I saved up a certain amount before etc…) I’ve learned to start taking action because that’s what life’s about. It’s great to have all these ideas but what’s the point of just having them live in your mind as eventually those dreams will turn into delusions rather than actual goals. That “ready” moment may never come and all you’ll have is the remains of regret as you look back and say, “I wish I did that crazy thing when I had the chance to…” 

Circumstances change real quick and someone actually told me to wait a couple of years to save up properly and then move. It was completely well intended advice but if I listened to that I wouldn’t have been able to move because two years later we’re in the middle of a pandemic. I would have moved here just before it started which would literally be a complete nightmare! So we really don’t know one day to the next and there’s never a perfect time. 

As much as I would tell anyone to at least spend some time living in a foreign country, sometimes moving away seems like the perfect solution when we begin to feel hopeless and worn out. The truth is that it doesn’t matter where you go in the world, your problems will follow you wherever you go and simply moving to another location on the map isn’t the answer to resolving your inner anguish.

So was this move worth it and do I have any regrets? Did it live up to my expectations or was I disillusioned for leaving my home when I had nothing lined up for me in New York? What happened next? 

Stay tuned for this in a future post!

What is your dream city? Tell me in the comment section!

Leah x

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