People Tell Their Stories About Leaving Their Lives Behind and Starting Completely New Ones

You have to admit: it takes a lot of guts to start a new life somewhere new.

Some people do it for work, some do it to escape bad situations, and some just want a fresh start where they don’t know a single soul.

And that’s pretty intimidating.

Let’s hear from people on AskReddit who left their old lives behind to start over somewhere new.

1. Empowering.

“I did this last year.

It was terrifying and exciting all rolled into one. I quit my job without having another one. Sold my house without having a home. Packed everything my son and I owned and moved 3 hours away. Best. Decision. Ever.

It made me feel like I could do it again if I ever wanted too. The world is so big, so it was empowering.”

2. It all worked out.

“3 years ago I moved from London, UK to Alberta, Canada.

Best decision of my life.

London is a very lonely city, especially when you’re introverted. I never made any real close friends, and it’s so insanely expensive that even with a great job I didn’t have much money left to go out and enjoy life. And I lived in a small, awful shared apartment where the only space to myself was a probably 20 sq ft room or smaller. It is an amazing city but it didn’t work for me.

Since being in Alberta I’ve made some close friends and met the love of my life. I finally have savings and a realistic prospect of buying a house one day. I live in a huge, 2 bedroom apartment by myself. I live near the rockies so I do a good amount of hiking. I’ve been tubing and ice skating with friends.

Pre covid I started going to a new gym and on the first session had people saying hi, probably could’ve been friends if covid hadn’t hit. Not to mention it’s so sunny. The cold is extreme but I will never miss the grey and rain of England.

I moved here with a 2 week airbnb reservation, $5000 to survive off and no real plan, no jobs prospects. Just the knowledge I could book a flight home if needed. Somehow it all ended up working out.”

3. What a story.

“I was 26 years old, divorced, and living in Saudi Arabia (my home country) with extremely religious (cult-like) family. As a woman, you can imagine what an absolute f*cking nightmare that was.

This was before any of the “reformations” of dear MBS in the country. The guardian system made it near f*cking impossible to break free from an abusive household. I didn’t know what to do. I had a good degree. I spoke English like a native. After a failed suicide attempt, I decided it was time to finally leave this hell hole.

So on December 30, 2014, with nothing more than my legal documents, a suitcase, and a carry-on, I crossed the causeway to Bahrain with the help of friends and got on a plane to the United States. It’s been over 6 years.

I was numb until I landed on American soil. Once I could breathe the air of freedom, I broke down. I was taken advantage of my first year in this country. I received death threats, hate mail, temper tantrums from my mom that finally culminated in her telling me that I was dead to her and to never contact her again.

I couldn’t work for a whole year. Even after, it took 8 months to find a job and it paid sh*t. I was homeless. I rented a room from a murderer (he did his time though). Lots of weird sh*t.

Then in the last 2 years my life really began. I found my hobbies. I found myself. I found a new family. My dog and I hike and travel a lot. Then I met the love of my life and he has joined our wonderful little pack. I miss family. I miss certain aspects of my culture. I feel bad for not trying to make more of a change.

I feel like a coward sometimes, but I just wanted to live. I didn’t want to be a “hero” or a “martyr” or a “dissident”. I literally just wanted the freedom to be able to go out of my house whenever I wanted to without someone interrogating me like some kind of criminal. I wanted to be able to accept a job and not have to have my father give his “consent” so I can work. I wanted to adopt a dog, go on hikes, travel the world, fall in love. I didn’t want to stay in my father’s house waiting until a man feels sorry enough for me to add me to his collection of wives.

I was 26 and divorced. Women my age in my culture don’t get single eligible bachelors. Those are reserved for the 16-21 year-olds.”

4. Worthwhile.

“Sold everything and got on a Greyhound with my two little kids and went across country to a big city I had visited once and loved. We’ve been here 11 years now.

Have never regretted making this our home. It was very hard. We have struggled so much. But the decent life we have now made it worthwhile.”

5. A new start.

“Best thing I’ve ever done. Moved from western New York to Arizona.

It was tough at first with trying to get on my feet, and when I did…the pandemic started. But it’s easier to do than most people think. I believe most people don’t do it because of the “unknown” and they’re scared of change.

For me, I’m  happier than I’ve ever been. I have a really good paying job. The best paying job I’ve ever had actually. And the first job I’ve ever had that I enjoy going to. I’m 34 so that’s saying something!

And to live where I live, views of mountains, beautiful weather….it’s just a dream come true.”

6. Good for you.

“I walked out on my abusive ex while he was in central booking with a single suitcase and a bunch of cats in carriers, took an uber five hours north, and totally started over. New name, new (claimed) birthday, new hair colorr…

It was the most liberating experience of my life and, even though I still suffer residual effects from old injuries, being free of that b*stard is a million reasons to be happy.”

7. A new land.

“3 years ago USA to Japan.

Got a visa through a teaching company but they completely changed plans on me as soon as I arrived. I told them that I was assured before leaving that I’d be living in a particular place, and would not be happy in place B. I politely declined. Took all my money, about 3000, and went about searching for something else.

After blowing almost all my money I eventually met someone amazing who helped me get in the right direction. Eventually I was offered a job after many many applications and interviews, but didn’t even have a place to live (was living in a capsule hotel).

After securing the job I spent the rest of my money and maxed out my credit card on an apartment. It was a gamble but I never had failure in my mind. I spent the first month sleeping on my clothes until I had enough for a futon, then a bed.

That amazing person who helped me and encouraged me to keep searching never stopped either, and is now my beautiful pregnant wife. I don’t think I can win the lottery again.”

8. Bounced around.

“In the year 2000, I was starting to become severely depressed, and heading toward suicide.

I was living in sh*tty surroundings in a town outside of Philadelphia. I kept needing an answer out of things, instead of the permanent way. The worse things got there, the more I wanted to flee. I had no ties there, anyway.

I moved to San Francisco. I drove there, alone, cross country. My mother and grandparents, were totally understanding. We were all a family of nomads anyway, living different places my entire life. So, it was not super scary for me to start over again somewhere else.

I went from the abrasive, dour, unfriendly, east coast to a city where people told me I was beautiful on a near daily basis. This is coming from an overweight chick, who was always made fun of for it. It took me about 6 months to believe it. San Francisco was amazing for the self esteem and confidence that I didn’t have much of.

People started conversation with me, and treated me well, and you could truly be who you were without judgement. I had been thinking about moving back lately. However, I understand it’s a completely different city now, unfortunately.

I stayed for about a year and then moved to New Mexico, and have been here since… Save for a 5 year stint from 11/2007 – 12/2012 in North Carolina, where I had planned on going to college, which didn’t work out. That was a terrible decision all around.

I love it here, in my quiet small town. But I wouldn’t trade that year in SF for anything, because I learned so about myself, and again, it was a wonderful place for my self esteem.”

9. Congrats!

“In 2019, at barely 80 lbs and with a full blown prescription drug addiction, I decided to stop showing up to a job I had been working for over a decade.

With no plan B I traveled to New Zealand, got sober, then France, got engaged, Italy, Alaska, got married, and then the Maldives.

I’m living in the US and have a quiet & stress free 9-5, run an Etsy shop as a hobby that has been doing pretty well, and have been sober for 1 year and 1 month.”

10. Starting over.

“I abruptly quit a job I had worked at for 7 years that I finally admitted was a dead end.

I got a job at a lodge in a national park flipping hamburgers for
minimum wage. I didn’t know a single person there when I moved. But it quickly led to traveling to amazing places like Alaska and making lots of friends from all over the world.

The experience gave me the confidence to really pursue my career goals, and last year I finally got my dream job! Nothing good happens in your comfort zone!”

11. I recommend it!

“I moved from Colorado to Oregon 1.5 years ago, partially to end my 5-year abusive relationship and mostly to simply experience another state and to try to not feel stuck with depression and life in general.

Though I got booted from my dream apartment in Eugene due to needed renovations, I now have more income to put towards my dream of tattoo school (hopefully this spring! COVID restrictions) and am living with my amazing boyfriend of 7 months.

I am in a metal band and never would have dreamed of pushing my boundaries like this 2 years ago, or of someone who treats me the way my current guy does. Life-uprooting? I recommend it.”

Did you or someone you know ever start a new life somewhere?

If the answer is YES, please share your stories in the comments.

We look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!