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People Who Up and Left and Started a New Life Talk About Their Experiences

I’ve moved quite a few times in my life, but I can’t imagine dropping out of sight and starting over somewhere completely new just because I knew that I had to get away.

I guess people who do this have many different reasons for their actions, but you have to admit that it would be pretty scary venturing into the unknown.

AskReddit users who started new lives shared their stories. Let’s take a look.

1. Arizona-bound.

“I was 24, wasted college getting a degree I’ve never used, working a dead-end grocery store job and living with my parents.

Started dating this 30-year-old woman with a 9-year-old kid, which was nuts to me even now. After dating for maybe only 6 months or so, she told me she was moving to AZ for a job and she’d like me to go with her. Taking a look at my life currently, I decided to say yes and here I am 15 years later, we are married with two of our own kids, careers and home-ownership.

Some rough parts at times, sure, but I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe trying to meet her a little sooner in life!”

2. Glad you stuck it out.

“My ex and I packed everything we could in our jeep, plus our dogs, and left Florida for Maine.

It went…. hey, I hate it here, don’t you? Let’s move far far away. One side trip to visit my parents, and about 35 hours of drive time later, we arrived to coastal Maine.

Shortly after, the ex and I broke up…. and life got really difficult and lonely. I was in the middle of a crisis and culture shock, having moved from Miami to small town Maine. I didn’t have a single soul here. I bounced around a few jobs, and some days I would go home and cry on my dogs because I was just so alone. I asked myself daily if this was the right decision.

One day, I decided I didn’t want to be sad anymore. I’d gotten over the ex, and got a new job. The job sucked, but there I met my now closest and best girl friends. I started to save a little. I found a nice house with a big yard to rent. I got new furniture.

April will be 6 years I am here, and though I struggled for about a year and doubted my decision….. sometimes hourly…. moving was by far the absolute best thing I could have ever done for myself. I left some toxic family, some less than ideal friends, and a state that I hate.

Now my winters are spent playing in the snow with my dogs, and my summers (pre covid of course) are spent working hard and having fun with my friends. I have a job I love.

I’m glad I stuck to my decision, despite the struggles I had.”

3. Done it four times.

“I’ve done it four times now. Once involved immigrating to a new country. I have always made housing arrangements before I go. And once I did have a job lined up.

The older I get the easiest it gets. I definitely prefer solitude so the first chunk of time in a new place is lovely. Being alone and completely free. Doing what I want and answering to nobody.

I’ve learned to take my time making friends. And getting involved in my community. This last move (at the beginning of the pandemic) really changed my whole life. I’ve walked away from my career and my community work. I’m starting a business. I’ve made friends with people I really appreciate instead of making friends with people because of work & community networking needs.

Each move has led to massive changes in who I am and how I live. What my priorities are. And this is a very good thing. This latest move and the pandemic really forced me to slow down and listen to what I need and who I am. That’s the best part of picking up and leaving. You only have yourself. It’s f*cking magic.

The worst part is the time it takes to make friends. Sometimes you just want to go for a beer and chat. It can get a little lonely. Phone calls and video chats just aren’t the same. But soon enough friends will come along. Enjoy the alone time while you’ve got it.

It’s good to get out into the world and experience a different life, to see things from a different vantage. It’s good to learn that you can trust and really on yourself, to see your strength. And your weakness. Your bravery.

And honestly we’ve only got one life. If wherever you go sucks- pick up and do it again. Go where you need to go to be happy- your happiness has value.

But don’t forget- wherever you go, there you are. Moving isn’t a magic trick that’ll cure all that ails you. You still have to do the work to overcome whatever is going on that’s making you want to run. It might just be a little easier when you have a clean slate.”

4. Found your place.

“I left a small Midwest town to move to Vancouver and it was the best decision I could have ever made.

The only downside is how expensive this city is, I know at some point I’ll need to move out if I ever want to own my own property. That said, I never thought I’d ever feel home somewhere, but after my first visit I was hooked and knew I needed to get back.

I’m working on citizenship now and am hoping I’ll be able to live in this province for the remainder of my life.”

5. Still here.

“Quit my job and gave up my penthouse apartment in Vancouver ( oh, man, the view of Stanley Park and the mountains was amazing ) and moved to Japan for one year, maybe two.

Twenty-four years later, I’m still here, happily married, and living in an even bigger penthouse apartment (oh, man, the view of the hospital and the railroad tracks is sh*t ).

Life? Am I right?”

6. A long way.

“Scandinavia to Australia about three years ago.

I never realized how much sunshine and beaches improve your life! Nature is beautiful back home and beautiful here, and so are people.

Moved for love and haven’t regretted it for a second.”

7. Enough of this.

“Life was an absolute dumpster fire. I had dropped out of college, parents were disappointed in how my life was going, friends had gotten married and moved on, girlfriend had faked two pregnancies to keep us together, my job sucked and I was miserable.

Finally had my “f*ck this” moment when my landlord sent a certified letter to tell me that he was voiding my lease (power to do that was in the lease) in three months. Over those three months I quit paying rent, shut off the power and lived in the dark, sold almost everything I owned. Skipped town on a $1250 motorcycle and no destination other than “SOUTH”. Spent the next nine months just riding.

I would ride into a town, find a day labor job, sleep in a tent in a campground, a hostel or in the sh*ttiest hotel I could find and just see the place. A few days later I’d move on to the next random place. I think when I added it up there were 90 different town. There were SO many amazing experiences along the way, some amazing people, but nothing that screamed “YOU BELONG HERE”…..until I stopped for lunch in a cafe in a small town I wasn’t planning on staying in.

Hit it off with the (married) waitress who introduced me to her Dad who offered me a couple of days work. The guys at his shop immediately took me in like family. Two of the guys did a full tuneup and oil change on my bike after work, that Sunday I went on a hike with the waitress, her husband, and his sister. Spent the night sitting on a park bench talking to the sister before taking her to breakfast back at the cafe in the morning.

Basically two weeks after hitting town I was hooked, I had found home. 15 years later I’m married to the sister (waitress and her husband now own the diner), made a couple of amazing kids, managing a great team at work, built a house, bought a boat, hunting buddies with the Mayor, and plan on being buried in this amazing place when the time comes.

I tell people all the time that sometimes your place in the world isn’t five minutes from where you were born.”

8. No regrets.

“Moved from Ireland to New Zealand, so about as far as you can get before you start coming back.

Moved during the recession, when I was unemployed and job prospects were few, and have had opportunities here I never would have had staying at home. Moving back would feel like emigrating to a whole new country now, so much has changed.

It’s been wonderful, but you do have a sense of being split in two, and the loneliness, guilt and distance from family really hits when things aren’t going so well. However, zero regrets.”

9. “Glad we left.”

“The shutdown pushed me to have a new life.

I lost my job and my savings were only going to last less than 1 month. So I left and took my boyfriend with me. We volunteered on farms in exchange for a room and food.

We worked in Vermont first on this gorgeous 40 acre farm that had sheep, cows, chickens, and bees. Then we decided to drive across the country to Oregon to work on another farm. Then another farm in Arizona. Then my boyfriend proposed and we got married in Las Vegas. Then we both found amazing jobs in Oregon again.

A year ago I was a bartender and working two side jobs to make ends meet. I was barely surviving and I literally worked every day. I worked 50 plus hours and still didn’t have a savings or medical insurance. It was exhausting.

Now, I’m working in a field I always wanted to get into. I married an incredible man. I have health insurance, and a freaking savings account. Also, since we didn’t have many expenses, we used our stimulus checks to invest and we turned those checks into $20,000 and counting in profits.

We were scared to leave; we didn’t know if we could make it. We were scared to invest our money; we didn’t think we could turn a profit. We kept being afraid of change, but if we had given in to our fears we would be back home, miserable, broke, and jobless. I’m glad we left.”

10. Quite a story.

“When I was 23 I moved from CT to WA. I was in a band that was doing okay, and managing restaurants at the time.

I grew up super poor, and even though I’d had an apartment with girlfriend, I had very little. Like, I lived there for a year and never had a couch. No car. Not even a license. I couldn’t afford a vehicle so why spend the money on acquiring my license?

A had a 91 y.o. grandfather in WA. He wanted to stay independent and live in his home, but he needed help. I hadn’t seen him since I was 13 and had only spoken to him a handful of times since, but he offered me the opportunity to live with him. I wouldn’t have to pay anything, plus he had an extra car I could use.

So, I did it. My girlfriend and I packed up what little we owned in her car and drove across country to live with my grandfather in a small retirement town. Aside from my girlfriend, he was the only person I knew for 3000 miles.

I got a job working in a restaurant in about 3 weeks. My girlfriend dropped me off until I got my license, which didn’t take long. Then I saw on the news that a government agency had a critical staffing shortage, so I decided I’d put in for that opportunity and ended up being selected.

I ended up working 45 minutes south of home, with odd hours. The GF worked up north. We developed different social circles and split up 6 months after moving. My grandfather passed away about 6 months later.

I was alone and homesick. I looked at avenues to move back to CT, but I had a stable job and made a livable wage for the first time in my life, so I didn’t want to go back to nothing.

I ended up getting an apartment in a bigger city. I’ve now worked for that agency for 14 years now. I have lifelong friends. Married, kids, and I’m a homeowner.

Coming from absolutely poverty I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished.”

11. All worked out.

“I left from Texas to go to Senegal to marry someone I met on a Muslim marriage site. I landed in Dakar only knowing one person on the entire continent.

He was waiting at the airport and we were finally in each other’s presence for the first time. We went to his friend’s apartment to change into our wedding clothes. We then went to a mosque and got married. Less than an hour after meeting in person, he was my husband.

We lived there in Senegal for two years and then moved to North Carolina. He is literally the best man I have ever known. We’ve been married seven years and I still am amazed at how wonderful my life is now.”

12. Did the right thing.

“Four years ago I left my abusive ex husband who would beat, s*xually abuse, and keep my kids and I malnourished and dirty. It got so out of hand one night he attempted suicide.

While he was in surgery after the attempt (we both went into surgery cause we both got harmed but I got out earlier) I packed up my kids, dogs, cats and we all hopped into a Honda Civic coupe and drove as far as we could. Never looked back. Got a divorce, restraining order, went under a protection program for a few years and now the man is gone. Maybe he finally killed himself or maybe he ran off to be horrible to someone else.

All I know is I’m writing this from my luxury apartment in the city of my dreams, about to take my healthy and happy kids to daycare, and can smell the sausage sizzling. My kids are still asleep.”

Did you ever do something like this?

If so, please tell us your story in the comments.

We’d love to hear it!