I’ve moved a few times, but I can’t imagine 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. 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.”
2. 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.”
3. 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.”
4. 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.”
“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.”
6. 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!”
7. 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.”
“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.”
9. 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.”
10. 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.”
“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.”
“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!”
13. 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.”
14. 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.”
15. 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.”
16. 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?”
17. 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.”
18. 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.”
19. 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.”
20. “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.”
21. 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.”
22. 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.”
23. 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!