There have been many occasions in the past 6 months where I’ve been asked why we moved to New York City.
People are always curious. Why did we leave Australia? Why did we choose USA/New York? Do we like living in NYC? How long will we be staying here?
Over the weekend, Robert and I were playing tourist by partaking in a NYC Beer and Brewery tour, and the subject of our move to USA was inevitably brought up in conversation with our guide, Gina. After Gina had moved on to chat with some of the other tour attendees, Robert told me:
“Ash, you give a different answer to that question every time we get asked.”
He’s absolutely right, I do say a different reason every time. I wondered why this was the case, and came to the conclusion that it’s just easier to just say one reason instead of explaining the truth, which is that there is no single reason that we moved to New York City. Our move was part of a much bigger picture.
Living in Sydney, early 2015
It’s not as though we disliked living in Sydney, or that we thought we’d have a better life in New York. We had good friends and close family in Australia and both had jobs that suited us. Honestly, life in Sydney was great.
So why did we decide to leave?
The reasons started with a desire to experience a different culture from the one we were accustomed to. Then it grew to the possibility of better job opportunities for Robert in the booming tech industry in New York City.
Once the idea of moving abroad had been planted in our heads, we realised the potential travel opportunities we’d have if we lived in the US. Visiting more of North America without having to endure the horrendous 15-hour flight from Sydney every time made the move extremely appealing.
But more than all of those reasons, we really just wanted to spend our twenties pushing the boundaries and seeing how far we could go, and what we could achieve. If we didn’t try moving abroad now, then when would we?
We wanted to see if we could do it, and so we did.
Living in New York City, late 2015
Even with all the setbacks, we still managed to move from one side of the world to the other. We felt an enormous sense of achievement when we figured out how to get an apartment, open a bank account, and get Robert a great job. They may seem like little things to someone who has lived in this country forever, but for a foreigner, these are challenges to overcome.
Our desire to experience a new culture has been fulfilled, too. We celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time, and made it through a winter snowstorm. We made friends with people from all over America who had also moved to New York City, and we met some people who had lived here their entire lives.
And just as we’d hoped, having New York City as our new home base has given a whole range of travel opportunities that we wouldn’t have had before. In just 6 months, we’ve visited Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, California, and Florida.
This year, we also have plans to head to Europe (of which the 7.5 hour flight is much more manageable than the 24 hours it would have taken from Australia) and many more destinations in North America. We will not let these travel opportunities go to waste.
Exploring Philadelphia, December 2015
Acquiring a US working visa was far from easy, but our situation was better than most. Our E3 visa is specifically for Australians working in a specialty occupation and the application process was fairly straightforward, whereas others have to apply for an H1B visa which is more difficult to acquire.
If our attempt to move to the US had have fallen through for any reason, our plan B was to try moving to somewhere else – most likely Europe or the UK where it’s much easier for Australians to get working visas.
Moving to another country wasn’t quick, simple, or cheap, but it was 100% worth it for the rewards. We wouldn’t have achieved nearly as much as we have if we’d stayed in Australia.
We know of plenty of people who put off moving abroad because ‘it’s not the right time’, but let’s be honest here – there’s probably never going to be a perfect time. Sacrifices will have to be made, but the opportunity to move abroad is probably better now than it ever will be.
So if you haven’t moved abroad yet, take advantage of the opportunity now, because you don’t want to regret not taking it when you had the chance.