An Australian's Journey of Moving to New York City

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With 50+ countries stamped in my passports (yes, there’s more than one now), I naively assumed that moving to a new country would be easy. Playing country hopscotch and skipping seasons loses its lustre after so many years. 

An endless summer? Well, I learned I love the change of seasons. It represented the cycle of life, and staying in 90-degree weather, year-round, felt like I was manipulating how humans are wired to live. 

After three years where all the countries seem to their meaning, as it morphed into one collective experience, I knew I had to make a change. From that first, symbolic plane ride, I had made an agreement with myself… 

I will only go for as long as it felt right to… 

When it stopped feeling like it first did, I’d come home. 

I just didn’t know that home would be a different place: New York City.

Emotional and physical transitions

In this new series, once a month, I’m going to explore both the physical and emotional taxes of moving to another country. I’ll recount my experiences settling in New York City, the lessons, unearthed perspectives, and personal anecdotes. 

If you’re thinking of making the move to the big apple, this is your new relocation HQ. From budgets and neighbourhoods to apartment-hunting and meeting new people, these tips will help you land on your two feet. 

But, the stories and learnings I’m most fascinated in is the emotional side… the stories that often go untold. I remember one night when I first moved here, after the excitement and energy wore off. With NYC’s famous skyline commanding my window, I was torn between an emotional contrast. 

I’m lonely, I don’t know a single soul here… 

To… I’ve made it. I’m here. I’m home.

The journey is never over… and that’s okay. 

I later came to discover that this emotional seesaw wasn’t just isolated to the first weeks. These mixed feelings would re-emerge in the months that followed relocating. And I’m guessing it's a journey that won’t ever quite be over. 

As travellers, we know in the back of our minds that the chapter will come to an end. It has to. We’re more logical about it. The money runs out. Staying in hostel beds gets old. We start to redefine what our idea of freedom really means. Committing to one place doesn’t seem as ‘scary’ as it used to. 

We realise the extent of the sacrifices we made, just to keep moving. I’m not saying we all take this same path and our philosophies will undoubtedly change. But, they certainly did for me. 

And, I want to take you on a different kind of journey, now.

NYC, Travel EssaysAmanda Smith