I moved from Gainesville, Florida to Brooklyn, New York in May 2010.
I was 23 years old and had lived almost my entire life in central Florida. I grew up outside of Tampa (yes, we went to Disney and the beach regularly) and moved to Gainesville in north central Florida for college, attending and then receiving my bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in May 2007.
I worked for the next three years in sales at a small publishing company before applying to random NYC jobs, getting one (spoiler: it was not good) and moving to Brooklyn. It took me one week from accepting the job to driving a U-haul with my stepdad into Brooklyn.
I would have moved sooner and even started looking at jobs about a year after I graduated…but it was 2008 and the worst of the recession.
I didn’t really know anyone in NYC, but I always thought of myself as a city kid, and the worst thing that could possibly happen was that I’d have to move back to Florida — a landscape I knew and was comfortable in.
At 23, I was still figuring out my life. In many ways, at almost 32, I still am. And that’s 100% ok! You don’t always need to know what you’re going to be when you grow up or what the next 10 years will hold.
A lot of people seem surprised or call me “brave” for moving by myself to NYC. I didn’t feel brave. I just wanted to live in New York. I was 1000+ miles away from my family and friends and I made it work.
It is hard to make new friends in NYC, but New Yorkers were kind and helpful to me, helped me with directions and trains when I needed it.
In fact, native New Yorkers are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met — it’s the tourists who can be rude or in the way!
8 Years Later
It is eight years later and I have finished my 20s, entered my 30s, gotten married to a Brooklynite, got a cat, and changed careers.
I love my life.
Brooklyn is diverse and interesting and very cool.
My life can be lonely sometimes because I work from home by myself all day, but I am doing what I love and I am fulfilled by it.
I am definitely a city kid. I love living in a city, even though housing prices are ridiculous and there are people everywhere. The convenience is unmatched, the food is amazing, and the culture is intoxicating.
If you’re wondering if taking a risk or a leap of faith is worth it, consider the worst-case scenario.
If I hadn’t been able to “make it” in New York, I could always go back to Florida and be perfectly happy there. Or another city. Worse comes to worse, I would have only lost a year (or however long) and would be able to start over somewhere else — but having learned some important lessons.
Is it worth it? I’d say hell yes.