Have you moved abroad yet? Here’s why you should.

Have you moved abroad yet? Here's why you should.

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, 2015

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

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

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.

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8 Responses to “Have you moved abroad yet? Here’s why you should.”

  1. Hayley Simpson

    I moved to Canada by myself in 2013-14, and my head and heart are telling me to return next year, so we shall see if that happens. But it is by far the best thing I’ve done in my 20s.

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s awesome, Hayley 🙂 I’m so glad you managed to move abroad in your 20s (and it’s interesting to see that the desire is still there even after you returned!)

  2. Claire

    What I really want to know is how you managed to find a place to live, because New York City is famous for having riDICULOUSLY high housing prices (and I guess it’s also famous in general)

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s true, the housing prices here are pretty ridiculous. We had to hire a broker who found us a place almost immediately (though we did have to pay 2 months security deposit as we didn’t have a US credit history) and the broker also cost an arm and a leg. Basically, we saved up a load of money before we came, cried a little when we transferred it all from AUD to USD, then spent all of it plus more on getting an apartment. Luckily the 6 months we’ve been living here has allowed us to save it all back up again 🙂

  3. Jessie

    I love this post! It’s so true and I agree with all of it 🙂 I’ve just moved to the UK from New Zealand for very similar reasons – it’s too hard and expensive to travel from home all the time! So we are in the UK, and planning trips to Scotland, Spain, and other places soon.

    I was super jelly of your California trip – that’s one place I would love to visit! (Or move to hehe) I admire your bravery too, NY seems like such a big intimidating place to a country kiwi like me haha. We are hoping to do a Christmas/New Years holiday in the big apple though.

    Thanks again for the great post, I’m so glad that you are one of the brave ones! High fives to living a brave twenties existence 😉


    • Ashlea Wheeler

      The UK is such a good hub for travel! My cousins are living over in London at the moment and they’ve been able to visit so much of Europe from there. Your trips to Scotland and Spain will be amazing, I’m sure!

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Jessie 🙂 You’re right, NY was pretty intimidating initially, but we’ve gotten used to it. It only takes a few months before you start becoming familiar with a place. Most people who live here seem to love it, and of course there’s a few who don’t. But the best thing about moving here is that now we know that we’re capable of moving country/city!

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Nicole! It definitely payed off, I’d recommend that everyone move abroad at least once in their lives 🙂


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