It seems like everyone’s dream is to move away from where THEY grow up. Whether it’s to a new city, or a new coast – a new change can be exactly what you need to become the person you were meant to be. If you are thinking of making a life-changing move, following a job, or just having an adventure, here’s the story of my move to the west coast, I hope you love it!
When I was 17, I moved out of my childhood home, on my own. No, I wasn’t handed an apartment and brand new car like most kids I grew up with, I was cut-off from my family and thrown out for coming out as gay. To me, being on my own was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Growing up, my parents both worked long hours, so I was practically raised by my brothers, and between school, sports, and my jobs being a lifeguard and restaurant busser, I was very independent from a young age. That was a really weird summer for me, but my saving grace came as an academic scholarship to Northeastern University in Boston, where I moved to that fall. College was an amazing bubble for me; I learned to be even more self-sufficient, made a ton of friends, and grew my confidence as a young man. A few weekends a month, I would take the bus to New York City for my internship, it was there that I fell in love with the unknown. Being on your own is an amazing feeling and meeting new open-minded people who welcomed me into their lives was such a new experience for me. After college, I was ready for another adventure and had outgrown Boston completely, it was time for Los Angeles.
Most people say when you move to a new city, you should have at least three months rent in your bank account, I moved to LA with five-hundred dollars in my pocket and two suitcases in my hands, which wasn’t the best idea, but it really pushed me to get my stuff together and leave zero room for failure. I accepted an internship with NBC as an assistant, and set-up my living arrangement where I would be living with one of my best girlfriends, and FOUR other girls, which at the time was a great idea to me…now, not so much. The day came to finally leave the place I had called home for the past five years. After packing up my apartment, a few tears, and a lot of selfies with friends, I boarded my flight to LA, and didn’t look back. In my head, California was everything I ever wanted, it was going to be perfect.The day I landed, I remember moving into the glorified sorority house with the biggest smile on my face, my best friend by my side, and new friends surrounding me, we were all starting this new journey together.
Everything changed so quickly. After the first week, I picked up a second job at a local surf shop in Malibu after realizing my assistant job wasn’t going to pay my rent on time, it really helped and left room for some shopping and “going-out” money. Unfortunately I didn’t have a car when I first moved, so I went onto craigslist and bought a beautiful Schwinn beach cruiser with a basket on the back for groceries, side-note: the 99 Cent Only Store saved my life that summer (and I still shop there). They have really amazing deals, and if you go early in the morning, you can get super fresh produce which is sold to them from places like Whole Foods, so you’re not spending a ton of money.
With my new wheels, I was biking through traffic faster than most cars, between the bike and uber, it was perfect for me. My two jobs were going well – My internship was really early mornings, and the surf shop was nights and weekends, so I had a packed schedule, leaving barely any time to spend with my roomies or dating, but yes, the dating began. Any big city is very difficult to date in, and the gay culture shock for me was incredible. I had never seen that many gay men in one place, and even the club scene which I wasn’t used to, was really intimidating, thankfully I was more keen on dancing and having fun with my new friends than hooking up with strangers. It wasn’t really an issue for me, I had recently gotten out of a long-term relationship so I started off slow and took to tinder, not the best idea. I went on several dates, hitting it off with a few guys, but after almost every date, the other guy was expecting me to come over and hook up, it was all too much for me, and I was waiting for that special person that I thought would never come. I guess kind, small town boys are hard to come by in a city that is so self-obsessed with “what you do” rather than “who you are” as a human being, it was really hard to relate to anyone.
I quickly realized the city I had dreamed about was all a facade. Los Angeles wasn’t the city of dreams, it was the city of broken dreams. The people that aren’t in the clubs, the parties, or asking “what do you do?” are the people that last out here. I think a lot of people move to LA to find themselves, but instead they lose who they are in the bright lights and long nights. I have to thank my parents and best friends back home for always keeping me in check and humble, instead of losing myself, I found the part of myself that I never knew existed, the boy who could truly do anything he set his mind to.
The summer continued to surprise me, and each day, as hard as they were, I fell deeply in love with this beautiful city, I even met a very special person that kept me on the edge of my seat. The moment you know you love someone, is a very special feeling, it gives you a superman complex and turned me into the most confident version of myself. Work continued to flourish, and I even got to travel to NYC for fashion week, where I ended up staying for over a month, I even contemplated moving again. When I finally flew back to LA, I was offered a full time position at my internship and ended up getting my own apartment in the Hollywood Hills, technically it was just a small room in a beautiful house, but it was MINE! Don’t believe anyone when they say living alone is horrible, it’s the BEST. My first summer in LA truly shaped who I was, it made me realize how the way we perceive things, how we react to failure, how we look at the world, shapes our immediate future. If you’re open to the world, the world will be open to you.
If you are thinking of moving somewhere foreign, or somewhere out of your comfort zone, just do it. You can always move back home if you don’t like it, but if you never take the chance, you will regret it for the rest of your life. I witnessed so many friends leave LA after that summer, or even the first year, but you have to realize that any type of success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, dedication and perseverance. You have to fall, get up, fall a few more times, have a break-down, lose everything, and get back up again starting from scratch, in order to make it here, you have yourself and only yourself to depend on, our parents or friends aren’t always going to have your back, its up to you. My advice is simple, set a goal, and chase it. Don’t listen to anyone, save some money, reach out to who you know and do it, don’t leave room for people to hate on your aspirations, those people are the ones who will never find true happiness because of their own insecurities. Your dreams are valid, and you are stronger than you even know you are, you just have to reach out and find that strength. You are unstoppable.
Are you guys thinking of moving somewhere new? Have you already moved somewhere? Let’s chat in the comments below and make sure to like and comment if you liked this post! <3