Whenever anyone hears that I grew up in Monterey, California (which is a beautiful coastal town near Big Sur, if you’re unfamiliar!), they always ask why I traded in all of that to move 3,000 miles across the country, alone, to live in the crazy metropolis that is New York City. New York is a gritty, tough place to move (especially when you’ve never lived anywhere but your home town!) Because I get asked this question so often, I thought I’d finally get my story down on paper (or on the blog in this case). If you’ve ever wondered how I ended up here in NYC, this post is for you. Thrilling stuff, I know! Hopefully a tiny bit interesting at least.
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Why did you move?
Towards the tail end of high school and during my early college years, I got deeply involved in the music community, working with multiple musicians (remotely, from California) helping manage their social media, consult on various projects, plan tours, and lots of other fun stuff! I was driving up to San Francisco all the time for concerts , which is about 3 hours of driving each way. As you can imagine, that wasn’t a very sustainable way to stay involved with the music community, and I felt pretty out of touch with everything. I knew that if I wanted to seriously pursue a career in the music industry, I’d need to move away from my small(ish) town.
As hard as it was to move away from all of my family and friends and launch across the country to a place I didn’t know well, I think I did it at the right time. I was in a transitional period, switching career paths and taking a break from college, and I’m so glad I made the leap (even though it was scary and difficult).
Why New York City?
Quite a few reasons! I’d visited NYC a couple of times to check it out and see how I liked it, and I’d fallen head over heels in love with the city. It was exciting and new and different and far away and everything that scared me. I think that choosing to move to New York (and the fact that I’ve survived 7+ years here alone) is probably the thing I’m most proud of. It is not an easy place to live, but it is worth all the stress and struggle, in my book. Initially, I chose NYC because I loved how it made me feel, how active the music scene was, how many opportunities there were for me here, and the simple fact that most of the musicians I was working with back then were based in Brooklyn. It was a very scary move, and I didn’t arrive with much (particularly in my bank account – eeek!) but I made it happen, and I’m so glad I did.
What has kept you in NYC?
There are so many lovable, quirky things about NYC that any New Yorker can rattle off when asked this question. A few of mine are are: how vibrant it is (culturally, there’s no better place to be if you want to open your eyes and live alongside people who are very different from you), the unending supply of entertainment/food/experience options available on a daily basis (there’s no way you can ever be bored!), and the community vibe you get when you live here. New Yorkers are definitely misunderstood, in my opinion. Anytime I’ve needed something, I’ve been able to rely on the kindness of New Yorkers. From complete strangers rushing to my aide when my grocery bags split open on the subway to the surprising willingness of people passing on the street to give you directions on any corner, people are shockingly supportive and helpful. The reason we all look so rushed and busy is because, well, we usually are. It’s a lot of work trekking from place to place via subway, buses, walking, taxis…and most of us have a lot going on. However, just because we’re not all walking around smiling doesn’t mean we won’t help you out any time you need us. Okay, side tangent over. Nutshell version: New York is an incredible place to live, both culturally and creatively, and it will push you to your limits and force you to grow, whether you like it or not. That’s why I’ve stayed.
I will say that NYC is a notoriously difficult city to live in, and I have experienced more than my share of hardships and throw-in-the-towel moments that have made me want to run away from this city screaming. But the pull to stay is even stronger. So here I am, persevering and enjoying myself as much as possible along the way!
What about moving to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, etc?
I’ve gotten this follow-up question a lot, actually! I have considered all of those cities, and am not entirely closed off to any of them, but Los Angeles is the most likely for a future move. I’m definitely not ready to leave NYC anytime soon, but I can see a potential move to LA down the line, depending on how my career and life shift over the next few years. The main reason LA is higher on the list than any of those other cities is because of the overlap of music and film industries there – I still want to work in music supervision or licensing for TV and film, and LA is a great place to be for that.
Are you planning on moving anytime soon?
Short answer: no. I’m not ready to leave NYC, nor am I in a position to pick up and move across the country right now. Doing so would require a lot of planning and saving and career moves for me, so it’s still in the possibility column. I’m not planning to start that process anytime soon. Maybe in a few years!
So that’s a little bit of my story!
What’s yours? Are you happy where you are or pining away for some change? I’d love to hear your story.