I moved from NYC to Austin in 2017. For many years, I had a very specific idea about what my ideal life would be: It would be in New York City, or at least near it. I’d grow up there as an adult and have kids with a husband who lived nearby; we’d live in a brownstone in Brooklyn Heights or Park Slope and go on walks along the East River every weekend. I was certain that this was the life that would make me happy. But eventually that fantasy started to feel more like a prison than a dream come true—and then one day it happened: I realized that what makes me happiest isn’t necessarily what will make other people happy too. So when an opportunity came along for me to move across country to Austin, Texas (which is actually where I’m originally from), I said yes—and never looked back!

I loved NYC but was miserable there.

I loved NYC but was miserable there.

I had a long distance relationship for three years before we finally moved in together. You know what that’s like: you have all this time to do whatever you want, so you enter into an existential crisis about what kind of life you want and who you are. Then at the same time, even though your life is going well and everyone seems to like you, something still feels wrong or off.

Then I got a job I hated (in advertising), which made me feel even more unhappy because my boss was such a jerk and I felt trapped there with no way out until my lease expired two years later.

It’s always been my dream to live in a small town.

  • I grew up in a small town, and it always felt like the best place to live.
  • Small towns are more laid back. There’s no rush to do anything, so you can take your time and enjoy life. They have the best restaurants (according to my uncle, who owns one), they have more affordable housing, they have better schools, and they have more community involvement.
  • I think my favorite thing about small towns is that you can be part of something bigger than yourself because everyone cares about each other! This makes it easy for me to find friends who share similar values and lifestyles as me – especially since Austin has such an active outdoor scene!

I found Austin to be the perfect balance of metropolitan area and small town.

As a transplanted New Yorker, I was looking for a place that felt like home but had more space and fewer people. Austin was just what the doctor ordered.

Austin is a big city, but it has a small town feel. It’s got big city amenities like museums, theaters and restaurants while still maintaining its rural roots with live music venues, art festivals and beautiful green spaces. There’s no shortage of things to do or places to go in Austin—I find myself constantly exploring new neighborhoods and discovering my new favorite coffee shop or restaurant during my daily adventures!

I wanted to get back to nature.

I wanted to get back to nature.

As I’ve talked about, living in New York City was by no means a constant struggle. In fact, we had many great times and made some amazing memories there. But there was also something missing from our lives: nature.

I grew up in the country and spent much of my time outside as a child playing on my grandparents’ farm or exploring the woods behind our house with my brother and sister—and so did most of my friends growing up, who were also raised in small towns or even cities like Philadelphia, where we lived when I was an adult college student at Temple University. Because I only spent two years living in Austin while attending graduate school at UT, it didn’t feel like home until after I moved there full-time last year (despite being born here).

I was done playing it safe.

It’s easy to get caught in a loop of complacency, especially when you’re in a city like New York. Everything is so accessible—the job market, the nightlife, even just basic necessities are all at your fingertips. But eventually it becomes clear that if you want to be truly happy and fulfilled in life, you have to take some risks. You need to stop playing it safe and start exploring new things with abandon.

I knew I was ready for a change when I started feeling restless during my morning commutes into Manhattan from Brooklyn (a roughly hour-long journey on public transit). There was nothing inherently wrong with my job or lifestyle; it just wasn’t enough anymore. I wanted more from life than what NYC could offer me at this point in time—and I had the means and desire for change!

Big cities are not for everyone. Be brave and embrace your dreams!

  • Be open to new experiences.
  • Be open to new people.
  • Be open to new places.
  • Be open to new ideas.
  • Be open to new opportunities.


I’ll be honest: leaving NYC was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but it’s also been the best decision. I thought about making this move for years before I finally made it. There were so many times when I almost called off my plans because of fear or doubt, but in the end, I followed my heart and moved to Austin, Texas. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! If you feel like a big city is sucking up your soul and draining all your creativity then maybe its time to consider moving somewhere else too! You might find that a smaller town is just what you need…