The truth about moving to New York

The biggest cliche on Earth…I want to move to New York someday.’  If you dream it and you want it, you owe it to yourself to make it happen.

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I was one of them, dreaming of the city that never sleeps while I should have been sleeping.  This year, I took the leap and moved my life to NYC and if you’ve been following me on Snapchat (StephanieOQ) you’ll see my daily updates.

Its glamorous, mind boggling and life-changing.

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Last month, I boarded a one way flight. I made my dream happen. Something that I had anticipated for most of my life,  looked very different when it was closely staring me right in the face. I felt like I was ruining my life and only beginning my life, all at the same time.

I said my goodbyes. I sold my car, my clothes and packed up my everything I owned into two suitcases. My life savings in one pocket, my iPhone in the other and a bunch of emotions tearing my heart apart. Although I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing, I just knew I had to do it.

Fast forward a month and despite still being very much unsettled, I am here, living in New York City.

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The emails, questions, messages and snaps from you all tell me that it is a common desire for most young women to live in Manhattan. I know how it feels and I want to tell you some truths about making the actual move a reality….

  • You will be broke. And if you’re not broke, you will think about money all the time in the fear of being broke. New York is extremely expensive. Rent, food, transport, you name it. You’ll soon begin to question every single penny you spend.
  • You will eat out, a lot! Food is expensive here so you may as well enjoy it! There is an unbelievable amount of choice from cereal cafes, bakery’s that only sell 4 cookies to 100% vegan cafes. The options are endless. Adding to this, you can get anything delivered at any time of the day. NOM!
  • You will cry. You will cry so much it will become painful. You might not know why you’re even crying! New York is HARD in every sense and it takes a while to build up a tough exterior.
  • You will meet so many new people. New York is a hub for people from everywhere,  you just don’t know who’s around the corner!
  • Butttt you will be lonely. No matter who’s around, that loneliness will stem from the displacement you are experiencing being away from home, your natural habitat and all you know.
  • Walking is the currency. All you have is yourself and your own two feet (and the subway of course!) To get from A to B, you must be prepared to build those calves.
  • You will question yourself, every single day. WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE?! Because everything feels so strange and new, you’ll feel out of place for a long time.
  • You will be so proud of yourself. The feeling of accomplishment of even getting here will boost your confidence so much. A dream that may have seamed so distant at one point is now a reality and that in itself will give you that warm, smug feeling inside.
  • You’ll find energy, you never knew you had. From being constantly on the go, the city’s energy is something you just can’t compare to. No matter how you’re feeling, being on these streets gives you a boost of motivation, energy and open mindedness. Boredom just does not exist.
  • You will appreciate so many different, little things. Living in New York couldn’t be more ‘hard’ in every way. The smallest things are ten times harder in New York. Taking a bag to the gym means carrying it all day. You begin to cut down on the things you actually need. Fridges are small and so are kitchens. Food shops must be done in small doses also.

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I write this, on my way home for Christmas, which I have mixed feelings about. It took so much of me to get me to this city and be in a emotionally ‘OK’ place and although I am beyond excited to experience a Christmas in Ireland, I fear saying goodbye already, just knowing how painful it is.

Although I miss home, I know this is where I need to be and what I need to do. I have been here about 3 months now and am nowhere near settled, but I often wonder does anyone really settle in New York.  I am proud of myself for coming this far and I have learnt so much it has made this experience worth while already. This, however, is only the beginning for me. Now that I have a taste of it all.

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Follow my daily life around Manhattan on Snapchat – StephanieOQ – as I share my up’s and down’s of settling into this big ol’ city.

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Stephanie O'Quigley