People Who've Run Away To Start A New Life Reveal Why They Had To Leave
Move over bankruptcy and name changes. These people made themselves vanish in order to start over. But why, and how? Were they successful? Here are some fascinating tales from people who left it all to begin anew.
PatientStick asked, [Serious] People who disappeared to start a new life, what is your story?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Working on a yacht in Tahiti? Living the dream, he is.
Currently disappearing. Got bored in the USA so I looked around for jobs on boats/yachts. I went from alcoholic construction worker to currently a deckhand on a private yacht circumnavigating the globe.
We're currently on our way to Tahiti and I'm excited.
Bail out now, tell everyone later. It's okay to focus on you.
I didn't really disappear, I just flew from the UK to Canada and didn't tell anyone until after.
I wanted a bit of time to make my mind up about what I was doing without any random emotional s*** getting in the way. My friends assumed I'd just f***ed off somewhere as it wasn't that uncommon for me to do.
Told most people where I was after about a month and 6 years later I'm still here.
Some bridges need to be burned.
Father started dating a new woman and suddenly became a massive POS. Emotional and verbal abuse, gaslighting, guilting me out of money by saying he couldn't make bills but then turning around and buying alcohol and new gadgets.. the works. I was stomaching it pretty well until it started to spread to my then 1.5-year-old son. There was one and only one incident of him going after my baby, and the very next day I was loading up a moving truck headed several states away. Thankfully I had made a good friend via an online game who opened up his home to us if we needed to escape.
Changed my number and haven't heard from my father or his gf since, though I was warned by the town sheriff that a man had been calling the police station asking about a girl from out of state that has recently moved into town, he saw my license plate and made the connection. I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.
It takes a lot of strength to do this. You don't need to stay in toxic relationships.
Here's the story. Was with someone who was emotionally abusive toward me. I let them isolate me from friends and family, moved across the country, gave up a lot to be with her. Married her, but I realized that things would likely never improve. One day I packed everything I could into a suitcase, told her it was over. I walked to the train station, got to the airport, called the police to let them know they had a potentiality suicidal person that they ought to check on and flew back home. I felt bad about it, but I'm an exponentially happier and healthier person for it.
Follow your instincts if they tell you to change your circumstances. It's not easy, but you don't get many chances happiness. Take them.
Basic breakup story I guess. I was in my early 20's and I'd been in a pretty lousy relationship for a few years (only really lousy the last 1.5 years). I'd done a lot to try and make the relationship work and it meant I was basically living paycheck to paycheck, working a lot of overtime at a bar.
Then in the space of a few months both my aunt died of cancer that was kind of expected and a family friend died suddenly, so I got in a worse place mentally and didn't have much left to put into the relationship. I was still working a lot of hours to pay our rent, but when I got home I was pretty depressed. My girlfriend was probably already pretty checked out I guess because she cheated pretty soon with a guy in our friendship group, and of course, that ended our relationship pretty suddenly. I moved in with 2 friends and she moved back to her parents.
I felt like I needed a change of scene so just started applying for jobs with loads of holiday companies and got an interview with a ferry company. By the time that came up, I was starting to move on with my life and wasn't so sure about leaving. Then I found out my ex had slept with or hit on pretty much all of my mates since we'd broken up and I decided to get out of dodge.
I never actually meant to leave and not come back or go dark or whatever. I just took the job, spent a summer working on ferries to clear my head with new people, out of all that craziness and went from there. Spent a couple of years working holiday seasons and traveling and then settled into a job and a routine elsewhere. Never looked back.
Changing your name is extreme, but it can provide closure, protection, and a fresh start.
Highly abusive family, grew up surprisingly well but absolutely bombed out of life when I turned 18. Finally got the guts up and saved a scant of money to change my name and get out of the state I lived in. Still struggling a lot, and I live in constant fear that someone will find me, but I can live a half decent life now. Still lots of psychological issues as a result of long-term traumas, but I'm on my own now and its the biggest relief
EDIT Thank you all for your support! Changing my name wasn't too tricky, I had to go in for a meeting with a Justice of Peace, and there was a fair fee (I didn't have a birth certificate because my family refused to hand it over). I was given an identity document that day and was posted my new birth certificate a week later.
This is pretty dramatic, actually.
Nothing dramatic. I left home at 16 homeless for a few months, lived with a Gf's family for a couple of years. Mum told the family that I'd stolen money so they cut all ties with me (I hadn't, my mums an arse). I stopped contacting friends because I was dirt poor and couldn't afford a phone.
Three years after I left I started using my first name (in Muslim culture every guy is bloody named Mohamed so we used my middle name for my early life). I moved to a new town newly single, got my dream job and made new friends, got in touch with the old ones and got on with my new life.
Unfortunately homophobia is still rampant in rural America.
I grew up in a tiny semi-isolated American town I'm going to refer to as Hell. I hated the place. I was bullied from the minute we moved there until the minute I left. I was above the level of the high school classes by my freshman year, but -- isolated. No other school. I've got no issue with my parents, but the majority of my extended family is extremely homophobic and would probably disown me if they didn't depend on my dad for money. I was basically just trying to hold it together until I graduated.
When I was 15, I applied to be a foreign exchange student (basically just out of desperation to get out of Hell). Left a few days after I turned 16. I was popular in my new school, I was much less of an angry person when I wasn't getting screamed at all day five days a week, it was just so much better. I was doing college applications by the end of my year there and just realized there was no way I could ever go back. I ended up going to the UK to study law. I was still getting harassed online by people from Hell, so I started going by my middle name. I'm doing alright now though.
I guess I didn't truly "disappear" because some people know where I am, but I'd basically started over twice in two different countries by the time I turned 18. I have trouble with the idea of staying in one place and my mom has to talk me out of moving every time things don't go perfectly smoothly, but I'm sure I'm a lot better of a person than I would have been if I'd stayed.
This is why we celebrate Mother's Day.
When my sister and I were young, my mom was engaged to an abusive man. One morning she dropped us off at school and said this would be our last day, make sure you say goodbye to your friends.
When she picked us up from school, we went directly to the airport and flew to California to live with some family. At the time we'd been living in Michigan.
Racism is a plague and needs to be stopped.
At 17 I had started to date my now current boyfriend of almost 6 years. It was the end of his senior year / my junior year.
-backstory- My mother is 28 years younger than my father and she left him when I was in 7th grade. My father somehow got custody. Story for another time I suppose.
Father is old, born in 1943 old. So he's also a racist. After mom split I went to school and then came home and did nothing. No summer plans, no friends, no after-school activities.
Somehow a friend of S.O. Had posted a picture of us together on Fb and my little brother got wind of it and my dad kicked me out about 2 months before I turned 18 because my boyfriend is black and I am white. I showed the school messages of him threatening to kill me and bf if he ever saw either of us. Cops got involved and deemed that I had to return to my father's house until I was 18. I obviously didn't die, made it through the last three weeks of school, attended my graduation that he wouldn't show up to and never went back. Haven't seen or heard from him or anyone from high school since. There are many more complicated details but that's the gist.
I now hold a stable job since I graduated high school, waited a year and saved up at bfs parents house, then we got our own apartment, our own car, we live frugally and save as much as we can and live comfortably below our means. We both went back to college two years ago and attend part-time because we both work 32 hours a week and I like to think that my f_cked up 'childhood' is pretty far behind me and that I'm adulting really well despite my odds.
It's not selfish to leave if your partner is beyond reproach. It is however important to help as much as they'll let you.
I left someone who regularly threatened suicide, best decision I ever made.
Addiction is a nasty disease, and in Mexico, the cartels are ruthless.
15 years ago I was a heavy drug user. I was 25 back then and before using drugs I had a good job and I was being paid well. My so-called best friend introduced me to drugs and while at first, I was hesitant to use them, I thought 'what the hell, what's the worst that can happen?'
Needless to say, I started using more and more and I was spending a few thousand every week on drugs. I started showing less for work until eventually I was fired. I had some money saved up so I wasn't too worried at first until my addiction took most of that money.
Since I always used the same dealer and had already given him thousand of pesos, he told me I had 'good credit' with him and he would give me some drugs but I had to pay him every week. So we did that and it worked for a while until I couldn't pay him every week. I started owing him more and more until eventually, he told me he couldn't give me anymore until I had money on me and could pay him. So one day I was really desperate and broke into his house late at night. I knew he had guns so I was very careful not to wake him up when I was breaking in. Once inside I grabbed a baseball bat he had and started beating him with it. I left him in pretty bad shape and took his money and some drugs I found. At the time I didn't know he was with a cartel so I pretty much stole from the cartel. They started looking for me and word on the street was that they wanted to kill me. So with the money I stole from the dealer I decided the best thing to do was to run away to the U.S. I didn't tell anybody, I decided to travel to the Tijuana and find a 'coyote' there who could pass me. 7 days later I was already in the US.
I left everything back home, my family, friends, memories but most important my addiction. When I made the choice to leave the country I told myself I wasn't gonna do drugs again since my life got out control since I started using drugs.
So yeah, it's been 15 years clean. I have an ok job and a great family here. I'm probably a wanted man by the cartel back in Mexico.
The only person who has control over your life is YOU.
Left my hometown of 10 years because I was ruining my life spending all my money on smoking and being a general loser.
I drove alone 3500+km to start new with no job, house, or money. I landed a job working in a remote community the day after I arrived at my destination, spent 3 months working there before I came back to society and started working in Disability.
Fast forward 5 years and I'm happily married with enough money for a deposit on a house, a new car I go to the gym 6 days a week and have traveled overseas multiple times with the love of my life.
Canadians are so classy, jeez.
I didn't "disappear" in terms of changing my identity or am doing anything secret. But I did disappear from everyone I knew from "back home" fairly suddenly.
I grew up in a medium-sized town in Canada. A fairly laid back city with a good university culture but not much to do in terms of anything else. I got sick of the cold winters, sick of the lack of culture, sick of the social negativity, sick of the lack of opportunity (Youth under/unemployment is a serious thing in Canada), etc.
Decided to move to Paris. Enrolled in a prestigious business school and got in. Within a month I said goodbye to friends, packed up my stuff and got the hell out.
I've lived in Paris, Milan, and parts of UK for the past 5 years and loving it. I'm making great money and because the £&€ is so high compared to the tanking Canadian dollar I can make investments back in Canada fairly easily.
My life is completely different compared to my life in Canada. I can travel to cool European cities very cheaply, enjoy interesting conversation with people from around the world, enjoy mild Winters, and a positive social environment where people root for each other.
One of the things I didn't like about living in Canada is that it was normal for people to try and tear each other down and talk behind people's back. I don't experience that here.
Edit: I'm still very proud to be from Canada and enjoy visiting family and friends. I wouldn't change my journey thus far for anything. But the Winters and lifestyle just weren't for me. Canada is still a great place. I don't mean to come across as trashing the country
This sounds amazing, honestly. Why be tied down in one place?
Haven't disappeared, but I tend to start a new life every few years.
I get bored where I am and want something new and different. New places, new experiences, new people, new things to learn.
I look for a new job, pack up, and move wherever it is, or someplace just to a new place without the job yet, but I prefer having the job lined up first. Sometimes overseas, sometimes within the same country. Preferably overseas whenever the opportunity arises.
Grew up moving ridiculously frequently and seeing a lot of different places. That's stuck with me.
Given that I can work anywhere, maybe I should do this. Who's in?
I was working a successful corporate job straight out of college for several years, and not exactly struggling but not thriving either. A series of bizarre events occurred in my personal life (and within the government...) that made me realize life is too short, too random and all too often dictated by people who don't have your best interest at heart to be stuck doing something that doesn't make you happy if it's not absolutely critical to your survival.
After mulling it over for a bit, I told friends and family I was moving overseas, quit my job, tied up loose ends and got on a plane to another country with no job and a backpack full of clothing. However, I had decent savings and am accustomed to living cheaply so I wasn't entirely unprepared.
So far I've traveled to numerous countries with old friends and relative strangers met people doing things no one was doing back home, gone on beautiful hikes through mountains, swam under waterfalls, snorkeled off multiple coasts, and so many more adventures. I live in a city where I don't need a car, I've been progressing on learning a new language, I finally figured out the direction I want to go in life and am taking active steps to get there, and I feel like I've matured at least five years in the past twelve months.
There are certainly trade-offs: instability, options for job positions, and what the foreseeable future looks like, but if I had the option to redo the last year of my life, I would make the choice to leave every time.
Remember that family isn't defined by blood, and no family is better than a toxic family. Set yourself free.
My parents divorced when I was 16. It was both of their second marriage after like 18 years or something. My mother (adoptive, nonetheless) became abusive as soon as my dad left the state. So I disappeared. I went to Atlanta, Georgia by myself. I took a taxi to New York City and took a cheap $40 Chinese bus ride down to Beaufort Highway and almost immediately found a job in tech repair. Was down there for 24 months before I moved to the same state as my dad. During those 2 years, I didn't talk with anybody in my whole family. People were concerned. I didn't care. My brother went into the Navy when I was like 12 and became a juiced up meathead douche. My sister was always controlling and verbally abusive. I can't say I'd be sad if they were gone. I filed a restraining order against my mother after she kept harassing me over text, call, and email. Best decision I ever made.