When life becomes too much to bear, there are people who want a reset and go off the grid to start a new chapter.
Even those who feel like they have no purpose in life and are lost, the notion that anywhere is better than here is enough of a motivator to start packing.
So off they go to another city, or even a foreign country.
Sure, the unknown is terrifying and the thought of escape and starting over can be overwhelming, but many who chose to take a leap of faith have expressed it was the best decision they ever made.
Curious to hear from strangers who left the life they were dissatisfied with, Redditor always_thinking1 asked:
It's Always Rough At First
These people didn't necessarily flee the country, but they traveled far enough away to reclaim their lives and had no regrets.
It's not about the distance. It's more about where you land and what you do there.
Leaving New York
"I did this a year and a half ago. Best thing I've ever done. Moved from Western New York to Arizona! It was tough at first with trying to get on my feet, and when I did...the pandemic started. But it's easier to do than most people think. I believe most people dont do it because of the 'unknown' and scared of change."
"For me, I'm happier than I've ever been. I have a really good paying job. The best paying job I've ever had actually. And the first job I've ever had that I enjoy going to. I'm 34 so that's saying something! And to live where I live, views of mountains, beautiful weather....it's just a dream come true."
Improvement Of Life
"Literally just did something similar 3 weeks ago.. Moved from Iowa to Phoenix and my life hasn't been this good in years. I haven't been this happy with what's going on in my life in so long and it's so refreshing. I luckily had some family to support me through the transition, and its been a little rocky, but I'm so glad I made the leap. Good on you friend!"
Leaving A Dead End Job
"4 years ago, I abruptly quit a job I had worked for 7.5 years that I finally had to admit was a dead end. I got a job at a lodge in a national park flipping burgers for minimum wage. I didn't know a single person there when I moved. But it quickly led to travelling to amazing places like Alaska and making lots of friends from all over the world. The experience gave me the confidence to really pursue my career goals, and last year I finally got my dream job! Nothing good happens in your comfort zone!"
"EDIT: I've never had a comment get nearly this much feedback, and I regret the wording of that last sentence, which I didn't think through! It was more aimed at those who are feeling stuck and have big dreams but are afraid to make a change. There's nothing wrong AT ALL with being happy with what you have, and with having a more stable existence. In fact, I'm really looking forward to settling down soon and having a more comfy life. I'm sorry my wording came off kind of judgmental! That was not my intention."
"To answer some questions that are coming up, I'm working as an illustrator and designer for the national parks. It was a really difficult road, working crappy kitchen jobs and working/volunteering on the side to build my resume. Financially, working seasonally can be difficult, and I was scraping by for a few years until I got my current job. It was the right choice for me, but maybe not for everyone!"
No Turning Back
For some people, it was more urgent to leave a situation due to reasons that included depression, life of drugs, and in this woman's case, an abusive household.
Once they reached the other side, they were finally able to enjoy life as it was meant to be lived.
"I was 26 years old, divorced, and living in Saudi Arabia (my home country) with extremely religious (cult-like) family. As a woman, you can imagine what an absolute f'king nightmare that was. This was before any of the 'reformations' of dear MBS in the country. The guardian system made it near f'king impossible to break free from an abusive household. I didn't know what to do. I had a good degree. I spoke English like a native. I decided it was time to finally leave this hell hole. So on December 30, 2014, with nothing more than my legal documents, a suitcase, and a carry-on, I crossed the causeway to Bahrain with the help of friends and got on a plane to the United States. It's been over 6 years."
"I was numb until I landed on American soil. Once I could breathe the air of freedom, I broke down. I was taken advantage of my first year in this country. I received death threats, hate mail, temper tantrums from my mom that finally culminated in her telling me that I was dead to her and to never contact her again. I couldn't work for a whole year. Even after, it took 8 months to find a job and it paid sh*t. I was homeless. I rented a room from a murderer (he did his time though). Lots of weird sh*t."
"Then in the last 2 years my life really began. I found my hobbies. I found myself. I found a new family. My dog and I hike and travel a lot. Then I met the love of my life and he has joined our wonderful little pack. I miss family. I miss certain aspects of my culture. I feel bad for not trying to make more of a change. I feel like a coward sometimes, but I just wanted to live. I didn't want to be a 'hero' or a 'martyr' or a 'dissident'. I literally just wanted the freedom to be able to go out of my house whenever I wanted to without someone interrogating me like some kind of criminal. I wanted to be able to accept a job and not have to have my father give his 'consent' so I can work. I wanted to adopt a dog, go on hikes, travel the world, fall in love. I didn't want to stay in my father's house waiting until a man feels sorry enough for me to add me to his collection of wives. I was 26 and divorced. Women my age in my culture don't get single eligible bachelors. Those are reserved for the 16-21 year-olds."
"It Was Empowering"
"I did this last year. Granted I stayed in the same state, it was terrifying and exciting all rolled into one. I quit my job without having another one. Sold my house without having a home. Packed everything my son and I owned and moved 3 hours away. Best. Decision. Ever. It made me feel like I could do it again if I ever wanted too. The world is so big, so it was empowering."
"Edit: I grew up in the country, lived in the same county for 31 years, and moved to the city. 3 hours away may not seem like much, but it was a huge change."
"Just Up And Left"
"A year ago me and my partner were addicted to drugs living in a little room, depressed with no motivation so we just up and left. Today we are in our own place in the country with steady jobs and i have never been happier."
"As someone who was shooting up 200 to 500 dollars a day before I quit around ten years ago you really have to do 2 things if you really are at the stage that you want to quit. The first is very hard but unlike the first person staying around the same people you're around usually just does not work. So much of your kinship with those people revolving around drugs will make you want to drugs even if you stop for awhile. You have to just go no contact with them. Its the only way I found any success."
"The second one which is also just as hard for some people is you have to get help. Real help like replacement treatment, suboxone or methadone and therapy. You have to realize going in that the replacements are just as bad but they do one thing thats essential. They let you normalize your life and take away the seeking drugs all the time mentality. Without that its very hard for therapy to work through all this stuff simply cause your mind isn't in a state that it can be worked on. Its constantly starving for something it sees as food now and will not stop wanting more to approach where the addiction is coming from."
What works for some doesn't always work for another.
These two Redditors swapped countries to seek their new respective lives.
And another had to leave their country to realize what they already had was a good situation that was not apparent to them at first.
"3 years ago I moved from London, UK to Alberta, Canada."
"Best decision of my life."
"London is a very lonely city, especially when you're introverted. I never made any real close friends, and it's so insanely expensive that even with a great job I didnt have much money left to go out and enjoy life. And I lived in a small, awful shared apartment where the only space to myself was a probably 20 sq ft room or smaller. It is an amazing city but it didnt work for me."
"Since being in Alberta I've made some close friends and met the love of my life. I finally have savings and a realistic prospect of buying a house one day. I live in a huge, 2 bedroom apartment by myself. I live near the rockies so I do a good amount of hiking. I've been tubing and ice skating with friends. Pre [the virus] I started going to a new gym and on the first session had people saying hi, probably could've been friends if [the virus] hadn't hit. Not to mention it's so sunny. The cold is extreme but I will never miss the grey and rain of England."
"I moved here with a 2 week airbnb reservation, $5000 to survive off and no real plan, no jobs prospects. Just the knowledge I could book a flight home if needed. Somehow it all ended up working out."
I'm originally from Edmonton and left the cold for London. I've found the love of my life here and love the city and European getaways. I'm not sure I could move back although I do miss the hiking and nature. I actually really get on with the English though, love their sense of humour and sharp wit. Definitely don't miss tipping culture!!"
"It's funny, I moved away from the UK for a similar reason to California... and didn't like it. Didn't experience some great life shift that others in this sub have had. Didn't find the weather actually altered my mindset that much."
"Came back to london and loved the city even more. Realised that the build up to summer was way more exciting than just everyday okay weather. I did buy a SAD sun lamp thing on Amazon that I use occasionally but I found that it wasn't really the weather that was bothering me, but more my mindset and longing for something else. I changed my career slightly (not massively, same industry but different section) and made more of an effort to enjoy the amazing things that london does offer. Couldn't imagine living anywhere else now."
"It's not the same for everyone, and I know for sure the weather has a massive impact on many peoples MH, but for me it was masking the route issue, and realising that has made my life 1000 times more fun and relaxing!"
"I would say though, definitely try moving elsewhere. I didn't grow up in london (I'm from the south west) and moved for uni. I think for a lot of people who grew up in london they don't try living anywhere else in the UK, let alone abroad. Give it a try. It's always worth it even if you hate it. I know it's hard at the moment cause of [the virus], but really look into maybe short term work abroad, studying or a longer term move depending on your age."
"And on the days when it is sunny in london, go out. Even if it's just to walk around aimlessly. I used to bus up to north london to stroll the posh areas and Hampstead Heath. Sometimes just a walk along the Thames or through a park can really make your day. There's a park near the Brunswick that has goats! There's another in Hackney that has cute fluffy animals (can't remember the name sorry). Regent's Park is great for seeing funny posh dogs. Plus, no city in the world appreciates a sunny day more than Londoners. The energy and excitement when it gets warm is unmatched."
"Do what you feel is right for you, keep yourself safe, and try and make the most of what london can offer until you find a way to try something new!"
Most Redditors discovered that a change was necessary to inject excitement into their lives. It's not always easy, and there are many obstacles that may plant seeds of doubt and regret.
But over time, many people realized that – regardless of whether or not they left and returned to the same dwelling – a change of scenery also inspired a change in perspective and a renewed discovery of their own potentials.
When I moved from Los Angeles to New York, it was the best decision of my life. However, after 20 fabulous years in Gotham City, I'm considering a move back to the West Coast for a variety of reasons.
I may be geographically retracing my steps, but to me, It's still a new direction in life.
Life changes in an instant. Every second can be a new discovery and a change of course. So one can only imagine the impact on a person's life when they are released from incarceration and they notice the life and the world has moved with warped speed without them.
Redditor u/EddiesThings101 wanted to hear about life for some on the outside by asking.... People sentenced in the 80s-2000s what modern world change shocked you the most?
When there's nothing going your way and it seems like things will never get better, many of us find ourselves fantasizing about dropping everything and buying a one way ticket to anywhere else. What would it be like to just start over in a place where nobody even knows who you are?
Reddit user u/SmustachedMike asked: