Goodbye NYC, Hello Holland: Letting Go and Moving Forward

My decision to leave NYC was not an easy choice, I'd been toying with the idea for over a year. After my father’s death, my mom and I’d planned to travel the world upon her return from holiday but she never made it back. Since the passing of both of my parents I’ve felt somewhat lost and unsure of life and what I’m supposed to accomplish. In a lot of ways, I got a blank slate.

In November 2016 in memory of my Mom, I signed up for a tour of Cuba. Being in Cuba was like taking a breath of fresh air. I was completely disconnected from the world and was able to be fully present. I found the sky mesmerizing and somehow in a foreign country felt my mother's presence. It was like she was urging me to travel and see the world. However, once I returned to the States, I went back to my day to day life but there was no longer any joy. The man I was dating ended our relationship and I felt undervalued at the company I where I designed. My parent's estate had finally come to a close and I found myself with an extreme amount of free time. I wanted to have that peaceful, serene, happy feeling I felt in Cuba. It was now or never, I finally made the decision to travel the world.

A longtime friend Amber and I reconnected and I inquiried about her travels abroad. She shared how she did it and I thought, well I can do it too. I booked a trip to see her in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I figured it was best to chat in person about taking a leap and traveling the world. I took the plunge and gave notice at work.

My initial plan was to travel back and forth to the U.S. but Ams made me realize I would actually save money by moving to Amsterdam for a year and traveling through Europe rather than living in NYC and traveling back and forth or even maintaining a place in NYC. When I left New Orleans, we had a plan for me to relocate to Amsterdam.

Letting Go and Moving Forward...I returned to NYC with a minimizing mind set. In two months I sold, donated or stored my belongings while getting all the documents needed for my visa application. I found a shipping company to send a few of my things. Then the day came when I contacted a travel agent for a one-way ticket to the Netherlands. My arrival date was May 1st, 2017 and just like that I'd change my life’s path.

Saying Goodbye...I told select people that I knew wouldn't try to talk me out of leaving but would encourage me. The day I shipped all my things to my new address in Amsterdam, I threw a going away party. I partied and said goodbye to close friends and the only city and only town I've ever called home. The next 10 days was spent meeting up with friends and visiting places that I knew with time will change.

To my family, I apologize for not including or telling you, but in all honesty I didn't see any of you being supportive and I didn't want to deal with anyone's negativity about my decision. Surprisingly this happened with some friends but I feel we cleared some things up.

Now I'm living abroad and taking some time to get to know me. Not the me my parents, siblings, teachers, bosses or even friends wanted me to be. I hope to develop my artistic style and travel as much as possible with Ams.

Love you all and I hope you enjoy our travel tips, my new design and illustrations and Amber’s way with words.


- steph

#Expat #Amsterdam #NewYork #Travel #Friends

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