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“If You Can Make It Here…”

Why I Left NYC To Travel

Frank Sinatra’s cliche line is true up to a certain point. Yes, New York City is one of the best cities in the world. Perhaps it is also the best place to grow your career, regardless of the industry you are in. Yet, how do you know for certain that it is the best city? How can you be certain that you can make it anywhere if you are only successful in NYC?


The best way to know if you can make it anywhere should be to leave the Big Apple and see if you can. New York will always have a special place in my heart. I lived there for almost 24 years. It was (and still is) a source of hope for my family, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic, seeking a better life. After more than two decades in one place however, I have to wonder, “Is this all that there is?”


There is an argument to made for leaving NYC. It certainly is the best method for appreciating the experience of living there, which is a great privilege. I do find myself constantly comparing everywhere I have seen to the unique life I had in my hometown. These comparisons also show me that NYC isn’t as perfect as I thought it was.


A city doesn’t need to be a visible rat-infested slum of a subway system, for example. In two of the most populated cities in China, Beijing and Shenzhen, the subways are so clean that one could sit on the floor while waiting for the next train. Without diving into the complexities of exchange rates, a city doesn’t have to be so damn expensive to live in either!


You could live in Chiangmai, Thailand for under $1,000 a month. This is impossible to do in NYC, even in the Bronx. One of the fanciest condos I have ever lived in charges 6,000THB or $192.80 a month in rent. And one doesn’t need to leave the United States to see how ridiculously expensive NYC is. A quick visit to Florida, Georgia, or Texas can also highlight why living in New York is an unnecessary expense and burden on one’s pockets.


Because of my current experiences gained while traveling, I will only be in NYC for small moments at a time now. A week or two is enough for me to visit family and friends. This is all because my suspicions were correct. If I could make it anywhere, that meant I didn’t need to only make it in New York City. I could leave and actually set out to make it, all across the world. And if I find that after traveling, New York City is the best place on earth. Then I will have an even deeper appreciation for the place I grew up in. I suspect it isn’t though and there is only one way to find out.

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