It’s official. Two weeks from today, I’m moving to Germany! Berlin to be exact. And I could not be more thrilled to very soon be living, writing, and traveling full-time in Europe.
In my experience, the greatest way to success is to look at what other successful people did or are doing and find your own way based off their road maps. Most of the travel bloggers I admire are traveling all the time. Granted, I know that many, if not all of these bloggers’ trips are sponsored by hotels, tourism boards, airlines, etc., but I don’t have that level of clout, not yet anyway. So I decided to invest in myself. I’m making this transcontinental move on my own dime. And in a lot of ways it’s terrifying, but also deliriously liberating. I don’t know anyone in Berlin and I speak German like a two-year-old child, and yet, I’m moving.
Why Move Abroad?
I love my hometown of Los Angeles. If LA was a dude, I’d marry it. However, I’m not ready to get married to LA. I need one last fling with another city, another country. And it just so happens I’m in love with the way life is lived in Europe.
The idea to live full-time in Europe came to me at the very end of the solo backpacking trip that inspired this blog. I was sitting at a hostel in Kreuzberg, a neighborhood in Berlin, watching the three Aussies sharing my room discuss ways to get to Munich for Oktoberfest. They were totally open with their travel plans and two of them earlier had mentioned that this trip to Berlin had convinced them to stay to live. As they talked among themselves, and haphazardly threw an invitation to Munich my way, I remember thinking three things: 1) I really want to go to Oktoberfest, 2) Aussies have way better travel visas than Americans, and 3) Why am I going back home to LA?
Home. I thought about this and realized to my own astonishment that for over three weeks, I’d been without the comforts of home, and I’d been fine. Happy, even. Fall TV season, my favorite time of year, had started, and I hadn’t missed my returning shows in the soul-crushing, hole-in-my-heart way I thought I would. And more than that, I realized that I didn’t have anything tying me to my hometown. Of course I have family and friends in LA, but the things that really tie a person down (spouse, kids, dog, house with mortgage payments), I have none of those.
Up until that trip, I’d always thought my plan would be to become a successful TV writer and then travel or live in Europe while my show was on hiatus. (I have big dreams, guys. Obvs.) But after that trip I decided to flip this idea. Why not go now? While I’m young. While I’m free. While nothing and no one is holding me back.
Why Move to Berlin?
Not that I’m trying to convince you, dear reader, to visit or anything, but Berlin is pretty freaking awesome. It was one of those cities where as I explored on foot and on bike, I thought, “I could live here.” I tend to listen to that feeling when it happens, since it happens so rarely.
No girl gains perspective until she’s transplanted. It’s the universal law of life.” – Upstairs, Downstairs episode “The Fledgling”
So when I decided that I would pursue a move abroad, and after chatting with friends who are living abroad in Asia and Europe, and comparing cost of living and cultural amenities in other European cities, I decided Asia was not my cup of tea and Berlin was the obvious choice to suit my tastes.
Berlin is affordable, cultured, artsy, and diverse (enough). It’s got an international flair with enough native English-speakers and English-speaking Germans to make communicating possible. Like LA, Berlin has a great film/music/media scene to make me feel at home. There are restaurants with international cuisines all over the places and all the Hefeweizens I could want to drink. Not to mention it’s an international airline hub with a central location in Europe, which will make traveling to the other European cities I want to visit and write about stupid easy.
Finally, as a writer, it’ll be awesome to be living in a Los Angeles sister city filled with other creative people who have escaped 9-5 life. It doesn’t escape me that almost all of the greatest American writers spent time living in Europe. I can’t wait to be a total cliche and spend my days writing in coffee shops. I will be out of my LA-ified comfort zone, and can come at the world and storytelling from a different point of view.
Even as I write this I still can’t believe that in two weeks, I’ll be moving to Berlin. I’ll be living my dream.
So if you’re at all interested in life as an expat in Berlin or my continued travels in Europe, subscribe to Joy in Europe and add @joyineurope on Twitter & Instagram. Follow along on my new European adventure as I navigate expat life in a new city and the World Cup winning-Germany!