Confession: I want to move to Europe.
I feel quite guilty for saying that because I know how many millions of people around the world would do anything to hold a US passport – and I try not to take my luck for granted. However, the older I get, the more I realize that my heart just doesn’t belong in the US. I think it’s common for people to “want what they don’t have” so to speak, which is why so many Europeans want to live in America, and vise versa. All over the world, the expat community is growing.
For me, I wonder if my desire to leave has something to do with where I am from. I was born and raised in a small town in Connecticut, about an hour and a half outside of New York City. Connecticut is certainly a beautiful, peaceful state, but for me, it’s simply boring.
It was alway my dream to live in New York City – I thought that’s where I belonged. So in 2009, when i was 18, I did it. I lived in Manhattan for 7 years – the last two of which I knew I had to leave. The city is great when you are young and having fun, but at some point, the craziness, non-stop lifestyle and population density can wear on you. I hated being packed on a subway underground, and I hated walking on a crowded sidewalk above ground.
There really wasn’t anywhere else to go either, as far as big cities. New York is the only city I had a remote interest in living in throughout the whole United States. I didn’t want to live on the west coast as I’m not as “laid-back” as the lifestyle seems there. I didn’t want to live in the central United States because I prefer to be near a coast. In the East, that left Washington DC, Miami and Boston. Boston was too boring, Washington DC is too political (and also boring) and Miami – although I love visiting – has a somewhat negative reputation and is a very seasonal city.
A huge part of why I love Europe is that most places, even small towns, are fairly walkable, and easily accessible via public transportation. (Trains!) Most places in the US are not at all structured this way. If there is a “downtown” or “city center” it’s still only somewhat walkable – and will likely have tons of cars parked on the streets anyway.
Everything in the US is also very new – our buildings are never more than a few hundred years old, and our traditions can only date so far back. In Europe, you meet people who have an old street named after their family surname, or who have a vineyard passed on to them from several generations back. There are storied traditions, customs, and even languages and dialects present in certain regions. Towns can be many hundreds or even a thousand years old.
I love how Europe is big and small at the same time. If you’re tired of the country you’re in, you can easily visit (or move to) another country in the European Union that has a totally different culture than your own. Better yet, live near the border so you can have the best of two (or three!) countries at your feet! While the regions of the US are certainly diverse, they are nowhere near as varied as the countries of Europe.
So there it is: why I want to move to Europe. Have you ever thought about moving to Europe?