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4 people who relocated and regretted it share the biggest mistake they made and what they learned

Ella Hopkins   

4 people who relocated and regretted it share the biggest mistake they made and what they learned
  • Four people who moved to new places share their regrets and what they'd do differently.
  • One person Business Insider that they would spend more time in their new destination before moving.

Relocating to a new state or country can be good for your work-life balance, career and finances.

But switching cities, trying out rural life or experiencing a completely different culture can come with surprises.

Business Insider spoke with four people who shared their biggest regret and what they learned from it.

1) Spending too little time in your new destination before moving

Amanda Loudin, a remote worker, moved from her home in Maryland to Boulder, Colorado, during the COVID-19 pandemic. She relocated because she loved outdoor activities and wanted to be near the mountains.

Loudin found it harder than she'd anticipated to find friends and a community — and returned to Maryland two years after she moved.

She told Business Insider she found people in Boulder more introverted than in Maryland. "My neighbors didn't invite me to cookouts, I found no regular running groups that didn't require paying to play, and I didn't fall into fun conversations at the dog park," Loudin said.

Loudin said she'd visited Boulder several times before her move and tried out living there for a month. After relocating, she realized her previous visits were closer to vacations, and she wished she'd spent more time in Boulder before deciding to move.

"More time for real-life experience — efforts to find peers and friends, running partners, and the like — could have helped me learn it wasn't right for me," she said.

2) Not finding more affordable housing

Wendy Wang and her husband moved from Pennsylvania to Silicon Valley, California, in 2020 to work for a tech startup.

She told BI she found the transition difficult. Her work-life balance suffered, and she struggled to find a sense of community.

Wang said that the cost of housing, transport, and groceries was much higher than the national average in the US. It meant they couldn't afford to buy a house and had to rent a two-bedroom apartment for $3,500 a month, not including utilities.

"This financial strain was a constant in our lives, adding to the stress of demanding jobs," she said, adding that she wished she'd looked into more affordable housing outside the city before making the move.

Wang returned to Pennsylvania with her husband two years after they moved to California. Back in Pennsylvania, the couple could afford to buy a four-bedroom house with a mortgage that costs less than their rent in Silicon Valley.

"Living without constant financial worry has given us the freedom to enjoy life," she said.

3) Not doing enough research

Eric Michiels moved from Atlanta to Denver in 2021 with his wife and two kids. He moved for work, but also said the idea of spending more time in nature was appealing.

Michiels told BI that the weather was colder and less predictable than he'd imagined.

"The winters were especially terrible for us," he said. "I remember being informed by our apartment complex that the temperature would drop below negative 5 degrees for three days in a row and to be prepared if the power went out."

He struggled to make long-lasting friendships and said Denver lacked the "Southern hospitality" he'd found in Atlanta. "After I left one church I visited, no one ever spoke to me or followed up."

He said he felt "naive" and he wished he'd done more research before he moved.

After two years in Colorado, Michiels and his family moved again — this time to Spain in 2023. He got a digital nomad visa and said, in many ways, he prefers Spain to living in Colorado.

4) Prioritizing location over amenities or community

Jackie Branholm moved from New York City to Denver in 2019 with her now-husband. They wanted to try a new city before they settled down.

The couple loved living in Denver and decided to buy their first house there after a year, but they were priced out of the city. "During our search, we fell in love with the idea of living in the mountains with our growing family," Branholm told BI.

They bought an old fixer-upper in a small mountain town 45 minutes from Denver. However, the couple was unprepared for mountain living. "What we loved about the town when we visited on the weekends was not the same experience as a resident," Branholm said.

She told BI living in the small mountain town was beautiful and great for outdoor activities but "logistically and physically isolating." "If we wanted to go to Target or the grocery store, we had to drive at least 20 minutes," she added.

The couple felt cut off from their Denver friends, cafés, and bars. After giving birth to their firstborn, Branholm said the isolation became unbearable.

"Ultimately, we realized how and who we spent our time with was more important than where we lived. Even though we loved going outside and hiking, our priorities changed when we had our son. We wanted life to be easier."

Branholm and her husband moved back to New York to be closer to family in 2023. She said the experience taught them the value of convenience and proximity to friends and family.

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