Guest Post: Moving to NYC from the land of Oz

29 Nov

Recently I received an e-mail from a journalist in Brisbane, Australia, who just took the big leap and booked a flight to NYC. I asked her to share what it was like to chase the dream from halfway around the globe, setbacks and all. Enjoy.

When I first thought I might like to become a Manhattanite, I was 14. I’d never been to The Big Apple, but wore a ubiquitous I HEART NY T-shirt to bed, had seen Home Alone 2 more times than I care to admit and, with typical teenage aplomb, figured Friends was an accurate representation of New York life.

The Brisbane skyline (pictured). Looks vaguely like Manhattan's, no?

I may have been hoodwinked by a Los Angeles soundstage, but I’ve never been able to shake the New York dream. In October 2009, at 24, I was newly single, ready for a change and had a few years’ experience under my belt. I opted to make the New York dream a reality.

Once I’d decided to live on the Upper East Side with views of the park*, I started applying willy-nilly for jobs from my rent-free bedroom in Australia. But as anyone who isn’t a United States national will tell you it’s immensely difficult to secure a visa, especially one that enables you to work. Also ranking high on the difficulty scale is getting employers’ attention from afar, especially when they are bombarded with local talent. The hurdles seemed insurmountable, and although, as a writer, I am accustomed to rejection, by the beginning of this year, I’d given up.

However, this past June, at 25, I still couldn’t quell my New York yearnings. This time, before I started shooting off my resume to all and sundry, I scrounged the Internet for information on visas, spent days researching companies and publications and assessed whether I’d be valuable to them. I contacted Aussie friends who’d moved to the U.S., tracked down New Yorkers I thought could offer advice, got to work on a creating a portfolio, enrolled in courses to expand my skills and, in between all that, booked myself a trip to New York next year.

The plan? To send off my resume to a handful of companies for whom I would do a good job, then cross my fingers and toes and hope someone will meet with me (and maybe even offer me a job). You’re welcome to cross yours for me, too.

Of course I’m nervous — what if I never get a job offer? What if no one wants to hire someone from the other side of the planet? How will I make friends? What if I get bed bugs?…but I still want it badly enough to try, and keep trying — that’s why I read this blog. It’s daunting planning a move to New York all the way from Brisbane, but maybe one day, with a little luck and a whole lot of hard work, I’ll call The Big Apple home.

* Kidding! I would be tickled pink to live in a (preferably bug free) New York shoebox with (preferably sane) roommates.


6 Responses to “Guest Post: Moving to NYC from the land of Oz”

  1. Kayla 12/05 at 6:53 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this.
    I am going to be completely honest I found this blog by simply typing your stereotypical keywords into google, and while I am an active blog reader, my commenting is limited. However, I would like both of you to know, that your posts are beyond compelling, and resonating to me (and countless others I am sure). While my journey is not nearly as far to NYC (currently 23 and living in Florida), I would like you to know that the distance may as well be Australia. The same thoughts run through my mind, and with the same determination hopefully we will both find ourselves in the city.

    Thanks again for sharing- you added to my RSS now!

  2. Rhonda Thomas 12/05 at 11:54 pm #

    This was just what I needed to read!!! I live in beautiful San Diego, CA, and have for over 30 years! I have always wanted to live in NYC. Well, my last son has moved out and I am healthy and ready to leave for the big city. My company has a job in Manhattan and I have begged for the transfer, yet they say they need me here!! So I am sending out my resume to MANY companies and will be leaving here in Feb 2011!! I am 50 yo next April and never lived on my own. I am the eldest sibling and married young. I have done my part and I am ready to go! I have my degree and many administrative/office manager skills. I even have a friend whose sister lives there and says I can crash on her sofa until I can get my own place!

    Thanks for your encouragement!

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