Nine months in New York City
I’m 19 years old, was born and raised in Belgium, but for the last 6 months, I’ve been here in New York City.
I’m now doing everything I can to move to New York City. But why? Why do some people feel home half-way across the world, and do others love their hometown? Well, I’m not a scientist or a psychologist, or anything like that, so I can’t really say ‘why’ this is a thing. The one thing I can share is why I don’t feel home in my country.
Quick disclaimer, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with Belgium, it’s a country just as good as any other, it’s just not the right place for me. So instead of ‘shitting’ on my country, which I sometimes do and I’m not proud of it (it just comes out sometimes you know ;)) In emigration there are 2 factors that play a role in deciding to take action: A ‘push’ and a ‘pull’ factor.
Related: “Moving abroad in search of a better me”
Again, I don’t want to attack Belgium here, so I’ll keep it short Belgium is a small Country.
Even though we can technically move to every country in the European Union, In reality, that’s not as easy as it sounds. First off, all countries have a different language and a very different culture, which a lot of people see as valuable, I see it as very unpractical (but that’s just me ;)) The only countries I was looking at were: Denmark, Germany and the UK. Denmark is great, the people are super friendly, but the country is tiny. There is basically only one city (Copenhagen) and there is not much to do there. I go to Berlin quite a lot, and I love it! But the war is still a big part of that city and a lot of German people, are just very rude to each other. Maybe that’s just my experience but whatever it is, I don’t like it and I certainly couldn’t live there. And then the UK. I love London and I could totally live there. But then again, in 1.5 years, it will probably be as hard to move there than to move to the US, or not. Point is, no-one knows…
Culture. Again, I’m not gonna give you too many details here, but I just do not feel attached to the culture in Belgium. After my experience with Tiny House Belgium that became very clear to me.
Cities. The Urban layout of Belgium cities is not really one I like. It’s very inefficient in my opinion. Yeah, we have Medieval cities where people from all over the world come visit, but to live in, they’re not very practical… I lived 20 km from school (12 miles) And it took me around 1.5 hours one-way to get there by public transport. (That’s all I’m gonna say about it for now ;))
Ambition: I’ve never met people more driven and ambitious than the people I’ve met here over the last 6 months. Everyone, at whatever point of their lives they find themselves in, thinks about what’s next, what they could do better and what they could change about themselves and their situation. I know a 57-year-old professor, and instead of complaining to the government that they’re pushing back his retirement, He just quits his job and starts a company. I mean…
New York City is not a place to settle or relax. A lot of people love to relax and take it easy. Work just enough to pay the bills. And that’s great! I just can’t live like that. I always have to do something. And if there is literally nothing to do, I read a book or educate myself on youtube.
This Country is insanely big. You can literally fly to the West-cost from NYC, and that flight would take me as long than flying to Europe. You can experience almost every climate our planet has, from forest to dessert, to plains, to swamp… It’s insane. I traveled around quite a bit here in the states and the possibilities are pretty much endless. And all that within the same language and culture (more-less ;D)
Whenever you need a little boost, you don’t feel so great, you feel burned out, you just walk outside for a bit, go sit in a park and within 30 minutes you’ll have met someone you didn’t know before. Meeting people is so easy here and I can tell you an endless amount of stories to prove it. Even if you’re not meeting people, just walking around in the streets of New York gives you energy. Looking at all these people and buildings. Looking around and seeing all these things going on, it makes you feel like you need to do something too.
Startup culture. Because so many people here are open to innovation and are used to using technology as a tool, not a distraction ;) Lot’s of companies, online and offline, are trying out their products and services here. You have access to the most ridiculous services just because you live here. A lot of companies test out their products here and then expand to other cities, countries. Spacious is one of these companies. While other cities are watching and debating if something is a good idea, they’re already doing it in NYC. And by the time these other cities take over the idea, we have been using it for months or even years. San Francisco is also one of those cities. They’ve been using Uber for years while we’re in Belgium still debating if it’s legal or not. Here it’s an essential part of the Transportation system.
The reason I wrote this article is because I wasn’t feeling sgreat yesterday, after realizing that I have to leave this place in about a week. So I thought it would be a good idea for my mind, to think about what I love here and to refocus on why I’m going through all this ;) I hope you found some value in this too and if there is anything I can help anyone of you with, you know where to find me!
About Louis De Keyser
Louis is a 20 year old, in the process of moving from Belgium to his dream city, New York. He was the founder and CEO of Tiny House Belgium, a Tiny House Design and Construction company that focused on promoting the idea of 'smaller living' and 'living life without a mortgage'. He sold his business in January 2017 to pursue his dream of moving to North-America. Right now, Louis lives in Toronto Canada. Stay up-to-date by signing up to my Messenger List!