I know I’ve written about the pros and cons of moving away from your hometown before, but it’s just something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, especially since my HB and I have been living in Toronto for 1.25 years now! Although my experience living away from home has had its fair share of ups and downs, there is no doubt in my mind that moving away from what I was used to and comfortable with was the best thing that could have happened to me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still get homesick and talk about moving back to Vancouver one day to start a family (don’t worry, not for a while, kids still annoy me). But in terms of living life to the fullest and growing as a person, the experience I’ve had living away from home has been invaluable. That being said, with all of the things I’ve gained, there are just as many things I’ve forfeited.

For instance, this time away has really brought my HB and I closer than we’ve ever been. It’s funny because you’d think that getting married then immediately moving to a new city jobless, friendless and family-less would put a strain on a new marriage. Fortunately, it did just the opposite for us. We had only each other to lean on, so lean on each other we did.

What we ended up forfeiting in the meantime was the community we’d built over several years back home. I’ve known most of my friends for at least 8+ years, and many of my HB’s friends are from his elementary school days. Although we’re both meeting some amazing people here in Toronto, there’s something to be said for spending time with people you have a long history with. You have memories together, inside jokes, and there’s none of that getting-to-know-someone-new awkwardness.

Then again, the major reason we moved to Toronto was to really jump start our careers. If we’d stayed in Vancouver, I’m pretty sure another year would have passed without much of anything new happening. My HB would probably be splitting his time freelance engineering and working live events, and I would still be at my old job, or I would be working somewhere else but probably not making the same income as I am now.

Here in Toronto, within only a year my HB and I have seen a tremendous boost to both of our careers. I’ve never been happier in my position and this is the first year my HB has ever been able to freelance engineer full-time without working any odd jobs to supplement his income.

On the downside, we spent a lot of money to get here. I kept track of our spending during the first few months in Toronto, but I don’t have the final tally documented anywhere (sorry!). As an estimate, I’m going to say we spent about $8,000 – $10,000. That includes our drive from Vancouver to Toronto, living several months without any work, and buying all new furniture for our apartment.

You could argue that if we’d just stayed in Vancouver we would have probably saved more money overall, even with lesser incomes. Short-term yes, but we moved to Toronto to invest in our futures for the long-term. I wanted to switch careers and I knew I could do that more easily in Toronto. My HB wanted to reach the next level of his music engineering career and that wouldn’t have been possible in Vancouver.

Our hope is that in a few more years, we’ll both be at a certain level in our careers that it won’t matter where we live, and we’ll be able to choose. Now that’s what I call financial freedom!

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