Moving to Los Angeles solo to work in a film studio wasn’t something I had planned – like most things in life, before I had time to comprehend the idea, it was happening. I packed in a hurry, booked last minute flights from Australia, warded off questions such as “are you sure you can live alone in LA, you can’t even cook?” and was on my way.
Cutting to the chase, it was the most rewarding, spontaneous and fulfilling adventure I had ever undertaken. Here are the things I wish I’d known before I went…
It’s ok to go somewhere alone
I explored beaches alone, I shopped alone, I went to museums alone, I went on the Paramount Pictures Studio Tour alone. Not once did I feel out of place or embarrassed. Knowing you are engaging in an experience entirely on your own accord is not only liberating, but pretty damn enjoyable.
You can survive in LA without a car.
Uber was my best friend. As are real friends, but ubering around gave me a sense of freedom and convenience that I had never experienced before. Locals will be shocked, but I assure you, if you don’t feel game enough to hit the highways, you don’t have to.
Don’t feel guilty for doing touristy stuff
Don’t feel guilty for buying that souvenir. And definitely don’t feel guilty for hitting all the tourist hot spots. Locals will turn up their nose/ agree you have to go, (there’s a weird love/hate relationship that goes on), but I fully recommend indulging in as little or as much of the typical LA must-do activities as you feel the need.
Expect blue skies everyday
Coming from a Sydney summer, where the weekly range is anything from sweltering hot, to thunderstorms, to wind, to sunshine, to cold snaps, if there was one thing in LA that I could rely on for consistency, it was the blue skies and sunny days. Every. Single. Day.
Say yes to that spontaneous adventure
“Hey do you want to go for a hike?” “Heading to the markets want to join?” “Up for a swim at Manhattan Beach?” “Want to catch the train across to Mexico?”. Sometimes I received the texts as I was onto my second load of washing, or contemplating putting a pizza in the oven. But I always said yes. And I always thanked myself for it.
Welcome new friends, but don’t forget about those back home
I was lucky enough to meet a few people in LA who quickly became my close friends/tour guides/advice givers. But I made sure to keep my Aussie friends close, despite the 19 hour time difference. A video call to my sister as I made spaghetti, texts to my friends as I travelled to work, uploading photos for my family back home. Sometimes I slipped up, and received the “you know it’s been 6 days since you replied?” response, but for the majority of the time it was surprisingly easy to stay in touch with my friends back home.
Remember the little things
The uncertain feeling as you waited to cross the lights with an unfamiliar flashing symbol signaling it was safe to cross, the first time you watched the sun set over the ocean, the struggle to stick to the right when navigating your shopping trolley, the sight of the rocky hills and the forests out the window as you travel to work, the wailing sound of an American fire truck. The slight differences in day to day life that remind you why you are here.
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