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    "I Never Knew I Could Be This Happy": People Who Relocated During The Pandemic Are Sharing What Their Lives Are Like Two Years Later

    "Sometimes a simple change in scenery can improve your entire life."

    As we somehow approach the two-year anniversary of the pandemic's onset, I think it's safe to say that life has become more different than we could've ever imagined. The changes have been everything from massive to minuscule β€” but one undeniable shift that many have felt is a newfound ability to re-examine where we choose to live, and why.

    Woman carrying moving boxes into a new apartment

    Two years ago, the global work-from-home boom that many folks experienced might've seemed like a temporary solution, but with many employees still working 100% remotely (and many businesses questioning the need for office space altogether), people are still questioning the places they've chosen to reside β€” and many have made fresh starts in brand new locations.

    We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who relocated during the pandemic to share where they moved to and from, along with their personal reasons for doing so. Surprisingly, no two experiences were even remotely alike. These are some of their stories.

    (Also! Just so you know, any monetary figures below representing countries outside of the United States have been converted to US dollars using current exchange rates.)

    1. WHERE I LIVED: Los Angeles, California

    Los Angeles, California β€” Average Listing Price: $949,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $2,249

    WHERE I MOVED: Las Vegas, Nevada

    Las Vegas, Nevada β€” Average Listing Price: $399,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,258

    WHY: "I'm a lifelong Californian, but the building I lived in started raising rent for no reason other than to 'keep up' with the modern high-rises being built in the area. The elevator was always breaking, too, and I had an elderly mother who desperately needed it. If they wouldn't help us now, what would it look like in the future?"

    Overhead shot of a suburb of Las Vegas, surrounded by tall, sandy mountains

    "The quality of life in Vegas is so much better. It costs WAY less to live here, there's hardly any traffic, we're a world-class entertainment city, and I also get to live in the suburbs. I can just relax in the peace and quiet without all of the 'big city' hustle I was so used to before."

    A long, windy road in a valley outside of Las Vegas, surrounded by mountains and dessert

    2. WHERE I LIVED: Seattle, WA

    Seattle, Washington β€” Average Listing Price: $749,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,895

    WHERE I MOVED: "I'm 34, and I moved (along with my parents) to Tenerife, in the Canary Islands of Spain."

    Tenerife, Spain β€” Average Listing Price: $347,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $652

    WHY: "My brother moved here 10 years ago with his Spanish-citizen husband. My parents were already planning a move to Tenerife to live out the rest of their natural lives, and after everything going on with COVID β€” among other personal reasons β€” I realized that there wasn't a whole lot going on for me in the States anyway..."

    Beautiful white sand beach with turquoise blue water in the Canary Islands

    3. WHERE I LIVED: "I was living in Austin, Texas. While there, my husband left me β€” mere weeks into the pandemic..."

    Austin, Texas β€” Average Listing Price: $580,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,529

    WHERE I MOVED: Santa Barbara, California

    Santa Barbara, CA β€” Average Listing Price: $2,000,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $2,350

    WHY: "I have a job that I love, I've made some of the best friends of my life thanks to a local MeetUp group, and my pets and I are happy and thriving. Santa Barbara is expensive, but it's gorgeous, too...and truly like living in a perpetual vacation. I never thought my life would take such a turn, but I also never thought I could be this happy. Sometimes a change of scenery can change your life."

    woman smiling while paddle boarding at the beach in California

    4. WHERE I LIVED: "I'm a disabled vet. I was living full-time in an RV, traveling the country and volunteering at federal sites to save money and pay down debts. When the pandemic hit, I couldn't face being trapped in a 25-foot box...so I borrowed some money, towed the rig to storage, and headed for Biloxi, Mississippi."

    Biloxi, Mississippi β€” Average Listing Price: $238,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $714

    WHERE I MOVED: "With almost no reasonable housing options, I ended up in a real dump. 10 months later, I moved just outside of Jacksonville, Florida."

    Jacksonville, Florida β€” Average Listing Price: $275,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,240

    WHY: "I figured I'd be able to find a better apartment here in Florida compared to Biloxi, and I was right. But, while the apartment is decent enough, nothing else is..."

    Crowd of people walking on a beach in Florida without masks

    5. WHERE I LIVED: Portland, Oregon

    Portland, Oregon β€” Average Listing Price: $500,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,493

    WHERE I MOVED: Paris, France

    Paris, France β€” Average Listing Price: $537,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,436

    WHY: "I moved from Oregon to Paris to be with my (now) husband. Because of the pandemic, I was able to finish my last semester of school online while in France."

    Many people eating at a sidewalk cafe in a quaint street in Paris

    6. WHERE I LIVED: "When the pandemic started, I was living in Phoenix, Arizona. My marriage had been over for years, but we dragged our feet on the legal filing. We still owned a home together that I lived in, alone, and paid the bills for...even after my ex found a new place."

    Phoenix, Arizona β€” Average Listing Price: $442,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,299

    WHERE I MOVED: Santa Cruz, California

    Santa Cruz, CA β€” Average Listing Price: $1,400,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $2,496

    WHY: "I started dating someone in Santa Cruz just before the pandemic began, and he ended up living with me for two months while working remotely. Living together really clicked for us, and since I ended up being laid off from my job, I couldn't afford to keep my mortgage anymore. Once my divorce was finally processed, I sold my home, packed up, and moved to the Santa Cruz mountains. It's beautiful β€” but very lonely..."

    Hiking alone on a grassy mountain in Santa Cruz

    7. WHERE I LIVED: Cardiff, Wales

    Cardiff, Wales β€” Average Listing Price: $282,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,698

    WHERE I MOVED: Edinburgh, Scotland

    Edinburgh, Scotland β€” Average Listing Price: $426,384; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,218

    WHY: "We moved for my husband's job, just after the pandemic started. Coming here with a toddler and no friends or family has been one of the most difficult things I've ever done."

    Looking at the Edinburgh skyline from a large mountain just outside the city

    "The pandemic has proven that there was no need for us to move up here β€” my husband is more than capable of working from home, and as a carer, I can pretty much work anywhere. Had it not been for COVID, we wouldn't have been able to move back to Wales...but I might've felt less isolated in Scotland in the first place!"

    A small river running between houses in Edinburgh

    8. WHERE I LIVED: "Before COVID, I was stationed in North Carolina. I loved my house there, and I generally just loved the state...so when the military told me I had to transfer right after the pandemic started, I wasn't exactly thrilled."

    Fayetteville, North Carolina β€” Average Listing Price: $180,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $877

    WHERE I MOVED: Burlington County, NJ

    Burlington County, NJ β€” Average Listing Price: $300,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,425

    WHY: "I arrived in New Jersey in the summer of 2020, and I gotta say...it's really growing on me!"

    Pier with many benches overlooking the Jersey shore

    9. WHERE I LIVED: Newport Beach, California

    Newport Beach, California β€” Average Listing Price: $3,500,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $2,400

    WHERE I MOVED: Oslo, Norway

    Oslo, Norway β€” Average Listing Price: $662,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,583

    WHY: "We took a chance with totally new jobs (in a totally different country) during the pandemic, and it's paid off well so far. Let me just say: The weather here is BONKERS compared to where we used to live, but it's been super cool to give our children all these new experiences."

    Father and son playing on a pile of snow in snow gear in Oslo

    10. WHERE I LIVED: Los Angeles, CA

    Los Angeles, California β€” Average Listing Price: $949,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $2,249

    WHERE I MOVED: "We moved from LA to Riverside in order to afford our first starter home."

    Riverside, California β€” Average Listing Price: $600,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,730

    WHY: "Rent in LA was getting ridiculously high, and the dangers of living in our neighborhood made it tough to justify the cost of living β€” and that's in addition to the soul-crushing traffic. Just going to the grocery store could be a 45-minute commute depending on the time of day."

    Aerial shot of a historic street lined with tall palm trees in Riverside

    11. WHERE I LIVED: "I had just moved to Sarasota, Florida after retiring from my teaching job in North Carolina...and then COVID hit."

    Sarasota, Florida β€” Average Listing Price: $475,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $2,040

    WHERE I MOVED: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania β€” Average Listing Price: $225,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,178

    WHY: "I wasn't happy being in such an anti-mask area in Florida, and then my 92-year-old father got sick. So, I told my sister to find me an apartment back in Pennsylvania."

    Landscape shot of Pittsburgh skyline at sunset with a red incline car climbing up the track in the foreground

    12. WHERE I LIVED: "My husband and I lived in the Greater Toronto area back in March 2020 when the pandemic started. He commuted into the city daily, leaving just before 7 in the morning. He'd arrive home around 7:30 at night. We lived in a sixth-floor, two-bedroom apartment and were absolutely depressed by our attempts at getting into the housing market."

    Toronto, Ontario β€” Average Listing Price: $914,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,900

    WHERE I MOVED: "We were both put on work-from-home, and my husband was told he'd 'never return to the office.' We started daydreaming about moving back East, and within two weeks we'd put an offer on a house (sight unseen!) in Halifax, Nova Scotia β€” where we first met."

    Halifax, Nova Scotia β€” Average Listing Price: $490,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,465

    WHY: "The people here are amazing, we have lovely friends, our relationship is stronger than ever and I've never seen my husband so genuinely happy."

    Family running on a white sandy beach in Halifax

    "Now, a year and a half later, I just left my new teaching job on maternity leave since we're expecting our first baby. We're so happy β€” but mostly grateful β€” that the pandemic gave us the push we needed to make the big jump."

    Quaint street with different colored small houses in Halifax

    13. WHERE I LIVED: San Francisco, California

    San Francisco, California β€” Average Listing Price: $1,200,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $2,950

    WHERE I MOVED: "I moved to my hometown of Fresno, California β€” mostly to save on rent and the overall cost of living."

    Fresno, California β€” Average Listing Price: $355,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,427

    WHY: "I was able to get my own one-bedroom apartment for $1,000 per month β€” a huge difference compared to paying $1,400 just to share an apartment in San Francisco!"

    Large field of trees in a farm with windmills in the Fresno valley

    14. WHERE I LIVED: "Prior to the pandemic, my husband and I were living on Maui in Hawaii β€” he was born there, and I'd lived there since middle school."

    Maui, Hawaii β€” Average Listing Price: $949,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,300

    WHERE I MOVED: Portland, Maine

    Portland, Maine β€” Average Listing Price: $459,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,350

    WHY: "I'd been wanting to move to New England for years, even before the pandemic. I wanted to experience actual seasons and to be closer to extended family. I was working remotely for a year when we decided to just go for it. I resigned from my job and told them I could stay on remotely until they found a replacement, and they told me I could just work from Maine indefinitely!"

    Dock near a canal in portland, lined with different sailboats and near apartment buildings

    15. WHERE I LIVED: Boston, Massachusetts

    Boston, Massachusetts β€” Average Listing Price: $799,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $2,650

    WHERE I MOVED: Missoula, Montana

    Missoula, Montana β€” Average Listing Price: $550,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,150

    WHY: "I wanted to enjoy living in the great outdoors for once. After landing in Missoula, I even worked from different countries for a while β€” like France, Germany, and Colombia. Overall, it's been amazing."

    Overlooking Missoula from a hike through a grassy mountain nearby, lined with wildflowers

    16. WHERE I LIVED: "I actually moved twice during the pandemic. When COVID hit, I was living in DC. I wasn't super happy. Life felt so 'meh.'"

    Washington, DC β€” Average Listing Price: $599,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $2,221

    WHERE I MOVED: "As soon as we were told to work remotely, I moved to Nashville β€” my hometown."

    Nashville, Tennessee β€” Average Listing Price: $414,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $1,593

    WHERE I ULTIMATELY MOVED: New York, New York

    New York, NY β€” Average Listing Price: $859,000; Median Rent for a one-bedroom: $3,100

    WHY: "I got a new job and they asked me to move to NYC. Ironic, since so many people are leaving NYC for cities like Nashville."

    Lots of people in Central Park, New York playing games and relaxing while looking at the Midtown skyline

    If you relocated during the pandemic (whatever the reason), let us know where you moved to and from β€” and why. πŸ‘‡

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.