Sacrifices in moving: Leaving Las Vegas

Abby Tegnelia Leaving

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Yes, it’s true — I am hanging up my stilettos and deserting the desert. It was a long, hard decision, one I had been mulling over for about six months. I did some Hail Mary-type plays in the end to see if maybe I could save my comfortable, happy life here. Alas, I did not get the humongous raise I gunned for (I said it was a Hail Mary), and Prince Charming did not ring my doorbell (ok, maybe becoming a homebody while I tried to figure out where I could move to doesn’t count)… But the universe was stubborn. In fact, the ol’ uni was sick and tired of whispering that my time here was done, irritated as I proved to be just as headstrong. So it threw bricks — the weekend getaways that usually rejuvenate me to return home? This time, on an innocent girls’ trip to Napa and San Francisco, I learned that I wasn’t going home, not really. My life as I knew it had come to an end.

“Why don’t you just move here?” an old friend asked me during happy hour in the Castro.

And I answered, “Why don’t I?” as breezily as if he’d asked me if I wanted another drink.

So here we are. I am at last… Leaving Las Vegas.

Las Vegas, you were good to me. Sure I had some tough times here, but nothing out of the ordinary. I will spare the gambling puns, but Sin City was lucky for me. It was always ready with the next job opportunity, a great and affordable place to live, supportive friends, and amazing coworkers.

I had a good run. So why am I giving up?Β After all, I had vowed to myself that I would stay put for once, that I wouldn’t flee the second my fear of commitment felt the itch to move. It was such a hard decision that it took me half a year to take the plunge. It’s exhausting and terrifying starting over alone, moving to a new place with no income and no one to help make the big decisions about budget or where to live.

When I realized that three years at my demanding job was the magic number, I took a long, hard look at my future. When I listed all of the industries I had interest in pursuing, none of them existed in Vegas.

I would have to move, but where?

There were so many personal issues weighing on me as well. Forging strong friendships is difficult in a hospitality town where everyone works strange hours, and working evenings is just part of the gig. And I won’t even wade into dating in Las Vegas, as I could write a novel on that nightmare.

Yet, was it worth it to go for broke and move to a new town, especially an expensive one in the San Francisco area?

Abby Tegnelia Platinum Entourage

I am leaving behind a fun, champagne-soaked life for more fulfilling pastures — I hope. Photo by


Moving is exciting and freeing but come on, I’m a journalist. Despite three years of dedicated workaholism, my savings account is scarily small. When all is said and done, moving is a sacrifice. And it is sad.

A friend of mine was shocked that I spent the weekend after I quit at home, sad, crying a lot. “This was your decision…” If a boyfriend cheats on you and you dump him, are you allowed to cry? For all its glitter and good heart, in the end, I feel like Vegas let me down. It gave me my career back after two years off (my unceremonious laying off was in Oct. 2008 in LA), including the last year, where I had completely given up and moved to a hut in Costa Rica. I never thought I’d work again, but Vegas came to the rescue. Yet, after that amazing gift, it had nothing left. It wouldn’t let me grow. But I will miss it so, so much.

Life is about choices, and I choose to move to a place where I think I belong long-term. But it is not some magic “fun” decision. I am terrified. I feel alone. It’s such a risk to move without knowing how much money you might make at a job — hoping of course, that I get one.

But don’t roll your eyes — I’m not asking for sympathy. I chose this.

I gave up a lot of comfortable things, all because I do not see my future here. But I am proud that I took the leap to leave — no matter the result. In all of my moving over the years, I have learned that being stubborn about things like the weather can lead to an unfulfilling time. Some people are lucky enough to find love and work in their hometowns and never feel like they have to leave. But someone like me, I often have to give up one thing for another. I am choosing to sacrifice a whole lot in the hopes of finding something better. I will not sit around complaining about the parts of my life I am unsatisfied with — I am taking off in search of them, despite having to leave behind glitzy neon, sunny skies, the best of friends, and steady work….

Sometimes, you have to take a huge, scary risk. So, here I go! Wish me luck. I need it. πŸ˜‰

Photos by Fogg Odyssey and Eric Ita, wings artwork by Mowli, couch and champagne, plus hair and makeup, by Platinum Entourage.

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Oh I could relate so much to this, being a journalist who’s just moved to Italy to follow my career and sacrificed a relationship and a good life in Paris along the way…all I can say is good on you for recognizing when it was time to go, being brave enough to make the leap to move on, and best of luck in your new chapter!

  2. That’s a huge move — congrats! It took me months to write a bit about why I’m moving, so I’m happy people that after all this time it was worth it, that people can relate.

  3. I totally know what you mean (again)! It took me three months to write my post too and seeing all the responses made it worth all the hundreds of hours it took me to write and rewrite it.

  4. This post reads a lot like the one I wrote when I left New York. Now, I can go back and remember all the reasons I loved the city to begin with. But at the time? I needed to GTFO. It’s painful; it’s a breakup. Take time to be sad, and also take a few moments to be excited about the adventures ahead.

  5. Life is about change and you are living your life. I have heard so many times how brave I was to move but I never thought of it that way, it was what my inner self was telling me to make a change, so I did.There are no directions to life, your writing your own, and it is going according to your plan but you just don’t know it yet. You know if it doesn’t work out in San Fran (which I can’t imagine it won’t), your little hut in Costa Rica awaits your return. I only wish you the best on your amazing adventure and look forward to reading more about your transition.

  6. Best of luck and I can hardly wait to read of your new adventures!

  7. Thank you! It’s been the longest good-bye ever, but I AM ready for this next adventure!

  8. Congrats on your move! I’ve been considering the same kind of thing, but I’ve got a dog that makes relocation a lot more challenging than it needs to be (not only is she 60 lbs, but she’s a Staffordshire terrier mix that is on many breed restriction lists). I may just have to live vicariously through you, as we watch how your next adventure unfolds. Although, I have a magnet on my fridge that says “leap and the net will appear” so I’m certain you’ll be a-ok.

    PS – I still have tacked to my bulletin board a post you wrote a couple of years ago about leaving LA and ending up in Costa Rica. It serves as a constant reminder that bad shit happens, but things can and will work out. And that we always have choices, whether they’re obvious or not. πŸ™‚

  9. Yes, my own pups are making finding a place quite difficult — as is my being unemployed lol. But I am determined!

  10. Change is so good for us as human beings. You will grow and find new, exciting adventures out here. I look forward to finally meeting you now that we will be practically neighbors πŸ™‚

  11. Thanks for sharing this, and I admire your chutzpah. Best of luck in this adventure, and hope to hear all the details through the miracle of the social medias.

  12. Times like these are VERY scary but somehow they ALWAYS fall into place. I was laid off from a job, which lead me to freelance, save and travel long-term. I’m 14 months in but going home as I need to re-think the next stage of my plan. Settle somewhere? Or keep moving? Move for a little and settle for a short while? Decisions hurts, but as you said, things fell in place in Vegas and who knows what will happen in California. You don’t need luck…you have courage. Live on the adrenalin of not knowing what’s around the corner πŸ™‚

  13. mike snedegar says:

    “If you want to CHANGE your life – you have to CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”

  14. Who said that??? Hahaha… Off I go! Practicing what I preach. πŸ™‚

  15. Abby! I didn’t get to say goodbye so instead I’ll say see you later! I can also relate to how difficult it is to make a change, but it is a good thing in the end. I can hear NYC calling my name again. Most of the time I tell that voice to shut up, but sometimes you just have to listen to who/what’s calling! I wish you the best of luck and look forward to staying in touch via your blog! XO

  16. You are such a gem you will dazzle in any environment! I guarantee you’re going to flourish in Cali!!! I can’t wait to follow you along on your next adventure in life. Love you!

  17. Abby, you’ll be wildly successful as you pursue your new path πŸ™‚

  18. What a great writeup and don’t worry because you will do amazing no matter where you go!!!

  19. Thanks for posting this, Abby. I’m looking to find my own place in Vegas and can appreciate your effort and decision greatly. I wish you all the best moving forward. πŸ™‚

  20. Stacey Escalante says:

    I love this! So proud of you Abby! I’m grateful our paths crossed those few times out on the town…. thanks to Maria Silva. I’m sending lots of love & luck to you! You are an inspiration! I look forward to your posts as well! Take care of YOU!

  21. Awww thank you, Stacey! There are so many wonderful people in Vegas, if only we all had more time to bond. You and Maria are the best!

  22. Good luck lady! It will totally work out πŸ™‚

  23. Thank you, Abbie πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  24. I’m so excited for you πŸ™‚ I know that it can be stressful but you can never grab on to the new thing when hanging on with both hands to the old πŸ™‚ I’m sure something amazing is around the corner. Now Melissa will just have a fun place to come and hang out and I’m sure you two will have a ton of fun in CA. You’ll do great!

  25. Prayers, good vibes and some lady luck is headed your way. This is a great article and I feel like I can completely relate. Thank you for sharing and for giving so much of yourself to our community. You will be missed but not forgotten! Go get ’em!

  26. You’re gonna rock the next phase!

  27. Im going to miss you but I am so happy for you at the same time. You are going to do awesome wherever you end up, and besides, now I have an excuse to go visit San Francisco πŸ™‚


  28. “Yet, after that amazing gift, it had nothing left. It wouldn’t let me grow.” – This is exactly how I feel about Toronto. I had a good run there (almost 13 years!) but there just wasn’t anymore room to grow. Or rather, there wasn’t the space for me to grow into the person I wanted to become. I miss Toronto and the good friends I had there but the longer I’m away the more I feel that leaving was the right thing to do. It’s just a gut feeling. I have total faith in you & that this move will push you in the right direction, like moving to BC did for me πŸ™‚

    PS. I love those photos! You look super gorgeous!! xo

  29. One think I admire about living in the US is that the country is so big, you can feel like moving to other country. If you think about it, the distance between, say the east and west coast, is easily the size of parts of Asia. But because it’s in the same country, people don’t really think that’s a big change. They think big. I think it’s great. I admire your decision, and leap of faith Abby. Good luck with your new endeavor !

  30. You will be missed–but it sounds like you are making the right move. Something fabulous awaits you, I believe!

  31. So far, things are happening… Thank you, Terrisa!

  32. Good luck! No matter how hard, listen to that voice within – it already knows the way πŸ™‚

    “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

  33. You are right. I must listen to these wise individuals to calm me down. πŸ™‚

  34. Mary ann hopkins says:

    I will come visit you when I see the kids. They just moved from the city to Marin but we can still rendezvous in the place I left my heart! I love your writing as I am a closet writer working on something after returning from Turkey and morocco lets chat when you get settled. I would love to be your Calif mom! Come on to Az before you move, when is the estimated time of departure?? Hugs and lots of prayers, Mary Ann

  35. You are so amazing Abby, and this next phase of your life is going to give you what you need, just like Vegas did at the time. Onwards and upwards! xo

  36. I’m so happy for you, mama! And this means I’ll definitely see you more than I did in Vegas as I have reasons to go to SF frequently (a past life, a new niece, in-laws). I’ll be there in February for a bachelorette party–see you then if not before =)

  37. Oh, that is such good news! I wasn’t sure if you were done with it here. πŸ˜‰

  38. Abby,

    You are so brave! Congrats on this big move. I know that you already know this…but you are going to LOVE NorCal.


  39. Good luck and safe travels Abby!! I have been out of touch with you for awhile now I suppose, but I think this blog post got me all caught up πŸ™‚ I can really relate to how you felt when you quit; I definitely had the same wave of emotion even when I, too, made the same decision and left my city for a whole new one (in my case that was quitting New York and heading to Austin on a whim). But I have no doubt you could succeed no matter where you live… even if it’s in a hut. πŸ˜‰

    Hope you are doing well otherwise, and I hope to catch up soon!

  40. Can’t believe it’s been three years already! Feel like it was only last week that the jungle princess went neon. Just shows that time flies – good luck and enjoy flying with it!

  41. Hooray! Can’t wait to follow your adventures in your new home. Very excited for you!

  42. Wishing you bliss in your next adventures! It’s going to be amazing!

  43. Thank you!!!

  44. Abby,
    the best decisions are usually the hardest. I’m proud of you for taking a leap of faith, and I know you will shine, whatever the city. I truly hope this next chapter will be amazing.
    I miss you, my friend, and think of you often. πŸ™‚

  45. Awww Kaycee, I miss you, too! So happy to hear from you. Your faith means the world to me!!

  46. I’m super-excited for you – I just know it’s all going to turn out fabulously! It’s scary to leap off into the unknown but if you don’t you won’t get the chance at serendipitously landing in just the right place, will you? We’ll be seeing you I’m sure – John has his heart set on moving to the Pacific Northwest one day and I’m dying to show him northern California (properly – our first trip to San Fran it rained the entire time and the second time we were only there for one night). Good luck!!

  47. Onwards and upwards, Abby! From reading your blog, I know you don’t sit around waiting for opportunities. You make them for yourself and I’m sure your shine in your next endeavor!

  48. Aw thanks, Jennifer! I’ve done a few crazy things in my life, but this is the biggest gamble yet. Your encouragement means a lot!!

  49. Luck!
    (but you really don’t need it)

  50. Moving is really hard and it gets harder and harder and with kids – forget about it πŸ˜‰

    I cry before the move, it’s the upcoming change. It’s hard in every way possible.

  51. There is a school of thought that says when a door is closed, a window always gets opened. I think it means that there is always a way out even when you feel like you’ve closed the door on a good thing. Follow what feels right, even if in logic it does not seem so. And I have no doubt that is what you have done.

  52. Been a bit away from the blogging scene, this is the first I read about you leaving Las Vegas. What a choice, it doesn’t matter how many times you have relocated, moving is always a big step. And an exciting one! Best of luck, you will certainly enjoy and make the most out of your next adventure πŸ˜‰

  53. Abby–

    There are a few people who understand how you’re feeling right now, and I like to imagine I’m one of them. Earlier this year, I quit my job and moved to Seattle, with no job and no permanent place to live, and lived on my not at all significant savings for almost four months. I volunteered, worked as a temp, and networked like a fiend, and found a job I’m enjoying immensely doing what I love to do. I simply followed my heart and it all worked out in the end. I’m confident you’ll land on your feet as well.

  54. Good luck! I can’t wait to read your future adventures. =)

  55. Hi Abby!

    I can perfectly understand what’s going on in your life!!
    I’ve already told you that since I was a child I had to move many times in my country Italy, from one place to another! I know what is the meaning of leaving a town where you feel so good, leaving your friends… . I’m also aware how tough can be the long period when you have to decide what to do and you don’t know what might be the best choice for youserf but you’re alone and at the end, you take your decision and especially your risks!!!!
    I’ve been very lucky in my life because I can count on the support of my family and every time my Mom told me that, “in my life I had lots of different experiences and many times I wasn’t sure about what should be the next step but of one thing I’m sure, You don’t have to be scared! Live your life and be brave!!”
    I know that it could sound a little bit easy but this is all I have to say!

    Good luck for everything!!
    Have a nice time,

  56. Sounds like the right decision, good luck!

  57. So how is California now that you’ve been living here for a while?

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