Expat Life: Why I’m Moving Back To The UK From USA

Last Updated on October 20, 2021

Yep, I’ve decided that after almost 4 years in America I’m going to return/repatriate back to the UK.  It’s not a decision I’ve made lightly, in fact it was a harder decision than the one I first made when I decided to start the US visa process and I’ve agonised over it for a long time.  But I need to put my happiness and mental health first and I believe going home will increase those massively.

Disclosure: This post isn’t meant to offend America or the people that live there, it’s purely to show how I’ve struggled with the differences in culture and life.  I know Americans that live in the UK and they struggle with similar problems there. I’m by no means saying that the UK is a ‘better’ country.  It all comes down to what you’ve been used to and of course everyone has different life experiences and that’s OK.  People often associate living abroad as being glamorous or exciting and yes, sometimes it is and a lot of people love it, but there’s also plenty of people that do struggle with homesickness and culture shock and it’s not often spoken about.

Moving Back To The UK

Why I’m Repatriating

*I wrote this post after I booked my flight. That was before the poop show that 2020 has become had even started. If you had seen this post: Living Overseas: Yep I Had An Emotional Breakdown Thanks To The Coronavirus, you can imagine how hard it’s been. In all honesty, if I hadn’t been moving home (yes my flight has been cancelled twice already), I probably would have found it even harder to deal with what has been going on. It’s like one of my worst expat nightmares coming true. We had this false sense of security that we could always just get home if we had to. With border lockdowns and quarantines, many expats have been trapped abroad and can’t get home, even if they wanted to.*

The Quick Answer

For those that can’t be bothered to read the next 2000 words, here’s the quick answer. Imagine a triangle with a hierarchy of 3 basic emotional needs (ignoring things like health, food, shelter). What would yours be? I’d have thought mine would be similar to most peoples:

  • Family of my own: This would be things like your relationship/partner, if you have kids, you’re own house/life etc
  • Access to ‘Extended’ family: Parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends etc.
  • Feeling comfortable in your surroundings: Such as culture, safety, weather (no winters…), physical location.

Now when I look at my triangle, while I’m in the USA, I only have one of those ‘needs’ filled. Yes I still have my family and I can go home, but I’m in a reality where I have to say goodbye to them often. I don’t get to see them a lot, I miss milestones and events. I find it hard to deal with the culture, it’s different and strange to me. The winters suck, therefore I feel more comfortable and like I fit in when I’m back home.

Having only 1 corner filled, leaves me with 2 empty corners. It’s tipped and balanced in the wrong way. I have more emptiness than what is filled. By being in the UK, I then have 2 corners filled and 1 empty…it pushes me into a balance that’s 66% filled instead of only 33%. Don’t get me wrong, losing that 1 corner, that we both worked so hard for, is by no means easy. In fact it’s extremely painful.

I’d imagine that most standard relationships have all 3 corners filled. I see it all around me. People that love their country, have their favourite places. Even those that have moved states, still have the same cultural celebrations, foods, stores, currency, language, they sound like they belong. They have their own families and yet they have their extended family fairly close by, within a driving distance, it’s ‘easy’ to meet up and spend time with these people. Have their support in times of need etc. I feel selfish for wanting it ‘all’. But so many people HAVE it all, or at least 2 corners, without even really thinking about it.

The Detailed Answer

I’ve made it no secret that I’ve struggled with expat life.  I miss my family and home a crazy amount.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved exploring Iowa and the Midwest and visiting places I don’t think I would have ever seen or even known about as a British tourist. But I do believe that location has also played a big part in my depression.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Michigan

I grew up just outside of London, England.  I was used to having one of the world’s major cities right on my doorstep.  It was convenient, the bands I loved always had London tour dates, the millions of ‘London’ airports satisfied my travel needs…to go from that, to a small town in the middle of nowhere was a huge shock.  I’m 3 and a half hours away from the nearest major city and international airport.  I’m 30 minutes from the nearest shops and doctors!  I don’t like having to get in the car to do everything. I miss just being able to walk or catch public transport.  Maybe I’m just spoilt or privileged to have had that, but when you know you could still potentially have that again, it does make it hard adapting.


The weather is a huge factor.  Massively.  I always suffered from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), where I’d get depressed in the winter, but in America it’s unbearable.  The cold makes me miserable (-50c is not fun) and hurts my face and skin and driving in the snow gives me anxiety.  It seems like winter starts in November and goes all the way to April.  Every time I arrange something during winter the weather is then extra bad so I have to cancel and then I get disappointed.

Polar Vortex 2019 Iowa Snow

I see other expats living in other areas of the country and they are like ‘yay we love the weather in America, we’re never going home! UK weather is miserable!’.  I’m sure I’d be feeling the same if I was living in year round summer because it WOULD be an improvement compared to the UK.  But winter in the Midwest is so much worse.  I’m not used to the snow or the cold temperatures and I struggle.

Cultural Differences

Cultural differences are another big one.  I’ve often clashed with people for not having the same opinion.  I’ve been told I’m wrong and if I don’t like it then I should go home, so guess what?  I am.  The gun culture is just ridiculous and scary. No child should be made to do lock down drills at school in case a gunman decides to come in and shoot up the school for example.  Yet a large majority of the population thinks guns stop guns.  Fight violence with violence.

The way people seem to wear their ‘Driving Under the Influence’ badges with pride because they have ‘no other option’ if they want a drink.  Here’s an idea, have a Coke and be a responsible grown up.  I don’t drink and drive but I don’t want someone else’s poor choices potentially killing me.


And don’t even get me started on healthcare.  So much of my wage goes on health insurance that I don’t even use. Yet for a while it was something you HAD to have, otherwise you’d get fined.  It feels like I’m just burning money.  The amount that I waste in health insurance could buy me the equivalent of around 6 or 7 RETURN flights between England and America ANNUALLY.  If I ever got sick or injured there’s then a bill on top of those insurance premiums.  

In all honesty I’m terrified of something happening to me and then I wouldn’t even be able to afford to visit home.  When I first moved here, an insurance broker even went as far to say ‘never get pregnant on this insurance plan, if you want to, I’d highly advise you getting a different plan first because it’ll cost you a fortune’…that plan was costing me $300 a month.

USA to UK flight price watch

Missing The UK

I miss British food.  I can get some things in the States but sometimes you just crave the things you can’t have.  British food is sometimes described as bland, sounds appetising right?  But my body hasn’t really adapted well to American food, it often just makes me feel bleugh.  Things don’t need to be brightly coloured or full of additives or sugar and for some reason I can’t drink milk here but I can back home.

Of course I miss my family and friends.  It’s hard being away from them, missing out on spending time with people, births, milestones, celebrations.  In the Midwest family culture is huge and an important thing to many people.  For me, that doesn’t have any of my blood family around can often just make me feel worse or alone.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the people that have included me here but sometimes you just want/need your own relatives too.  

When I’m feeling sick or need help or support, it’s always those back home I feel the need to turn to. However that doesn’t always work when you factor in time differences.  I can’t just jump on a plane last minute to go and see them, well I could, it’d just cost me a fortune.  Travelling home for Christmas was next to impossible because the flight prices were so expensive.

I Feel Like I’ve Failed

I do honestly feel like I’ve failed.  But I shouldn’t think like that.  It takes a hell of a lot of courage to risk everything, pack up your life into a suitcase, say goodbye to everything you know and move to the other side of the world.  That alone is a huge achievement.

But ultimately my decision effects and hurts a second person and that alone made me feel like a selfish monster. It’s not easy to walk away from something we worked so hard for. I feel sad that we’ve had to deal with challenges, such as immigration, that most couples don’t have to even think about. The fact that we can’t just both live in the same country easily. If I leave, I can’t just come back. I give up my right to a Green Card and if I was to return, I’d have to go through the process again.

If my partner wanted to come to England, we’d then have to go through the UK visa process. For ages I’ve carried a lot of guilt. Guilt that I just couldn’t settle and that I’ve put a huge pressure on our relationship. I’m sad for us both. It seems cruel that in a different ‘world’, if we were the same nationality, our relationship could have been easy.

The Struggles

Believe me I gave life in America 110%, I had a job interview the day I landed, I’ve built up this website to the point where it can pay for a flight home in profits, I’ve had some great opportunities.  But it just wasn’t enough.  It has felt like a huge part of me is missing and while I’m living in America, that hole can’t be filled.  I feel empty.  You can take the girl out of England but you can’t take England out of the girl.  My health has suffered to the point where my hair fell out for 5 months through stress.  I want to be able to blend in again and not stand out like a sore thumb.  No one likes to feel as if they’ve failed at something.

Wisconsin Dells Tommy Bartlett Exploratory

I came over hoping that eventually I’d settle in and I’d get used to a new life and be able to adapt.  Maybe I just held on too much to my ‘old’ life for that to happen.  Or maybe I’m just making excuses for myself and it’s actually OK to admit that I’m not OK and life in another country just isn’t for me.  A prime example that shows that I’m not quite alone in my thoughts, is the recent situation with Meghan and Harry…yes I don’t have press hounding me all the time, but she didn’t like living in England and had the guts to move back to a country where she was comfortable.  

People argue that she knew what she was getting into when she married a Prince, but then I knew what I was getting into when I married someone that had a different nationality to my own.  I’m sure their decision was even harder than mine when it potentially meant dividing the Royal Family.  Sometimes your best intentions don’t always work out.  That’s life unfortunately.

Immigration & Paperwork

People often argue the expat vs immigrant debate, thinking it’s a class thing because ‘privileged white people’ are considered expats and everyone else is an immigrant.  I entered the States on an immigrant visa, that was stressful, cost an absolute fortune and yet Green Card holders are constantly threatened with ‘we’re going to take it away from you if you do this, this, this, this, this, this etc’, the rules are constantly changing and it’s scaring people into getting citizenship, just so they don’t get deported.  I don’t have the same rights as an American citizen, I’m kinda just treated as a tax paying monkey.

Despite being on an immigrant visa I’ve always considered myself as an expat.  An immigrant emigrates to another country, usually with permanent intentions.  An expat is someone that lives outside of the country of their nationality.  I’ll always be a Brit, I have a British passport, I was born in the UK.  I moved with the intention that the UK would still be in my future, I was honest from the start of this journey and that me moving to America was just what needed to be done at this particular stage in my life.  In my mind, it was always temporary.  I just didn’t know if temporary was going to be 5yrs, 10yrs, 15yrs.  Luckily I’m in a position where this is an option.  Not all immigrants have the choice to return home.

London Nomadic Community Gardens Brick Lane

I’m not saying the UK is perfect.  It’s far from it.  It’s going to be hard leaving people behind, repatriating, going back to dealing with endless traffic jams and small houses.  As another fellow British expat recently said, “America has a better standard of living, but the UK has a better quality of life”.  I trust my gut that this is the right thing for me to do for my mental wellbeing and I hope people respect my decision because I’ve honestly been beating myself up over it for a long time.

Resources For Moving Back To The UK

Checklist For Moving Abroad: A Handy Guide For Moving To A New Country

Moving Abroad Packing List: What You Need To Take Overseas

8 Handy Tips: How To Pack A Suitcase For Moving Overseas | Best Luggage

Kylie Signature
Why I've decided to move back to the UK: Expat Life - Brit living in the USA

96 thoughts on “Expat Life: Why I’m Moving Back To The UK From USA

  1. Well Done You!
    It’s not selfish to put you first. It’s important. Wishing you all the best in the next steps. Looking forward to following the story.
    Bests from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  2. Kylie, thank you for your honesty and vulnerability evident in this post. I’d never say that you’d failed – more like you’ve experienced life in ways that many others would have never seen or felt. You have taken that gamble and can bring that experience to light for others.
    The concern with health insurance is one that, for those in the UK, we may – as yet – not have really understood, especially the magnitude of the payments. I have only recently caught uo with you and this blog. I’d like to thank you for highlighting so much. Travel well.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I’ll continue to document expat life and travel, who knows…maybe I’ll end up documenting the UK visa process too haha

      1. I’m wishing you all the best. I hope you find peace and joy and I’m sorry you couldn’t here. Its been a delight getting to know you online as fellow Iowa bloggers!

      2. Thank you! I still have some more Midwest content etc but for me it’s just too different to my norm 🙁

    1. Not at the moment. He’s still deciding what he wants to do and that’s completely ok, I understand that totally, it’s not an easy decision. He had mentioned selling the house and building something smaller so it’s paid for but he’d still have to base here in the states without the worry of a mortgage. Obviously that takes time too.

  3. What a brave and terrible decision darling. I’ve always felt for you so much, leaving your parents and family behind. But when your body is literally rejecting parts of itself to highlight your stress you have to stop and listen. You haven’t failed! You’ve written a book, guided others through the immigration process and shone a light on an area that rarely gets tourism coverage. You have touched the lives of every one around you and all your readers! This was supposed to be a new life, not a life sentence and I look forward to reading about the next stage of your journey. <3

    1. Thank you Sarah, I appreciate it! <3 Thank you for all the help you gave me too! I leave in 2 weeks today, so i'm feeling a bit weird right now. I was excited but now I'm sad. It's the right decision but it doesn't mean that it's an easy one!

  4. What a brave and honest decision you’ve made! You’ve obviously thought it through and though not an easy decision it’s one that will benefit your health and well being and that’s worth it’s weight in gold. Wishing you a future filled with lots of happiness!

  5. I can only imagine what a very brave and difficult decision this would have been. Your health and well being is most important and I’m sure knowing that has helped you with making this move back to your home country. All the best in the future!

    1. Thank you 🙂 we spoke about it last March (2019) and I didn’t book the flights until this year, so it gave us well over a year to ‘prepare’ for it. I’m just sad it means leaving my husband behind 🙁

  6. Sending you all the hugs Kylie!

    I don’t think you have failed at all! You had 4 years and built this awesome website! Good luck in the future…you may find that now you will see the UK with new eyes!

    P.s. I relate to this post in so many ways after being an immigrant in Japan and Canada. I have to say it is easier (and feels more welcoming in Canada…. But the immigration paperwork is still blooming stressful!)

    1. Thank you! Even since being away I see it differently and appreciate so much about it! I can imagine! I think the UK process is even harder than the US one 🙈

      1. Yeah, I have a few friends that have been through it. The UK treats immigrants like criminals. 🙁

      2. I felt like a criminal coming to the US! They wanted physical proof that I was a girl like I said on my form!!! I believe they’d changed that requirement now but that was awful!

      3. Whaaaa!? Oh god that is so weird!

        It’s so strange to me that borders (which are a totally man-made, cultural construct) make it sooo hard for people to move around the world. We are both in very privileged positions, and it is STILL hard. I imagine what a nightmare it must be for say a Muslim to attempt to immigrate, or how hard it is for people that have ‘weak’ passports.


      4. Oh completely! You’d think the rules would be different or easier if you’ve been married for a long time or are an obvious family etc but nope!

  7. Oh, Kylie! I so admire your honesty. Thank you for sharing your journey. I know this must’ve been an incredibly difficult decision for you. It takes strength and bravery to put your own needs first, and I’m proud of you for doing what is best for you. Good luck, friend! I hope you find the peace and comfort you need. ((hugs))

    1. Thank you April! I still go through days where I wonder if it’s the right decision, but I think it’s because it’s so final…once I go it’s not easy to come back…well I get 6 months before I have to give up my residency. It’s a scary thought!

  8. I hope that you can get past that feeling of “failure”. I cut short my stay in London for a few reasons, but one of them was the weather. I couldn’t handle the winters and the lack of sun. I completely understand your need to go home.

  9. As someone who’s known you throughout all of this (and much longer!!), I think you’re far from a failure! You’ve given it your best shot and you were brave enough to do it in the first place. Now you’re having to go through this, while writing about it and addressing your feelings publicly, which is also extremely brave. You’ve made the right decision for yourself (and if you doubt it, I WILL make that list! lol) and I’m looking forward to seeing Smiley Kylie back! 🙂

    1. Get me to a Busted show!!!! Then I’ll know I’m home! Thank you 💙 Writing has definitely helped me through all of this!

    1. Really interesting post! I’ve actually been back to the UK every year, maybe that was part of my problem? But I still very much wanted my family to be a big part of my life do I made it a priority to go and see them. I only had to worry about my own ticket though! I flew from Chicago to Australia via Tokyo back in 2018. We went with ANA, very impressed with the service we received! We had a long layover so spent most of the day in Narita…such a cute little town!

      1. >We had a long layover so spent most of the day in Narita…such a cute little town!

        Yes, Narita is nice and has a very “Japanese” feel. Did you visit Narita-san Temple?

  10. I hope you keep writing as I enjoy reading about your adventures and life experiences. Good luck, I’m sure you know you’ve made the right decision in your heart, your head will catch up. X

  11. I absolutely understand not wanting to stay in Iowa. It’s really too bad you couldn’t have lived in another part of the US. Every state is different, and regions have even more differences. I think you would have had a completely different experience in Michigan, for example, even though it’s the Midwest.

    I was unhappy in Germany my first year-and-a-half here. I think I would have gone home by now if we had moved to a small town. You just don’t get the same “expat experience” if you move somewhere with nothing going on.

    Anyway, good luck!

    1. I agree. I would have loved to have given another state a chance but unfortunately it just wasn’t on the cards! I really loved Michigan on my 2 visits AND it’s 1 time zone closer to the uk too!

  12. Even though I’ve never lived overseas, I can relate. I haven’t lived in Minnesota for over 20 years but it is home. Home is always home. Take care of yourself. No shame, just more knowledge.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I can imagine it’s just as hard within the states, it’s a huge place! We drove from Iowa to Colorado over Christmas, it’s crazy that it’s just 2 states across yet took us 16 hours to drive there!

  13. I wish you safe travels and happy times back home. I know this is easier said than done, but please don’t view it as a failure. I think it’s a success that you recognize what will make you happier and you are seeing to those needs. Be well!

  14. Kylie, my husband and I have both been through this too. It took several years of marriage to settle in Iowa. I felt all of those feelings when I lived in England. My husband feels them here. It’s just part of our marriage. We do have more peace in our lives( we have been married 20 years now!) But it isn’t easy. You haven’t failed, this is just part of the process of figuring things out. I do want to warn you that you will probably have some reverse culture shock too. Things I used to think, I don’t anymore. But I see it all as a learning experience that has on the whole taught me to be more open-minded. You are no longer an English person only but you are now also partly American. I love England, It’s my other home, with the rest of our family and friends.(once you gain an English friend it’s for life!) My husband and I both hate the extreme weather here now( I grew up here!) We miss the sea. I hated the clouds in England and the lack of summer, but so does the whole rest of country! I’ve always found the UK to be the kinder country when it comes to immigration. The US people are scary! 😆
    All the best on your journey! Amy

    1. Thank you! I’m glad it worked out for you! I miss the sea SO much and the weather extremes are scary…I just want boring English weather back…they’ve had it so good there at the moment, knowing my luck it’ll continuously pour as soon as I get off the plane lol

      1. Yep, it will have to rain for you! It is part of the arrival process! 🙂

      2. It’ll be 26c here when I leave…I don’t have room for my winter coat so I was going to carry it as hand luggage…I might be needing it now though!!

  15. Sounds like you made the right decision especially now with all the riots! That’s just crazy. You really gave it a good shot, four years is a long time. You might go somewhere else in a few years. Enjoy being back in the UK 🇬🇧

    1. It has gone a bit crazy recently! My mum is worried that Chicago airport might get affect if riots are happening in Chicago! 🙈

      1. Thank you 🙂 seems to be all good to go so far. I’m in business so that makes me feel a little more protected and spaced out 🙈

      2. Unfortunately I’m getting no lounge, welcome drinks or food on board 😂 typical my first time flying business and it’s been ruined by ‘rona!

  16. You haven’t failed at all Kylie, in fact you’ve been pretty brave in making such a big decision. It can’t have been easy but I think you are 100% right. We have visited a lot of the States and I have to say that we couldn’t live there. Such a different attitude towards absolutely every part of life that we just didn’t understand. Where in England are you heading back to? Well I guess you are actually there now aren’t you?

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I’m heading back to Essex. Not there quite yet, flight is next Sunday so just over 1 week left!

      1. It’s all part of life-s big adventure isn’t it? A big decision but it will definitely be for the best. Not sure I could live in the US so admire you for doing it for so long.

      2. It’s definitely different from being here as a visitor! I was always under the impression that I’d be better off in the US…cheaper house prices, cheaper petrol etc, but the health insurance alone is crippling…I pay $6000 a year!

      3. Unbelievable isn’t it? We found food and drink very expensive there too when we travelled around. Not the cheap country a lot of people imagine is it?

      4. Yeah once the tip gets slapped on it suddenly makes everything so much more expensive! I pay $32 a month (because of course tax isn’t included on a $30 plan) for a phone with 1gb of data…I’ve just ordered a uk sim for when I’m home and the first 3 months are £9 for 20gb (!!! It was either 20 or 50 I can’t quite remember) and then it goes up to £18! Still less than the $30 but with a million more gbs!

    1. It was a bit of a shock when I first got back, just being like wow I’ve left…but I’m not even at the end of my 14 day quarantine and I know I made the right choice 😂

  17. I just began the expat journey in Germany and it was helpful to read this! Even with a foreigner partner, who you love SO much, loneliness and depression is so very real. Thank you for your honesty!

    1. Good luck with your journey! Yes, I feel there was also a big pressure on him to be EVERYTHING to me. Not just a husband and a friend but all the other people I’d usually rely on for support then became his job too. I am loving being home but I do miss him being left in the US!

  18. Hi Kylie, I came across your BA youtube video whilst I was watching my BA video! And then I read your blog and this post. Sorry to read the expat life in the US didn’t work out. I have migrated to the UK with my British husband and the initial days were tough but I now love and can understand you coming back.
    Hopefully your husband can join you soon. I would guess the immigration red tape may well improve by that time if there’s a UK\US deal. But at the moment it is expensive over a period of 5 years.
    PS like you I had my first Club world experience just before the lockdown. So it was a shame you missed out on the lounge, service and food. But a whole cabin to your self seemed fun!
    All the best with your channel and blog.

    1. Thank you! Yeah I had pick of the toilets too…I had 3 to myself so there was never a line lol. I’m hoping the visas get easier, I was looking into it and it seems that it’s like £1000 every 2 years! I’m glad you’re liking it in the UK! I’m so happy to be back, I just struggled being so remote and the winters were grim!

  19. I just happened upon your blog. I don’t blame you. I am an American, but I can imagine how hard it is to move to another country permanently. But to move to Iowa, cold and no large city nearby, I couldn’t do it moving from Florida to Iowa. The homesickness would be terrible, the brutal winters, and let’s face it, with the amount of time given for vacation in America, I would rarely see my family either. I’ve lived in Atlanta, and loved it, but even felt homesick at times for family, but I had a large group of friends. Even then, my professional identity I had worked hard for felt lost compared to the city I had lived in in Florida. In Atlanta, I didn’t have that, even though in the same field.. But I had many friends who had moved to Atlanta from Florida, so I had my own tribe in Atlanta and loved living in Atlanta for a few years.

    If you had moved for love to a different area in the U.S., it might have been a different experience for you. Honestly, moving where you moved, I would have felt trapped, surrounded by majority Trump voters (I couldn’t handle it) and not remotely close to a major city to help with the homesickness. I’m not knocking Iowa. It’s beautiful, but it could never be home for me compared to other parts of America I would love to live in.

    I have a friend from England. Her parents moved here to Florida when she was a kid. But her parents had siblings that had already moved to Florida and there was a large British expat community here, so her parents loved it. I think that’s what could have made a differece for you.

    Good luck! You gave it your best shot in Iowa.

    1. Thank you for the message! Yes location was definitely my problem (and you are right about Trump…). Travelling around there have been places that I have loved visiting in the US but Iowa just didn’t have that same feeling for me. I wish I could have given another location a shot but it wasn’t an option so I decided home would be best for me. I’m happy with my decision, it’s nice to be home. If I had family it would have been easier but I just felt so alone! Interesting to hear that you liked Atlanta, I’ve not been there! 🙂

  20. No you didn’t fail, your time in this chapter of your life was just up. Every time something ends, society has conditioned us to view it was a failure but I think this is just the beginning of a new chapter in your life!

    1. Thank you 🙂 It just feels like a ‘gave up’ and maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Now I’ve been home for 4 months, I do feel like I made the right choice 🙂

  21. I’m American and I wouldn’t live in the Midwest for a miilion bucks (which doesn’t get one far in the US). Trump? guns, Q Anon, income disparity, crap public education, our country has become one of those “Shitholes” the orange Mussolini spoke of. We are thinking of moving to the UK! Feel bad you stuck it out as long as you did.

    1. That’s really interesting to hear it from an American’s perspective! I’ve heard of a couple now that have said that or moved there and then moved away for those reasons. Trump won Iowa again by a landslide. I was definitely the odd one out.
      Awesome! I’m so happy to be back home now 🙂

      1. Yes, there are TONS of us here in the US who are disgusted with the Trumpanzees. And it is truly frightening to think that we will lose democracy in this country in our lifetime.
        I think what you wrote about the main difference between the US and the UK is the best distillation of the distinction I have seen anywhere:

        “America has a better standard of living, but the UK has a better quality of life”.


        And I would imagine this applies not only to the UK but to Western Europe in general.

      2. Thank you! Yes, I’ve been back in the UK over a year now and it’s so refreshing. I’ve lost over a stone in weight just by eating better quality food, my digestion system is much happier…I’ve used the NHS without the fear of bills etc. Definitely the right decision for me to come back.

  22. Hi, Kylie..

    I actually thought your post was just the opposite: You being initially from America and deciding to move back to the UK. 😅

    Anyway.. honey, you didn’t do anything “bad”. You followed your heart. You did the best you could and made the most of it. It’s not easy to do what you did, both coming here and leaving. I’m curious, though, as to why you didn’t move to a warmer location and whether your partner knew it was all temporary. Forgive me if that’s none of my business, and feel free to ignore.

    Incidentally, whereas you missed home and couldn’t wait to go back, I have the opposite problem. I’d give anything (well, not my cats! 😅) to leave this country and move to England. I see pictures of cottages, the countryside and the cities (and “travel” there on Google Earth) and I get a sense of longing, like I left something behind. 😥 I love the culture, the accents, the castles.. I like how they’re not gun-crazy, don’t put a lot of crap in their food like we do here, and you don’t have to go broke if ever you get sick. I like how pedestrian-friendly it seems to be.. how you can live a semi-rural life (from what I’ve read) and still have access to public transportation. I don’t drive and I’ve always wanted to live somewhere more “country-ish” without having to live in a more populated area (and deal with the corresponding prices in rent). No place is perfect, but some places resonate with you more than others. Over time I’ve just become highly disillusioned with the American government. I want to live somewhere where I feel that the government is at least on my side even a LITTLE bit. The rich get richer here, the poor get poorer (but helped by the government), and those of us in the middle get “screwed”. I’m taxed up the wahzoo in the State I live in, and on top of that, have to pay a certain amount a month towards my health insurance (provided by my employer), but like you alluded, that doesn’t include medical copays and procedures. I’ve been at my job for nearly 27 years and haven’t seen a raise since 2008..yet, I’m given more work to do for the same pay. 😥 The work-life balance here sucks. You feel guilty if you take time off for anything.

    I’ll never forget recently seeing a man on one of those travel channels being interviewed in Ireland last month for a St. Patty’s day special. He was originally from New York City, same as me.. and he said that while there’s no place in the world like NYC, he’s in Ireland for the quality of life. That really struck me. THAT’S what I want.. but I don’t have the money or “connections” to make a move. The best I could ever do is visit the UK, and England, in particular. I love Scotland, too, but feel particularly drawn to England.

    Anyway..I hope you are happy now, hon’. You gave it your best shot. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you, and I’m sorry that you encountered people that told you to go back where you came from due to differing opinions. That’s so rude. 😒 We all have different opinions, and you’re entitled to yours. I just want you to know that we’re not all like that. Some people are just assholes! 😅

    I wish you well, hon’, and I hope you’re doing ok. Thank you for reading my “book” if you read this far. 🙂❤️

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for the message! Literally everything you said about England is everything that I missed and why I wanted to come back! So yes I am from the UK originally, moved to the US and then came back to the UK. I’ve been back almost a year now and even though we have been in lockdown for almost all of it, I know I made the right decision!
      Originally I moved with the intent of it being permanently, or at least long enough to dual national myself. My partner didn’t want to leave Iowa as that’s where he had a house and a job. When I asked if we could go somewhere warmer he said no for the same reasons, plus what was the point in both of us being away from family and friends. But when you don’t really like the location (plus the culture…guns, healthcare etc) AND have no family, it just made me so unhappy. Have a great day!

  23. I relate so strongly to everything you say – I have been in Georgia, USA, for 4 years and am so homesick. My two year conditional green card expired in FEBRUARY 2019 and despite paying I am still waiting my ten year card. I could apply for citizenship but what’s the point – pay more money, get nothing? I am scared to trust the doctors here, and I stupidly sold my flat in the UK (though have reinvested the money in property here so could in theory sell up and return to another tiny flat lol), and like you I loathe the gun culture, the greed, the huge cars, no footpaths, crap music – shall I go on? lol. I guess I am just a British person and I feel like an outsider here. Well done you for deciding to go home – it will be a good ten years until I can do so, but you are not alone in your feelings. Best of luck in going home – would love to hear how it goes!

    1. Oh dear, I’m so sorry you are feeling that way. I know exactly how you feel and it’s awful. I’ve been back almost 2 years now! Best decision I made! Even with the virus and things not being normal it was definitely right for me. I ended up surrendering my Green Card so it’s gone!

  24. You moved to Iowa….there’s your first problem. I recall a comedian that started his set with “I was born in Iowa……………and left when…..when…. I realized I was free to leave”

  25. Thank you for this post. I am a Brit – 4 years in California, aching to go home. I often feel like a failure or like I am MAD for thinking this, because so many people are so envious of my life and say I am crazy when I say I want to come back. The lifestyle is great and so is the weather but, my anxiety and depression have been very bad since I moved here. I earn great money but can’t afford to buy a house. I miss my family and I am a 12 hour flight away if anything were to happen. I didn’t see them for 2.5 years during COVID and it was a dark place for me, mentally. I want to be in the UK where everything feels safe and familiar – that’s just where I am at now with life. I’ve had a lot of adventure and now I want my farm-house, and M&S and roasts on Sundays and coffee with my mum and my niece knowing who I am.

    I am scared though. Scared I have rose-tinted glasses on and I will regret leaving. Can you please update since you’ve moved back and how you are finding it? Thank you.

    1. Hello! I’m so sorry you are feeling that way 🙁 It sounds exactly how I was feeling. In all honesty it was 100% the best decision I’ve ever made. Yes the UK has its faults but my depression has gone and so has the majority of my anxiety, so for me that makes it worth it alone. I’m now 2yrs almost to the day since I moved back!

  26. I know this is a very late reply, but I just came across this article. I am an American living in the UK. We moved here 3 years ago for my husband’s job. I know exactly how you feel when you say a piece of you was missing. That’s how I felt after moving here. I miss my family and friends, and the familiarity of the American culture. We finally had a chance to fly back to the US this summer for a few weeks. It felt nice to be back to see everyone. It filled my void. Interestingly, when I flew back to England, I felt more at peace with coming back. We live out in the country here. It’s calmer, less drama, more peaceful. I agree with your quote about better quality of life in the UK. Best to you.

  27. Well, I’m even later coming to your blog, but what a timely find! I’m British; I married a Hoosier; we have two daughters and a home here in Indianapolis and I have absolutely never felt truly at home in the 14 years I’ve been here. It was strange reading your post, as it felt impossible that someone else could so clearly capture my own thoughts. That question of: “have I really tried enough?” is so accurate. Well, years later my husband and I just separated this summer and I have never felt more desperately sad that I didn’t leave for home when I could have. With sharing custody it would be cruel to not have our girls have easy-ish access to both parents. Now I’m left with counting down the years until my youngest turns 18 and then I fully intend on returning home. That will have its own trials, but I’ll still be of working age and I’m saving for it! Anyway, I wrote to say, bravo on listening to your instinct. Britain isn’t perfect, but after being here for so many years and through: elections, school shootings; rising religious fervor etc, I’ll take our little island in the northern sea, any day. Glad I found your site, can’t wait to read more!

    1. Ultimately that was my biggest fear…then feeling like I was stuck! I decided not to have kids until I knew I was happy there but the happiness never came so I think I did myself a huge favour! I wish you all the best! If ever you feel like you need someone to talk to, my inbox is always open 🙂 I recently removed my expat menu choice but there are tags at the bottom of the post that should still work and take you to other content about being a Brit in the US!

      1. I moved to the US (California) in 1995 – it was supposed to be for three years but ended up being 26! I fought against it so hard for so long. I was so homesick for England. But all my friends in England used to say “Don’t come back” and “it’s changed so much” and my husband continued to have good work in California, so we stayed. However, eventually, in 2021, we did end up moving back to the UK. We didn’t really want to at that stage, as I’d really wanted to move back to England at a time when my parents were still alive (they’ve both died now) and also when my three children were young, so that they could grow up in England. As it was, my husband and I have now moved back and have “left” our three adult children in the US. Something I always worried would happen. The only reason we moved back when we did was that my husband lost his job in the pandemic and we thought financially we’d be better off in the U.K. I have to admit I’m having a very hard time here and to me it doesn’t feel like the country I left behind in 1995 or home. I feel it’s changed so much. Also there is a strong draw to be near to my children and I feel lost here without them. Not having my parents around or many close family left in England adds to my sense of isolation. I’ve realised that I want to be back in the US – something that I never thought I’d feel when I was younger! I think with moving countries you can’t leave it too long to return. And when children are involved most mothers wish to live near to their adult children so if your children grow up in a particular country, they often want to stay there. At this stage in my life I don’t really feel I have a country to call home and neither country will perhaps ever feel completely right.
        I’m so glad you chose to come home when you did, Kylie, as that was obviously completely the right thing for you, and I’m glad you’re happy with your decision. The timing was right for you – it’s all about timing.

      2. Hey Jackie! Thank you so much for the message. I’m sorry that you have been having a hard time! That was my feeling, I thought if I had kids in the US then the chances are I would be ‘stuck’ forever, so I ultimately didn’t go down that route and honestly it was the right decision for me. I have been back 2.5 years now and I’m still happy with my choice. I hope you manage to find comfort somewhere!

  28. Hi there, I haven’t read the other comments and I know this was written a while ago. Did you move back? I’ve lived in Canada for almost 18 years and can relate to many of your points in this article. I’m planning to move back this summer. It’s a very hard decision, but it feels like time to me. I’m curious how it felt to move back and if you are happier now. Best wishes, Jill

    1. Hey Jill, thanks for the comment! Yes! I did indeed! I moved back June 2020 so have been back in England for 2.5yrs now. 100% the right decision did me. I’m so much happier now!

Leave a Reply