Moving back to America after living in England (a little advice)

Posted on August 14, 2009 by peacefulyorkshire

yahooavatar15Tell our readers a little bit about yourself:

I think I’ll call myself BigApplePie :)

How long did you live in England and what brought you to the UK in the first place ?

I lived in North East England for approximately 4 and 1/2 years.  I moved for love and married a ‘Geordie’.  Unfortunately, our marriage did not work out and we were divorced 2 1/2 years after I had arrived in this strange country that I came to love.

What were the reasons you decided to move back to America?

This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made.  Being a musician, I worked very diligently to create a name and work for myself to support living on my own.  However, I was thousands of miles away from my own family and felt a little lonely.  In the Spring of 2008 I was offered a job that was located near where I grew up in America and I battled over making a decision to move or not.  On one hand I would be working in a similar field, but on the other hand it was back to working 5 days a week.  Saying ‘yes’ would meant that I was going to leave a career that I had built to return to my family and have a wonderful support system and spend holidays with them. Saying ‘no’ meant I would continue my career but would spend birthdays and special holidays away from my family.  Also, during my decision making time, an intruder broke into my cottage and I had to turn to local friends for help.  It made me a little scared to come home late at night when I was all alone.

I truly battled over this decision and with the economic downturn, I decided that if I ever wanted to try and move back to the states that this was the time to try.  Moving with a job, was a better segue than just moving blindly back without the promise of work.

So after 6 months, I said ‘yes’.

How long did the process take to move back ‘home’?

Moving back was very straight forward. I decided to move in August and by October I was living and working in the US.  My personal items arrived a bit later.  I used Pickfords, the most amazing moving company in the UK, their US equivalent is called Allied.  I arranged for sea freight and they packed up everything and started the move one month before I actually left the UK.  I also went through the paperwork of moving with my large breed dog.  This has been made very easy through a programme called PETS.  However, it requires rabies injections and clearances 6 months prior to moving, so be prepared.

Now that you have moved back what do you miss about the UK, if anything?

The grass is always greener.  I never thought that moving back to the USA would feel like moving to a new country, but I was learning things that I had forgotten and it wasn’t as easy as I thought.  I actually hadn’t lived in the US for over 5 years because of my transition. Very quickly after moving, I started regretting leaving the UK.  Even though my parents had been so helpful with arrangements, I just missed the independence I had created in the UK.  The move did end up costing a lot more than expected and with the economy down the tubes, the exchange rate was NO longer in my favour… bummer.

I love that the UK has such wonderful customs and traditions.  It always amazed me to arrive at a gig and find that I was performing in one of the oldest castles or an incredible stately home.  The society is very ‘real’ and this reality is very touching.  Meeting new people, whether rich or living on very little, there was an appreciation for life and music too which was a bonus.

Also, the UK’s national health system is amazing and SOOO easy.

What changes do you notice about yourself since you last lived in America?

I am a more polite driver and I am not as ‘fast-paced’ as other people my age.  I realized that I had forgotten a lot of Americanisms, because I had changed some of my words and speech to ‘fit in’ in England… now I was being criticized in America, so I am learning how to speak all over again.  No more boot of the car, right-hand drive cars (which I occasionally get in the car and sit there hoping that no one saw me get in on the wrong side!! LOL), pants/trousers, etc…

Anything you have noticed now that you didn’t notice before about America/Americans?

I see that the states is extremely competitive in work and life.  There are fewer holidays and people are very ‘work-driven’.  It is almost sad.  Also, there seems to be this horrible threat of being ‘sued’.  I don’t understand this at all.

The other thing is that I find Americans are very wasteful.  With the focus on becoming ‘green’ a few more Americans are starting to conserve but as a nation it is very disheartening to see the waste going on.

Any advice to other Americans in the UK that are thinking about moving back home?

Be sure of what you really want in tens years from now… make a choice based on your life, not your surroundings.  There are things that I miss about both sides of the pond and I am still unsure about my choice but everyone is different.  But make sure you visit ‘back home’ before you take the plunge… things might have changed and your views might have changed too.

Any chance you will return?

This is something I am still seriously considering.  Stay tuned…

What have you noticed about American men in comparison to the UK guys (I asked this because  we get asked that a lot)

I am probably the worst person to answer this… but generally there are good, respectful men and the opposite in both countries.  Always remember to look at their family values… how did they grow up and how do they treat their mothers!!

Thanks so much!

(Thinking of making the move back to America yourself? You might also like this post)

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Christine May 19, 2011 at 10:06 am


    I’m currently living in East Yorkshire and being an American from New Jersey has been tough.  I myself moved for love too, so far so good, but I’m missing home so much.  My husband (a Hull man) (Cod head) lol…. loves America just as much and after being here for nearly 2 years now, we have decided its time to go back to the good old USA.  Kinda getting tired of walking  into a pub and everyone stares at you the moment your accent gives away that your “not from around here” also I miss my huge family back home.  Also, my american license that I have had since I was 16 (im 28 now) cant transfer to a UK license, so unfair and the test seems so hard to even try.

    I’m just so worried about the whole transfer of getting my Husband with me.  I did a little research online and basically it seems ill be travelling alone until I get my job sorted back home in order to apply for my Husband to come over, its so complicated.  Anyway, I saw you mentioned that you used a service to bring your stuff over.  The only things I want over is some wall hanging pictures, kitchen stuff, dvds, and loads of clothes I know will go way over when I take my flight home.    Was the service you used very expensive? 

    Cheers ;-)


  2. Marcia May 30, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Thanks Caroline – I’m so glad that I’m not alone and I’m sooo happy that I found this site! (by accident) LOL

    I have a few other expats here in Orlando that want to go back aswell, but don’t know where to start, so the feelings are mutual all around.

    I’m originally from Tottenham, but don’t plan to go back there or London to live.
    I want to find myself, love myself and start over. All my life I’ve been living for everyone else but me. I lost my identity when I left England and deserve to be happy in my last days. I’m actually quite looking forward to my new environment, walking all around the town, hoping on the buses, eating some comfort food, hanging out in the pub (even though I don’t drink liqor), getting 4 weeks of vacation right off the bat, saving some pounds and criss crossing all over France, Germany et al.

    When I need the comforts of home I can either head to London where my family and friends are or take a vacation back to America to see my kids. If they choose to visit they can, but they’re not staying with me permanently. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone but me.
    After all I’ve waited 20 plus years for this. Maybe I’m selfish but I would like to be happy and carefree for once in my life!!

    I will be checking back in on this site as time goes by :-)

    BTW I’ve also joined a dating site to see what my options are when I get there! (LOL)

  3. Parakeet May 4, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    It’s very hard to move “back ‘home’” when you’ve lived abroad anywhere for a long time. It takes time and adjustment… be sure not to expect yourself to get used to your old “home” right away. I think you’ll always miss pieces of different places no matter where you are.

  4. peacefulyorkshire April 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Karen, Congrats on the plunge!!

    How about a little something to get you excited:

    13 Little Reasons to Love Britain:

    Peaceful xx

  5. KAREN April 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    To Marcia and Caroline

    I am about to do it, after 20 years, I am booking the ticket today, and moving back to little Hitchin Hertforshire, and I am feeling sick as a dog, I hope I am doing the right thing. for all the exact reasons you stated. I am a 47 year old single parent with a four year old(yes she was a miracle and a hell of a shock) I need to hear as many great reasons to move back as possible please. as I know it will be so strange to be back in Jolly old england. I have a wonderful family waiting for us, so that is the one main reason, as I want my daughter to know the family. although I have many friend in the USA. I still hav ‘nt found what am looking for????

  6. Caroline April 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    This is actually a reply to marcia. I am in the same boat as you. I have lived here for 15 years and cant wait to go back. I am tired, stressed and overworked. I am moving in Feb of 2011 and my daughter cant wait to go with me. I have done a lot of thinking and have plan A, B and C just in case lol.

    I am lucky as my daughter (17) does not like it here and wants to move back.
    I agree with you on all aspects including the healthcare. I hope things work out for you and if I can help in anyway let me know. email me at [email protected]

  7. Michelle March 29, 2010 at 5:28 am

    It’s actually been proven by cross-cultural research that moving back home from your new country after being away 3 to 5 years or longer is actually a harder, longer personal adjustment than it was to move from home to your new country in the first place. It’s easier to move to another new country instead of back home.

    Also, once you have lived in a couple or more countries for a substantial period of time (usually 2 or more years), you find yourself not really fully belonging anywhere, for so many reasons. It’s hard. But it also gives one a great perspective on so many things, and you can better understand other expat/nomads, like yourself.

  8. Marcia March 26, 2010 at 6:58 am

    I plan to move back to England within the next 4 years (after my oldest son graduates from college or sooner if I have the motivation and or opportunity). Neither of my sons (the oldest or the youngest) are interested in living in the UK, both were born in NYC and prefer to go back there to live with Dad and Grandma.

    I was born in London and left there at 18 years old to join my mother in
    Brooklyn, NY. I’m currently living in Orlando, Florida and still have some friends and family in London.

    After much research I have decided upon Eastbourne/East Sussex.
    Although I’ve never been there; my spirit is telling me that this is the place. (LOL)
    My intentions are to go back to nursing school in Orlando and work in the Healthcare field when I move there.

    I’ve been in America for over 20 years and have nothing to show for it, besides dark circles under my eyes, mounds of bills and stress to kill. I’ve been working since I was 18 years old and still can’t save enough money to purchase a house in cash!
    There is no guarantee that Social Security will be around when I retire in America and need to accumulate some sort of nest egg for peace of mind.

    I can afford to pay for health insurance out of my paycheck, but can’t afford to go to the doctor or get the prescriptions (It’s a damn shame!!) Let’s not even talk about the Emergency Room visits and co payments for a hospital procedure and an overnight stay!!

    I haven’t had a vacation in 4 years and even if I did have the vacation time saved up (because you have to work the necessary hours to be awarded vacation time) you can not use more than 2 weeks out of that time at one time. Then you have the case of the seniority issue. Folks that have worked at the company the longest get to choose when they go, leaving you with the choice of sloppy seconds, thirds and fourths! (LOL)

    I’m approaching 40 years old and I need to change my surroundings to become a better me.

    My British passport has expired, so I guess the first order of business would be to get that bad boy renewed, then find out what the US and UK immigration law allows (pertaining to returning residents et al)

    If I can find a job in the Healthcare environment, that will assist me with housing/accomodation when I relocate, then “Bob’s Your Uncle”! (as we Londoner’s say)

    Now where do I start?????? ;-) )

  9. FLARE March 9, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    i left america for political reasons. i always think about moving back to america, but each day it seems less and less likely, especially with all the new rules going on there. i guess america had always been authoritarian now that i think about it, but it is just gone too far now. i cant believe they are arresting people for going in through the airport exits now. people are just getting locked up left and right. there are alot of things and people i miss about america, but i just dont see a future for america.

  10. Pingback: Where do you start when you want to move to America? | She's Not From Yorkshire

  11. Lisa B, Tidworth, Wiltshire December 18, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Hi, I met a british soldier whilst he was on adventure training in yosimite in 2001. We fell in mad love and got married very quickly. Within four months of meeting I found myself confused, alone and living in Tidworth, Wiltshire England (my visa and move over here is a whole other story, let me know if you want to hear it).

    My husband was then posted to Kosovo for a 6 month tour and I was on my own. OMG, I had to find a job and as I didnt have a clue on distance and area it was a distressing challenge to say the least, not to mention every time I hit a roundabout I had no idea if I was heading south/north/east or west, lol. 30 miles in the UK is nothing like traveling 30 miles in the states and thats a fact! It did get easier though and now I am a profficient driver and know my areas very well. The fact I didnt have to worry about health insurance was so strange (you just dont have the same worries over here as you do in America) I can’t tell you how weird and difficult it was for me to learn how to drive on the tiny streets (every time I passed a Lawry/truck I thought for sure I was going to die, lol).

    I have now lived with a British soldier for 9 years and it has been a challenge for sure. There are so many experiences I would love to share with you but I will keep it to the topic. My husband is retiring from the Army soon and like so many other ‘pro-America Brits’ my husband has fantasized about living in America. Me, I would definately prefer UK, I absolutely love my British in-laws. I am a very easy-going individual and really I dont mind flexing to his dream, so here we are looking to move back. Where do you bloody start?

    We would love to pick the state and start the dream but the reality of the current down turn means I must find a job first. So where/how the heck do you start? I have two cats and a 17 year old and a 6 year old. I will go ahead of my husband so that we have a constant income. I am looking to move towards the end of 2010 any useful advice?

  12. BigApplePie August 20, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Hi All,
    Just wanted to reply to ‘andrea’ and others… I did get my dog ready to travel, under the PETS scheme, however I was only required to bring a health certificate to the airport. I couldn’t believe it. However, the paperwork to enter the UK is absurd and having PETS is a dream come true. I would recommend and dog/cat that will travel internationally to carry the PETS passport, as it is proof of all injections, especially the rabies.

  13. Steve Shawcross August 16, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Again another excellent observation Redlilocks! You’re quite right in saying: “I think a lot of Brits think all the streets in the US are paved in gold and sunshine”

    Sadly for the UK, there is a lot of truth in that. According to the UN, the USA has the 15th highest standard of living in the world– whereas the UK is at 21st ranking…

    Maybe we’re all better off moving to Canada ;)

    • yankeebean August 17, 2009 at 7:12 pm

      I think I could rock a blog called ‘She’s Not From Vancouver’… who’s with me?

  14. Redlilocks August 15, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    What an incredibly interesting post! I have been asked many, many times if I would move back to the States and my answer is always, ‘Honestly? No!’ because I really have come to love it here… (which is always met with quizzical looks and ‘OH MY GOD, WHY NOT?!’ because I think a lot of Brits think all the streets in the US are paved in gold and sunshine!) However, I think there’s a part of me that thinks there may be a point in time that I’ll want to return and actually scares me. Maybe even more scared of my original move to the UK because I wasn’t EXPECTED to fit in straight away but moving back to the States, after being away for so long – would I still fit in? Would I have to re-learn being ‘American’ as BigApplePie did? So thought-provoking. I really wish BigApplePie the best of luck in her move back home and remember that all our experiences make us who we are so embrace those little unique ‘Britishisms’ because after all, that’s who you are now :)

  15. Peter Bond August 14, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Oh I recognise this so much. A few years ago I moved back for family reasons. I knew it would be a temporary stay, and it lasted for about 9 months but it was quite a learning experience. I had never actually been a householder in America before and I just didn’t know how things are organised. and many of the things I thought I i knew didn’t apply any more.

    I realised that I had come to associate my old home town with carefree memories from my youth and holidays, and reality is a bit different. I also became much more aware of the debt of gratitude I had to my wife and her family for making my move to London much easier for me than I had ever realised.

    But it was a great experience overall and good to have a boost of “Americanism”.

  16. andrea August 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I just want to clarify one thing – to move a pet BACK to the US you do not have to have PETS or wait 6 months. We moved back this year with our 2 cats and all it requires is up to date rabies, and even that varies by state. If you plan on returning to the UK then you want to keep your PETS passport up to date. And that process, which we also did moving over to London, actually takes 7 months from start to finish.

  17. yankeebean August 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    WHAT AN AWESOME POST!!! I love the interviews you do, Peacefulyorkshire…

    This has seriously gotten me thinking…

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