Coffee Talk: Why I’m Leaving Philadelphia

Striped Fiona Skirt, The Touraine Philly - Why I'm Leaving Philadelphia by popular DC blogger, Alicia Tenise

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It’s crazy how much things can change in one year, right? Just a little backstory if you’re new here: I’m a D.C. area native. I moved to Northern Virginia when I was 5, and moved out of the area for college. I didn’t necessarily think that I was going to move back to D.C. after I graduated from college, but I had a hard time finding a full-time job after I graduated from college, and I ended up moving back home to try to sort things out.

D.C. ended up growing on me, and I decided to stay for a few more years. It was a completely different experience for me to grow up in the D.C. burbs vs. being a young professional in the city, and I fell in love with my hometown yet again. There were a lot of good things about D.C.: the number of opportunities I had for both my old career and my blog was incredible, and there was always something fun going on in town. However, the fast-paced nature of the town and the high cost of, well, everything, started to wear me down.

I needed a change. I needed to get out of my hometown. I lived in Philly for two years during college, and I loved it. Rent prices are a lot lower, the food is incredible, and people just seemed a little more laid back. Last spring, I decided to pack up my entire life and make the move.

And here I am. A year later. And I’m moving yet again. Disclaimer: nothing bad happened to me when I was in Philly, and I don’t regret the move at all. Long story short, I just realized that it makes zero sense for me to live here, and it’s not the most beneficial for my career. Here’s why I’m packing my bags again, and where I’m headed to next.


Philly is Not the Ideal Place for a Full-Time Blogger

When I first started my blog, I lived in Richmond, VA. My blog was okay when I lived in RVA, but it didn’t really take off until I moved back home to D.C. The blog scene was more significant, national brands would stop in town to network with bloggers, and it was easy to network with folks and land my next partnership. The local PR firms would frequently put on events for influencers to check out the latest store openings, test out new menus, and check out anything else that was noteworthy in town.

Fast forward to my experience in Philly. I knew going into this move that my life would definitely be a lot slower, but I feel that the blog scene in Philly hasn’t taken off as it could have. There are dozens of talented bloggers in town who are putting out high-quality work (ex. Erica, Lindsey, Alex & Mike, etc.) However, national brands aren’t stopping by to host a lot of activations, and I think that the local PR firms don’t really know how to partner with influencers for projects/activations. Not to mention, so many local brands don’t understand that influencers deserve to be compensated fairly for their time.

On a positive note, it has been very easy for me to get to D.C. and NYC while living here, and if I get a really good opportunity in either one of these cities, I won’t hesitate to hop on a train/bus to take advantage of it. However, between travel blogging and heading out of town for networking events, I’m hardly ever at home. 

A Few Long-Distance Relationships

I was single the entire four years that I lived in D.C. (after my college graduation). I almost started an anonymous dating blog to share some of the most ridiculous Tinder dates I had been on during my time in the District. And then, I took a trip to Charlottesville a few weeks before moving to Philly and met a guy. That guy ended up becoming my boyfriend. We just celebrated our one year anniversary last week. 

Luckily, because I’m a full-time blogger and my boyfriend is a full-time photographer, we can see each other often. He has a lot of photoshoots in NYC, so he’ll swing by my apartment a few days before or after his shoots. It’s easy for me to bring him on my travel blogging partnerships. However, it has been draining for both of us to be away from home for prolonged periods of time to see one another. 

Not only does my boyfriend live in Virginia, but my mom does as well. My mom was not happy when I first decided to move to Philly. I’m an only child, and she’s a single parent, so we have a pretty tight bond. I can honestly say she’s my best friend, and I love her more than anything. I enjoy spending time with her, and I can’t wait to move back closer to home so I can hang out with her more often.

I Travel Way Too Much

Last year was the first year I was able to blog full-time. When I worked my old 9-5, I had limited PTO, so I wasn’t able to take advantage of travel blogging like I wanted to. However, now that I can work from anywhere, I’m more inclined to pick up and go.

On average, between visiting my boyfriend, going to DC and NYC for events, and heading out on travel blogging assignments, I’m usually away from my apartment 2-3 weeks out of the month. I’ve had people tell me to list my place on Airbnb at this point because it’s absurd how often I’m not at home. To be honest, while being on the road a lot is fun, it’s also draining, physically and mentally. By moving back to Virginia, I’ll be closer to my family and my BF, and on the road a bit less.

Don’t Get Me Wrong: Philly is an Awesome City

Listen: I have zero regrets about moving. I don’t consider my move to Philly to be a mistake, and I’ve had fun during my time here. The food here is incredible, I loved the laid-back vibe, and not having a car for a year has been amazing. I’m going to miss my neighborhood Mexican food spot and BYOBs once I leave. It’s a charming city that has a lot to offer. I’m also slowly but surely putting together my Philly Travel Guide for all of you who want to visit. I have two months left in Philly, and a ton of spots I want to hit up before the big move. I’ll miss some of these charming places in town, and I plan on visiting after I move!

Where to Next?

I can’t 100% answer that right now, because I’m still figuring that out myself. But, it will be in Virginia. Stay tuned!

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