HOW I MAKE IT WORK...
IN HER EARLY 20s, THE JOURNALIST AND FORMER MODEL LEFT AUSTRALIA TO EXPLORE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES. NOW 36 AND RAISING A FAMILY IN THE US, SHE TALKS ABOUT CONQUERING LONELINESS AND EMOTIONAL DISPLACEMENT
Kathryn Eisman on loneliness in a new city.
There are enormous challenges when you move to a new country. Forget finding friends – first you have to adjust to a new landscape. When I moved to New York for a job, I was 21. I knew one person. I remember feeling the city was so hard… and I was so soft.
I don’t think I left the apartment for two days. I wasn’t ready for it. Your natural inclination is to stay home, but I learnt to force myself out of my comfort zone. The more often you do that, the more your world expands.
If things are hard or uncomfortable, people think they’re bad or they haven’t done them “right”. But the greatest things in my life, such as childbirth, have all been hard and uncomfortable. I’ve become more relaxed with that.
Learning the New York way of business was interesting. Everything is done yesterday; it’s incredibly cutthroat and straight to the point. It influenced my way of doing things more than any other place I’ve lived. As a result, I’m honest and a straight shooter who doesn’t believe in ambiguity.
I had to harden up and learn how to sell myself in New York, which didn’t come naturally to me as an Australian. So when I came home years later to be the face of Arena TV, I had to relearn how to do business again. A year and a half later I relocated to LA with my husband Siimon. Skill sets are transferable, but you still have to build everything else from scratch when in a new city. Ultimately, it’s empowering – you realise you could be dumped anywhere and find your way.
I’m close to my family; if anything can make me cry, it is the idea of spending years away from my parents. It wasn’t until I moved overseas that I realised I needed a friend in a way I never have before. I had a best friend in New York who was married when I was single. I never rented an apartment that wasn’t within walking distance, so I could join her family dinners. Now
Siimon and I are that couple to many of our friends in LA; I like the energy that other people bring into our home.
After becoming a mum in 2013 I felt a creative surge and more inspired professionally. I wanted to create a blog that celebrated a woman in totality. High Heel Jungle launches in the States later this month, but I wanted to unveil it here first. I’ve been away for so long, but I’m still Australian. I never want that to go away.