What do you do when you’re unhappy and unsure about your future?
Well, you buy a one-way ticket to NYC that’s what!
Today, I am interviewing Karla Ortiz!
I am so happy to have her on Zayda.Blog as we continue to interview women who are interesting, inspiring, going after what they want and are beautiful inside and out!
Karla was born in Mexico City and raised in Houston, TX (which she calls home)! She has a deep love for recycled fashion. She curates and re-designs vintage clothes while promoting conscious consumerism. (Check out one of her before and afters below.)
A few months ago, something unexpected happened to Karla that turned out to be the straw that broke the camels back! So she bought one-way ticket to NYC (even though she’d never been).
Today, she is going to share her story!
Zayda: Hi Karla! Can you tell us a little bit about what led you leave your home for NYC?
Karla: The beginning of 2016 was very difficult for me. I was not in a good place. I was lacking motivation. I wasn’t enrolled in school at the time, because the programs offered at UH (University of Houston) didn’t seem worth the debt. Not to mention the very limited options for anyone pursuing a degree in Costume/Production Design. I was working a corporate job, to pay bills, while trying to decide what to do with my life. I had no ambitions and felt trapped in a place that no longer inspired me. Everything was repetitive, and it was driving me crazy.
How did I fall into a routine so young?
In April, my car flooded. I was only sad until my compensation check came in the mail. Immediately (literally) and with no prior meditation, I bought a one-way ticket to NYC. When I say I did not think this through, I cannot express how little I thought about how I would survive, how I would tell my parents/friends. But I was determined to get out of Houston, and have a fresh start in a new city. A bit drastic, but I was certain that whatever I was looking for, I would not find in such a familiar place.
Zayda: You make it sound so easy to pick up and go! Is it?
Karla: Yes and No.
I wasn’t happy in Houston, but I was way too comfortable to do anything about it. I had zero motivation, and I began adopting bad health habits. Stability turned into Monotony.
Moving to a different city, with no job prospects, or a familiar face to guide me around the city definitely intimidated me. A month before I moved, I began to doubt myself, a lot. But I could not back out, with ticket in hand and after I had announced to my boss I was leaving haha. I also told my mom, and my best friend who were very supportive, and that only reassured me I was doing the right thing.
No, It’ wasn’t easy leaving my childhood friends, family and my pets (my dog Achilles, and my cat Luna). I also left my shop behind, my pride and joy! But I knew I had to try, for the sake of adventure!
Zayda: You say you didn’t have any premeditated plans. How did you sort life’s logistics? Like work, school, a place to live? How did you make it work?
Karla: I applied to FIT(Fashion Institute of Technology) when I was still in Houston and continued to apply after my move. I was just overwhelmed with all the options/opportunities. I ended up getting into FIT. I decided to go back to the basics; I wanted to polish my sewing skills, so it only seemed adequate to pursue a Certificate in Haute Couture. (The most exquisite, advanced sewing techniques are learned here). Once I complete the certificate, I will resume my Costume design Bachelor’s.
Job hunting was a bit stressful, I began with an agency, but finding a job through them was taking too long, and I was running out of money.
Towards the end of November, I found my job on Craigslist haha. I work at a law firm in Manhattan, and I can honestly say it is one of the best jobs I’ve ever had!
I live in Bushwick (Brooklyn). The first time I visited this neighborhood, I knew this is where I wanted to live.
My place is next to a jam room (perks: live music), bars walking distance from my place, cute coffee shops, thrift shops. It’s perfect! Especially because I have two amazing roomies (Argentinian and Colombian). They make every day interesting. We go from rooftop, wine nights and deep conversations, to dancing salsa in the living room.
The biggest challenge have been financials.
At the moment, I don’t qualify for free tuition until next semester, and rent is crazy expensive here, so needless to say this year has been financially difficult.
I’ve never been this broke in my life, but I’ve also never been this happy!
Zayda: Advice for anyone who is looking to take a risk like you did?
Doing something drastic in your 20s is the best thing you can do for yourself. It gives you a different perspective in life, a stronger sense of self. Moving a thousand miles away and detaching myself from all my material possessions, is helping me become the best version of myself.
It will be exactly a year next month since I moved here, and in such short period of time, Brooklyn is becoming my second home. NYC is such a stimulating city. I’ve met people from all over the world. My relationship with family and friends back in Houston is stronger than ever. It is the best thing I’ve ever done!
Thank you so much, Karla! I really hope that her experience helps any of you who have been tip toeing around the idea of starting something new. Give it a shot! It’s good for growth and for the soul.
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