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Moving

'The Crazy Reason I Picked Up and Moved'

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holding hands in new house

Ever get the urge to just take off? Well, sometimes people actually do it. Whether it's because of a life shift, random luck or just the need for a different scene, changing location can completely alter the course of a person's life.

So who are these people who make "crazy" moves -- and how did it work out for them? And why did they pull up stakes in the first place? Here, a handful share their stories.

Because of a busted knee

"I was living what some would consider the glamorous life of a Broadway performer, but after my third knee surgery, I realized that I dreaded going back to work. After many sleepless nights, I decided to leap into the unknown: moving onto a sailboat off the coast of North Carolina. A year of living on a ship brought clarity to my life. After that, I returned to my hometown of Houston, where I met my husband. We live in a lovely home that I would never have imagined ever being fortunate enough to own. I found what I was looking for -- all due to knee surgery." Michelle DeJean, Houston, TX

Because earthquakes shake things up

"Although I'd grown up in New York, I was working in West Hills, CA. Though I knew my house was on a fault line, I didn't think it would be a big deal. Well, after living in that house for only five months, it happened. My husband and I were asleep and felt a series of tugs and what sounded like a train roaring. Having never been in an earthquake before, I completely freaked out, even though it was a small one of 3.7. We immediately put our house right back on the market after that and moved to the East Coast. I remember thinking I'd rather be back in New York facing whatever than in a place where I felt totally out of control." Maria Vizzi, New York, NY

To serve royalty

"I was working as a personal trainer in New York City when, out of the blue, I was contacted about working as a holistic health coach for a member of the Moroccan royal family. Although the idea of moving my wife and kids to Morocco seemed scary, I reasoned it was only a year-long contract -- so why not try it out? A week later, we moved. We're still there, six years later." Christopher Warden, Rabat, Morocco

To get wayyyy over on the right side of the tracks

"I love the hustle and bustle of the city. But I decided it was time to move when our neighbor was stabbed directly across the street -- just feet from our living room. Within weeks, I rented out my house, packed up and moved to the country. Though I only shifted one digit in ZIP code, 92020 has people on heroin, and 92021 has people on horses. It's amazing how one event like that can change your whole perspective on where you live." Timothy Trudeau, El Cajon, CA

To dance my dream career

"As a ballerina, I found myself struggling to get a job in a U.S. ballet company, due to my Mexican citizenship. A mentor suggested I try auditioning in Europe, where immigration laws were more forgiving and I could get a work visa as long as I was offered a contract. So I packed my bags and traveled through Europe for four months looking for work, and miraculously an opportunity appeared in Vienna. Call it impulse or gut feeling, but whatever it was that made me have no fear to take off was right on. Had I been offered a job as a dancer in the U.S., I would not have had that incredible life experience." Gabriela Garcia, New York, NY

To trade city for island living

"I loved my neighborhood of Williamsburg in New York City. But when an invitation came to move to a tiny Caribbean island where my husband would work at a hotel, we decided to give it a try, because my husband longed for wide open spaces and to live near water. It's been a crazy adjustment, but I'm learning to lean into the slower pace. There's no Whole Foods, but the mangoes and fish are fresh. I don't think I can live here forever, but I know I won't regret taking the plunge." Dee Myers, St. Lucia