Life Lessons

This Is What Happens to Your Brain When You Leave the U.S.

How my habits changed within a month of leaving America

Anastasia Frugaard
ILLUMINATION-Curated
6 min readJun 8, 2024

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Photo by Kaylah Matthews on Unsplash

My life took a turn this year, and I was forced to re-evaluate many aspects of it, from my marriage to the country I called home. I was lucky enough to be able to come to England for a few months to have my mid-life crisis in London, the best city in the world.

Here, I can cry on the bench while drinking cider. I can visit free museums just because I need to pee. And I can pet goats (for free) while fantasizing about living on a farm. Where else can you watch sheep shearing with the background of corporate buildings? Or drink beer while watching a theatre show. Welcome to my world.

While all of this was happening, I took time to observe how my brain and body reacted to not being in America. You might say that my city of Santa Monica, where Los Angeles meets the ocean, is not really America and you’d be right.

Yet it was as much of the United States as I could handle, and it had plenty going for it. From the homeless epidemic (nothing like starting your day off with a human turd in your alley) to traffic noise to the high levels of anxiety and hostility. We have it all!

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