VAN NUYS, Calif. – Ever since Megan Tritsch was a little girl, she’s wanted to live by the ocean or at least be closer to it than where she was living in northern Colorado.
“I’ve always wanted to live in L.A. or least in California because I love the ocean,” Tritsch said. “It’s like the whole dream. I want to be out there. I want to see famous people and I want to do this and that.”
When the pandemic hit, Tritsch was in her fifth year of teaching home economics to middle schoolers. “How am I going to teach cooking when we are all wearing masks and we are not allowed to be near each other and germs and all?” she said. “My head was spinning. And are we going to be go back to school in the fall? This seems chaotic. I hate doing online teaching.”
She started to think more about that California dream of hers to work in Hollywood. Tritsch had spent a few summers in L.A. working for comedian Adam Corolla and reached out to her old coworkers. It turns out a film production company in Glendale needed an office manager and Tritsch jumped at the chance to start working in the industry.
“We could get hit by a car or die from COVID and it makes you feel like I gotta do what I gotta do and I should do it now because I’m not getting any younger so that was one of the reasons,” she said. “I was like, OK, I’m going to give it all up – sell my place, pack it up and go.”
Her move to the Golden State comes at a time when many Californians are moving out. Joel Kotkin, a fellow in urban studies at Chapman University, says the trend of people leaving the state has already been going on for quite a long time and accelerated last year.
“For a lot of entry-level workers hospitality, tourism-related was always sort of the first thing you could get into and that’s been just decimated,” Kotkin said. “Second thing is that we’ve had a situation where the entertainment industry has been really hard hit by pandemic. Obviously, theaters aren’t open, that makes a big difference. So some of the sectors that would be driving growth have been reduced.”
A study from HireAHelper shows that since the pandemic, Los Angeles saw 70 percent more people move out than in and some of the reasons include losing a job or housing and not feeling safe due to the spread of COVID-19.
When Tritsch moved in June, many places were still open in northern Colorado where she lived and she didn’t even own a face mask until she made the move out west.
“I kept getting in trouble at every grocery store I went into because I would forget so the COVID thing didn’t scare me until I was actually here and seeing how serious people were taking it,” she said.
Since arriving in L.A., she has already experienced her first earthquake, smoky air from wildfires, and has found it hard to make friends.
“It’s been lonely. I mean, it would be nice to make some more friends when everything opens up,” she said. “Like bars are my jam. I sit at bars and that’s how you’re social with people. There is no bar so you sit at tables alone when you go out.”
But despite everything, Tritsch doesn’t regret her decision to move here.
“I think it’s been so worth it. I’ve always wanted to be here so yeah, I’ll make it work,” she said. “I don’t know if I will stay here forever but at least I can say I did it and what a better time to have done it.”