Today, I’m going to talk a bit about a topic that I haven’t talked about much on this blog. I have crossed the two-and-a-half-year mark of living in Denmark and I figured it was time to reflect on how it is living in the little Nordic country after living my entire life living around Dallas, Texas. First, though, I want to outline why I decided to leave Texas. In a follow-up post, I will discuss “Why Denmark?” and reflect on how the last few years have been.

Why Leave Texas?

Most people aren’t surprised at why anyone would leave the United States, but I think it’s useful to list some of the big reasons. Because I have a terrible memory I will be referencing notes that I made in May 2021. Be warned, many of these notes are political but I just can’t avoid political topics because it does have a large influence on my decision to leave.


I don’t have a high opinion of public education in Texas. Guess which kinds of schools are WAY less likely to have a school shooting? Private Schools. While I very much had the means to send my child to private school since I had a very high-paying job, the prospect of raising my child in a drastically different environment than the majority of her peers felt extremely gross and classist. And having to pay to feel like your child is relatively safe just seems crazy. It seems broken. This isn’t even considering the extremely low resources that many public schools have to do their job of educating children. This doesn’t match my values.

Health Care

Even for wealthier families, a serious health condition can lead to financial ruin. The United States ties health insurance with your job. So you have to be working to get good health insurance. Many medical conditions can prevent you from working and it’s all too common for companies to shove you to the door when your health is declining. Some people might think that the system in the US is fine because Americans don’t pay as much taxes because of it. However, the United States spends significantly more than other nations on health care, many of which have public health care. This doesn’t match my values.

Abortion and Contraceptives

Laws against abortion were starting to take shape when we were making our decision. I feel like women and girls deserve health care and autonomy over one of the most impactful processes that happens to their bodies. I was set on leaving Texas for this reason because I have a daughter and I feel strongly that raising a daughter with these kinds of laws is wrong. More and more states have added their own laws against abortion after the overturning of Roe v. Wade and now it looks like it has become a national issue… This doesn’t match my values.


I am not religious and I feel like I don’t share the same values and beliefs as most people in Texas or the United States. While there is a growing “non-religious” demographic in the United States I still feel surrounded by those who don’t share my values.

Source: Gallup

Source: Gallup

Work-life balance

Work-life balance is generally awful in the States. Even for high-paying jobs, it is nearly impossible to get the same amount of paid time off as you get by law in many European countries. It is very common to be expected to work way more than is reasonable and work even when you’re “a little sick”. Pregnant women are often expected to work until the day they give birth and return to work soon after birth. And it’s absolutely crazy that we solve the wrong problems. For example, many “lactation room” where working women who have recently been pregnant have a place to pump milk, out of view from others. This outlines so many societal issues for me.

While I do have a high work ethic, life is more than work. The work culture of the United States in general doesn’t match my values.


The United States has a lot of homeless people. There’s an adaptation that many people develop when living in a large city in the US where you just stop seeing homeless people. They’re still there, but your subconscious mind will actively prevent you from registering that the person is there. This appears to be the only way for people to get through their day. It’s sad. This doesn’t match my values.

Here’s some related data provided by OECD. According to this data, the United States has a poverty rate of 18%. With this data, Denmark is very close to the best with 4.8%.

Source: OECD

Source: OECD

Car Culture

How most cities are designed in the US is insane. Cars are a required item that everyone has to own. This has a lot of impacts on day-to-day life but there are two I want to focus on here. The age that a kid feels truly autonomous in the United States is age 16 when you can get a driver’s license and start driving yourself places. Let’s ignore the classism where I assume that every 16-year-old has parents who can afford to buy each of their kids a car. It is also so easy to not think of other cars around you in traffic as people. Everyone is separated by glass and metal. I feel like this subtracts from social cohesion and may be a much more causal part of many other societal ills that the US has.

I am, in fact, a fan of this newer wave of urban planners like notjustbikes and Strong Towns.

Anyway, just listing all the ways that car culture harms people can be the topic of several posts. But for now, let’s just say that the over-reliance on cars doesn’t match my values.

Gun control

Gun ownership is deeply ingrained in American culture. I think that’s actually fine. Guns can be fun and in some cases, useful. But having NO control over who gets to access deadly firearms is lunacy. And I don’t think Americans can fully understand how off-base Americans are on this until they’ve lived in a country with strong gun control. Danish people will randomly set off fireworks. Sometimes in the middle of the day when there’s nothing to see. They do it as part of protests and leading up to New Year’s you will constantly hear random fireworks being set off all over the city. And then you realize that NO ONE hears these noises and immediately think “Active shooter, get to cover!” I no longer react to random fireworks this way because I have healed from this trauma that I never knew I had. The gun laws in the United States don’t match my values.


I hate the Texas heat. It’s only bearable due to massive amounts of air conditioning. Due to unstable arctic weather, Texas can also get quite cold, causing some notable problems in the state.

That said, I do have one more issue with extreme Texan weather…

My house was hit by a tornado in 2019. Since my wife was traveling out-of-state visiting relatives at the time I was home alone with our six-month-old daughter. It was a terrifying experience. The house was damaged but was repairable so our family lived out of an apartment for half a year while the house was repaired. It was a hard time for me and I have since experienced extreme anxiety when severe storms happen, which is pretty often in Texas. I was close to seeking a therapist to try to help with anxiety, but, luckily, the reaction has faded in time. I know it’s impossible to avoid all kinds of extreme weather but I am done living in tornado alley.

Climate Change

I’m not sure how much I need to talk about here. Many Americans just refuse to accept that their lives may have to change to reduce their CO2 emissions. I think it takes a well-informed population to hold companies accountable for their externalities and to make a series of small sacrifices that will end up doing less harm to our environment. I think Americans are actively misinformed in this regard. Some effects of climate change are happening now. It’s making some areas of the United States impractical to live in already and this is only the beginning. I want to live in a society that cares about the world they live in. Again, it’s absolutely insane that I have to say this.

Summing Up

Leaving Texas was a deeply personal decision, driven by a desire for a society that better aligned with my values and aspirations for my family’s future. While the Lone Star State holds cherished memories, family and countless opportunities, the challenges I’ve outlined ultimately outweighed the benefits.

But amidst the disappointment and frustration, a glimmer of hope emerged – the prospect of a fresh start in a land known for its progressive policies, strong social safety net, and emphasis on well-being.

Next week you can join me in the next installment of this series, where I’ll delve into the factors that drew me to Copenhagen, Denmark, and share the joys, struggles, and unexpected lessons learned during my first two years abroad. Will Denmark prove to be the “greener pastures” I was looking for? Stay tuned to find out.