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An early career move out of the city for a healthier pace of life: producer and writer Simone Leon

Writer and Program Producer at Points North Institute in Camden, Maine

I’m excited to invite you to my conversation with Simone Leon, a writer, and film festival program producer living in Camden, Maine.

After attending film school, Simone was thrilled to land a job working for a major talent agency in Los Angeles. While she loved the people she worked with and the projects she got to assist on, the traffic, long hours, stress and pollution began to overwhelm her. Simone began dreaming of living a life on her own terms and moving to a place where nature was closer and local food was plentiful and affordable.

On a road trip to Seattle, she was touring The Elliott Bay Book Company and picked up a copy of Ditch the City and Go Country. It felt meant to be, the book spoke to all of the parts of her that were feeling unfulfilled and unhappy in her current trajectory. After reading the stories of others who left the city for the country on the Urban Exodus website, she felt emboldened to take the leap and build a life and career that was a bit slower pace outside of the city.

At 25, she left her job in the film industry and moved across the country to work as a talent/locations scout for a small creative workshop school. Even though it was a big pay cut, it was the perfect job to meet people and become familiar with her new home of Midcoast Maine. It was at this job that Simone met her partner Simon, a New York based musician working in the film department at the college during the summer season. After a brief stint long distance, Simon moved to Maine full time to be with Simone.

Simone is a classically trained guitarist

I met Simone in 2019 while teaching a course at the school where she worked. She has been a trusted freelance collaborator, assisting me on writing stories, planning workshops and producing podcast episodes. In addition to her freelance work, she works full time as a program coordinator for Points North Institute - a documentary film festival and launching pad for documentary filmmakers.

I am so grateful that our paths crossed because of Urban Exodus. Without Simone's encouragement and help I probably would’ve never had the courage to start this podcast. I look forward to future collaborations with this incredibly intelligent and hardworking woman and I look forward to seeing what Simone and her partner build for themselves here in Maine.

The fuel that feeds this passion project has been meeting people like Simone who have been inspired to take the leap to a healthier lifestyle because they found the website and were inspired/informed by the stories of others who had made positive changes in their lives.

Thank you Simone for sharing your story with us!


• Simon's music: @simonlinsteadt &

Simone and Simon on their back steps


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