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Ali Malecka was living her ideal post-college life in New York City. She had a dream job with a luxury travel company, an apartment in the East Village and plenty of friends whom she spent her nights and weekends with frequenting buzzy restaurants and bars.

“I loved everything about New York,” said Malecka, 25, who is originally from Darien, Conn. “The people, the energy, the food. I couldn’t ever imagine leaving.”

Then COVID-19 hit and her perspective quickly changed.

After four months of lockdown, Malecka and her two college friends were itching for an escape. The trio decided to head to Charleston, SC, where they had attended the College of Charleston.

They moved into a three-bedroom apartment in downtown Charleston on the top floor of a 19th-century home and now have no plans to leave.

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