These days, the imagined destinations of ever more people, particularly in the 'global South', are not where they were born but elsewhere. Using a case study of educated (lower) middle-class youth in Dhaka, this paper attempts to demonstrate that for many 'aspiring migrants', the yearning for leaving is a metaphor for disappointment and disengagement rather than the first step towards transnational migration. Economic growth, rapid urbanisation and the increasing investment in education infest the emerging urban (lower) middle-class youth with new 'modern' lifestyle desires that cannot be fulfilled in their home country and generate a sense of disengagement with Bangladesh. The paper focuses in particular on how the - culturally embedded - imaginations of foreign places link up to personal (re-)evaluations of local lives. Nearly all informants explained how local socio-economic, political and existential insecurities made them yearn for 'safe' places where their dreams could be fulfilled. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.