Let me tell you something: moving to a new city can be SCARY. At the exact same time, it’s exciting, thrilling, nerve-wracking, chaotic and wonderful. I’ve come to believe that the best things – and decisions – in life are bittersweet. I was recently asked what are my top tips for living life in a new city, whether as a recent graduate, for a job move or just to start over in a new place. I thought about it and asked some of my most trusted friends for their opinion and here’s my top five tips. I’m in no way, shape or form an expert but I have done my fair share of packing up and starting over so I hope I can help you in some small way if you’re looking to move or start your life over in a new place. Enjoy!
1. Say Yes – say yes to coffee dates and boat rides and trips to the museum and drinks with coworkers you don’t really know yet and to church community group and wine tastings and dinner parties and walks through the park and any and every opportunity you can, say yes.
2. Remember bravery and courage are always rewarded – getting off the plane or out of the car and unpacking your boxes and suitcases is scary and weird and freaky. I remember immediately thinking “what am I doing here!?!” My lovely blogger-friend turned real-life friend Rayne picked me up from the airport when I first moved to San Francisco and could probably see the panic/excitement/nervousness in my face. Her advice is crystal clear in my head, even today. She told me that being brave with your life and making courageous choices is always rewarded. Moving to a new city is brave and stepping out into the unknown is courageous. I had no idea what to expect but I remember when the advice finally came full circle. I found out six months later that two of my best friends, Aimee and Courtney, got jobs in San Francisco and were moving and it clicked. THIS is my reward! I moved across the country knowing no one and it was scary and weird and courageous and I truly believe I was rewarded for this big decision by having the girls move here.
3. Explore – walk and bike and move around your new city as much as you can. You will learn the lay of the land much better and faster and find amazing gems along your adventures. Try to explore as much as possible whether you are new to a place thousands of miles from home or thirty minutes away.
4. Give your city more credit – you most likely moved to a new place for a job or for school or to start over or start a family. All of these things are good. I want to encourage you to remember the place you moved is so much more than that though. If you stay in the “I only moved here for [XYZ reason]” mindset, you’ll never be able to fully grasp and comprehend how wonderful the place you live really is. Find lots of reasons to enjoy your new place. One easy way to do this is to dedicate time to writing down five things you enjoy about where you live each week. It’s a great practice to be thankful for where you’re at – and awesome source to look back on in a few months or years.
5. Pick up a hobby – this advice comes from my friend Zach and I wholeheartedly agree with him. If you don’t already have a hobby, moving to a new place is a great time to start one. This allows you to do something you like, meet new people and overall, become a more interesting person. Did you play tennis in high school? Join a league. Want to try out ceramics? Visit your local community center or art workshop galleries and sign up for a class. Trying to run a half marathon in a few months? There’s a running club for that – I guarantee it. Discover new hobbies or cultivate old ones in your new place – I promise that it will bring you joy and make you feel more at home in your new spot.
Lots of moving goodness in these blog posts:
My “I’m moving across the country in one week” post here
My first San Francisco post here
My “one year in San Francisco!” post here
My “two years in San Francisco!” post here
Image via Sycamore Street Press