Moving to a new city can be a difficult yet adventuresome experience. It can be easy to become overwhelmed and disoriented; however, you’ll find that your attitude toward your transplant to a new city will be your most important asset.
It can be a culture shock to move from what was once familiar to a completely new environment. Whether it’s from a small town to a big city or vise versa, no two cities are alike and each have their benefits and disadvantages. Large cities are bustling and vibrant with many career and education opportunities as well as offering city life and amenities. You can blend into the crowd and go incognito if you’d like. You can find your own cliques and micro-communities based on your interests. Big cities have a greater variety of social groups that you can seek out and eventually become a part of. On the other hand, smaller cities don’t have all of the amenities and opportunities but offer a closer-knit identity and community. They’re quieter with less traffic and often are surrounded by more wilderness to explore. They don’t have the fast-paced competitive city spirit, but you can enjoy quiet simplicity that big cities don’t provide.
When moving, keep a forward-thinking mindset and try not to spend too much time indoors. Don’t be afraid to get out and explore. What new things do you want to experience? What are you looking forward to? Make a checklist of everything your new city has to offer and note the things you’re most looking forward to checking out. Some people find it helpful to make an agreement with themselves to say “yes” to every opportunity that arises to get out of their home and try something new rather than spending all of their time indoors. Whatever it is that motivates you, hold yourself to it and be willing to step out of your comfort zone from time to time.
Find your bearings. Familiarity will be more difficult to come by when you’ve moved to a brand-new city. Start out by making a mental list of places that ground you in familiarity. Try going for a walk around your neighborhood every evening. Visit the local library once a week. Start out by familiarizing yourself with a small radius around your home, and as you become more familiar and comfortable slowly expand it until it stretches out several miles.
Meeting new people can be the hardest part of moving to a new place, although some people thrive at it. Regardless of your social aptitude meeting people can give you the strongest sense of belonging in your community. Having a sense of belonging is an important factor in finding happiness in your community. I’ve found the best opportunities to meet new people are through volunteering, working, and learning. Try signing up for an evening class at the local college. Put yourself out there by volunteering. Grab a beer with a co-worker after work. These are all great opportunities to meet new people.
Become a regular. This is a handy trick for finding both familiarity and meeting new people when you’re a new fish in the water. It’s great to try many different things your new city has to offer, but don’t forget to become a regular at the places that you really like. Maybe you’ve found a coffee shop or a grocery store that you particularly enjoy and decide to go there once a week. The idea is to frequent a place where you’ll start to run into regulars or get to know the people that work there. It will provide the familiarity and socialization that can really help when you’re in a new city.
Map out your next endeavor. Some cities have discovery maps at the local visitor centers. If yours doesn’t you can also use Google Maps. Find a new section of town that you’ve never been to before and plan a weekend around it. Don’t forget to explore it by bicycle or foot, not just by car. Mark your map each week to show the places you’ve seen and the places you want to check out next. Collect business cards, pictures, stickers, and souvenirs of the local establishments you like the most and want to return to. Set aside a small section of your wall at home to hang up a bulletin board with your map and souvenirs so that you can refer to it the next time you want to recall the places you’ve been. Have pride in the local establishments that make your new city unique and support them with your business.
And most important of all, remember to laugh! Moving to a new city can be awkward, uncomfortable, and sometimes downright depressing! It’s important to always remember to laugh and not take the experience too seriously. Cut yourself some slack if it takes you a long time to meet new people, or if everything isn’t meeting your original expectations. Moving isn’t always easy, but it can definitely be worth it.