By Raina Naidu
Moving to a new city is almost like reinventing yourself, starting from a blank canvas.
It’s an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, force yourself into situations you wouldn’t normally be in and completely trust your intuition.
I have been travelling since I was 18 and moved to my first new city when I was 21. It started in London, then Paris, back to Brisbane and then to my new home, Melbourne.
The idea of moving can be terrifying, leaving routine and comfort to start from scratch. Stresses from making new relationships, or maintaining existing ones, finding a new job, house, gym, eyebrow lady and the list continues.
Although the thought can be weighing, all my moves have been valuable life experiences. I’ve made wonderful relationships, had amazing opportunities, seen parts of cities I never thought I’d experience and, most importantly, learnt so much about myself and what I am capable of.
Through my travels, I have picked up some tricks that have made each transition easier but also life skills that I’ve been able to utilise in other aspects of my life.
Despite the current border closures, I hope these insights assist in preparing for a move or encourage you to take a leap into the great unknown!
MAKE TIME FOR YOUR EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS
It can take a while for new friendships to develop. Initially you may feel lonely and miss seeing those comforting faces you’re used to. The key is to schedule routine facetime calls with those from home so you still feel close and supported. In some ways I got closer to those existing relationships by setting aside uninterrupted time to talk. Often this was rare to coordinate with family and friends whilst living in the same city.
MAKING NEW RELATIONSHIPS
Making new friends as an adult can be challenging as most people after a certain age have their fixed friendships, however there are many ways you can put yourself out there to meet new people.
The most effective one for me was going along to any social gathering I got invited to, whether it was work related, family, friends or being a plus one. I met so many people from all over the world and grew confidence to approach people and initiate conversations.
Other methods that helped included joining gym classes, reaching out to facebook friends that had connections, joining facebook groups, and leaning on roommates. There’s also a heap of great apps now for finding like-minded people.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME AND GO ON YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
Moving can be exhausting and emotionally draining as you’re trying to get settled as soon as you can. Remember it’s a gradual process and be sure to take care of your mind and body as you go. Indulge in those things that give you comfort, like getting a massage, reading a book, going for walks and shopping!
Also, don’t wait for people to do things with, go on your own adventures and explore. One thing London taught me was to love my own company. From my own adventures, I learnt my surroundings quicker as well as found new things that made me happy.
Try to keep packing as light as possible and build up when you get to your new city. It was easier to get settled with limited belongings but also, as your lifestyle changes, you’ll notice your taste may shift also, so great to fill your space with new findings to start building an environment that reflects your new life.
It is very common to move apartments more than once and having limited belongs makes the move a lot easier.
HAVE A LIST
Whether it’s a permanent move or temporary, make a list of goals for your new city, from things to do, places to see, classes to take or restaurants and bars to visit. This will help you get settled as you get familiar with your location.
As you gradually work through your list, you may find it will get bigger as you start to grasp the city, try sharing with a friend and create a Google Doc so you both can experience new things and places.
WALK AND USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
The quickest way to learn any new city is to use public transport or walk, this will force you to get familiar with street names, monuments, stations, and parks.
Most cities have great apps to help you navigate around and learn your way, Citymapper was my saviour in London and Paris.
These were my key findings that really helped when moving to a different city. I highly recommend anyone thinking about making a move to just do it! Each city taught me the most valuable life lessons that have positively impacted all areas of my life (including finding my Italian partner Luca!)