How to to move to a new city and conquer it

Have you been dreaming of moving to a new city? Perhaps you visited somewhere whilst on holidays and felt like it was ‘the one”. But then the fear kicks in and you think….How am I going to make friends? How am I going to find a place to live? How am I going to find a job? 

At the age of 21, I made the decision to pack up my bags and move to a completely different city for my career. At the time I was still living at home, had no ideas about gas bills, rent or setting up my internet, plus I was leaving my family, friends and then-boyfriend to go to a place where I knew no-one.

As I celebrate 5 years of living in a different city, here’s some advice from someone who’s been there before:

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Embrace being uncomfortable.

When was the last time you didn’t know a single person where you lived and worked? It’s probably back when you started school for the first time. As we get older, we get used to our routines and things we know, which means we are normally not used to discomfort. Accept that it will suck at first; you’ll feel lonely, homesick, question your actions. But embrace it and stick it out.

Land a job (pretty essential)

You may be in the minority of already being at a company that you love that will let you transfer or work online. But for most of us, you’ll need to land a job. Do your research, look for companies in your field and send your resume to their HR team, reach out to recruiters on Linkedin to try to schedule some phone interviews before you arrive, talk to your network in your home town to see if they have any contacts that they can introduce you to - basically you have to hustle.

Personally I accepted a job before I moved over, but if you want to go without, make sure you’re financially prepared and have a couple of months worth of rent and living expenses saved up.

Say yes to everything

A line of advice I received a lot before moving. It means; if someone invites you to a coffee, drink, lunch etc - say yes (and this is coming from an extreme introvert that froths over sitting with her cat and partner at home on a Saturday night).

You’ll encounter people through work, your gym, your local café. Who knows? But if someone initiates a conversation, play it cool and be open to chat. It’s freaking hard to make friends as an adult, and they may not be your bff soul mate, but it’s good to put yourself out there and show that you’re making the effort.

Plus if you’re a single gal, dating in general and meeting people on dating apps will help you meet new people that could become great friends (and your one true love if you’re lucky).

Meet people that can become lifelong buds

Building on the previous point… with friends you now get a clean slate. You are no longer stuck in the same group from high school where you actually don’t have much in common anymore except for the fact you knew each other when you were younger.

You get to consciously choose your new friends based on having the same interests and mindsets as one another. You also get to see who your real friends are from back home – the people that you put the most effort in to remain in contact (this doesn’t mean just liking someone’s Instagram photo) and that it’s reciprocated. The friends that I still have from home are like my sisters - I adore and admire them - and even if we go for weeks or months without talking, when we do catch-up it’s like nothing has changed. And my friends who I have in the new city, they are my support network, my crew. I would be lost without them.

Feel out the suburbs

Don’t really know which suburb to live in? Can you go beforehand and suss the situation and get the feel? If not, try to do a short term lease via Flatmates or similar. When I moved, I randomly chose a neighbourhood I had heard of, and when looking at Google Maps, it looked pretty close to my work. Turns out it  was over an hour of commute to get to work due to traffic (thanks Melbourne).

Get a fitness routine that you’ll actually stick to

Find a studio, gym or get on Classpass. When you move to a new city, you need a distraction sometimes from feeling homesick. Creating a positive and healthy routine will be great for your mental health (think of the endorphins!) plus you might be able to meet some people that are from your new area.

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Get to know your local neighbourhood

Life is much easier when you know your hood. Once you have moved in to your ideal location it’s time to explore. Go for a walk and find your local grocery store, café (cos we need all the coffee), laundry, hairdresser, beauty spot etc. This will make it start to feel more like home.

Explore the city

Dedicate time to explore and get to know your new city. I’m a foodie, so I jumped on Broadsheet for the best restaurants, bars and cafes, plus you can suss out events on in your area. Start following some guides or websites on Facebook or Instagram, so you can keep up to date with the latest action and attend.

Celebrate the small wins

You’ve just moved to a new city, you don’t know anyone, but you’re doing it. Celebrate the little things (woo I just bought a fridge!, yay I’m brave enough to have brunch by myself!). This is a chance to be genuinely yourself and to create the life that you want to live. Come at life with a positive attitude and get ready for the new experiences and new people in your life.