“Do you just enjoy moving?” my Dad asks in a bemused tone, a smirk on his face. I’m sitting in my Dad and Stepmom’s kitchen, in Northern California discussing my future plans to move East over Saturday breakfast. My Stepmother (and hero) joins in on my defense, “Well, I think it’s a great idea!”. And my Dad once again rolls his eyes because he doesn’t know what to do with me and my pilgrim soul.
I smile and eat my pancakes. And though I appreciate my stepmother’s support and my father’s eventual acceptance. My Dad’s question stays with me after the pancakes and smell of the griddle and bacon are gone.
Do I enjoy moving? In the last 6 years I’ve moved 10 times to and from (and around) the Pacific Northwest. I’ve moved for school, work, family. Each move has been unique and taught me about myself and life, in general. I’ve met amazing people, had incredible life altering experiences and have seen some of the most beautiful places the world has to offer. In a way I grew up moving around the Pacific Northwest, it was my initiation into adulthood. I can’t encourage moving enough to people wanting to grasp a better understanding of the world and themselves.
And yet, moving is far from easy, even with the excitement of new adventures.
So, for the first time mover or modern day vagabond veteran; Here are 7 things I’ve learned from moving and having to start over again (and again and again):
#1: The simplest circumstances can lead to the most extraordinary ones.
You never know what a spur of the moment invitation or a new found connection can lead to. I once found a beautiful new apartment the day after I started looking because a customer I had gotten to know at work straight up asked me if I was looking for a place or knew of anyone who was!
#2: Be open.
To new people, new activities, new opportunities. Some of my fondest memories are from when I first moved to Washington and said yes to activities or events I would never had done previously, like thirty mile overnight cycling trips or ecstatic Sunday morning dance classes (yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds).
#3: Find a few routine practices to keep yourself grounded and stick to them.
Moving can be a lot, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Be gentle with yourself and while you soak in all the new give yourself the gift of a little predictability. Keep your daily workout routine. Find an incredible neighborhood or park and go for a walk in the evenings, sign up for a weekly dance class or adopt a new coffee shop for your Sunday mochas.
#4: Go to the social gatherings! Seriously.
You just moved to a new place and unless you plan on magically making friends in your bedroom you’ll need to get out there to meet people. I highly recommend looking into groups on meetup.com, asking around to see it any of your friends have connections in your new area (this is where social media can be awesome) or attending an open mic night.
#5: Give yourself time.
Give yourself time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and unfortunately neither will your new life. Truthfully, I’ve found it takes about a year to feel fully settled in a place. There will be days you just want to give up, pack up and move back home. Don’t sell yourself short! For every down day there are plenty of more beautiful ones just waiting for you. Remember that whatever the event, circumstance or mood, “this too shall pass”. Seriously make this your mantra, it works wonders.
#6: Explore Solo
One of my favorite activities to do in new cities is to take myself out on a date. Don’t wait for future friends or until your next Bumble date. Go now. Soak it in and enjoy that you can do whatever you want without having to ask for someone else’s input. You want to spend 6 hours at the art museum or an afternoon getting lost and trying out different ice cream spots? Go for it. Who’s stopping you? Plus, people are more likely to strike up a conversation with someone on their own so there’s more of a chance you’ll actually make friends while being out by yourself.
#7: You never know who your new best friends are.
Say yes to the roommate who offers to show you around town or the classmate who invited you out to coffee to go over notes. Don’t worry if you aren’t braiding each other’s hair and divulging secrets about past lovers over drinks the first night. It takes time to build trust and create a friendship groove. Trust the process. And give people more than one chance. Your new soulmate friends are never as far away as you think. I can truthfully attest that two of my closest friends, in all the universe, started out as roommates that I worried about becoming friends with. Hahaha! Wrong! (Sup, Ladies).
So, don’t worry too much. Embrace the process, remember why you’re doing this and know that you’re not alone.