Do you feel stuck in a rut on the same old streets? Bored of all the same sights, sounds and people that you encounter every single freaking day? Are you ready for a challenge and a new lease on life? Maybe you need a new city too.
Moving to a new city isn’t as hard as it sounds, though it can be a daunting premise if you have never moved before or don’t know anyone else who has either. But it can be done, and easier than you think. I have up and moved to Austin, Maine, Paris, Seattle, New Zealand and Los Angeles in my life so far, rarely with anything sorted before I arrive. You don’t have to have a job, a place to live or a circle of friends in the new city either, although these things certainly never hurt.
Are you dreaming of new faces, different places and strange city streets to explore? Here’s your quick guide to moving to a new place.
- Decide on a city. You may have known your whole life that you want to live in New York City, or you may only know that you need to get the heck outta Dodge and soon. What cities have always captured your imagination but you never dared dream to live there? Listen to your innermost thoughts – and take a couple quizzes on Facebook to decide your new destination.
- Visit and research your new home. Although cold-turkey moves to entirely new places can be wildly exciting and just as successful, usually when choosing a new setting for your life, you want to give it a little thought. Visit the city you want to live in, not just as a tourist but try to see it as a local. Ask any friends who live there to show you around and give you the lowdown on neighborhoods, and buy a pretty new guidebook with heaps of photos and information for inspiration.
- Once you have decided where you want to live, decide on a time frame to move. Opt for more time instead of less, as moving always ends up taking up more space in your life than you think it would. The end of your current lease can be a good inspiration, just be sure that you don’t rush yourself. You need time to get used to the idea of a new home city.
- Save money. Getting a new life means making sacrifices, and you will have to forgo a few dinners out and a few new dresses so that you can afford the costs associated with moving: down payment on your new apartment, first month’s (and sometimes last month’s) rent, truck rental, movers, boxes, etc. Be sure to post up photos of your new city to keep you inspired on those nights that you’d rather go out. Your new life will be worth it!
- Realize that your friends and family might not be very supportive. Although this may be a great, new step for you and the recharge that your life desperately needs, moving to a new city means that you will not be around friends and family in your current city as much. They don’t mean to be unsupportive; they are just going to miss you and are worried about you taking this risk on your own. Reassure them with your research and promises to visit as often as you can.
- Find a job if possible. Check out the Craigslist of your new city and start applying for jobs; if a fantastic interview comes up then an extra trip might be worth it. Having a job upon your arrival will get you right into the groove of things, and will take the worry of money off your mind. Be sure to ask any and all of your connections in the new city for job referrals.
- Find a temporary place to stay. It is easy to find a temporary place to live online. While you probably don’t want to sign a year lease on an apartment that you have never seen, a month living anywhere isn’t going to kill you. Check out subleases, university housing, couches of friends and relatives, hostels – anywhere that will give you a home base from which you can find more permanent lodging. Avoid staying in a hotel unless you are rich.
- Decide what to do with your stuff. If you have never moved before, realize that putting everything you own into boxes and bags will take FAR longer than you ever anticipated. Ideally, you will organize everything as you pack so upon your arrival in your new city you are ready to go. You will probably find that you have WAY too much stuff – so have a garage sale, give it to friends, sell it on eBay or donate it to charity. Learn the joys of minimizing your material possessions.
- Leap! Set a date for the big move and stick to it. Whether you are driving cross-country in a moving truck, flying to Fiji with a pack on your back or selling everything you own to live in Russia for a year – THIS is the first day of the rest of your life!
Give yourself time. When you move to a new place, it generally takes at least a year to make friends – not acquaintances at the bar, but true friends that you can count on and actually want to hang out with. You will have to locate the grocery store, the post office, the DMV, the gas station… and although finding new places is exciting, it can also be exhausting if you don’t give yourself enough down time to collect your energy. One of the best ways to feel at home is to put your photos, posters and other artwork up onto your new place’s bare walls, so get this done as soon as possible, and have fun creating your new home and your new life in your new city