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Why I Chose to Move Across the Country (and the Best Tips I Received for Embracing a New City)

Take this as a sign if you've also been debating a big change...

If you keep up with our stories on the Shop's Instagram, you might already know that I recently made a big move...across the country to be exact. For those of you who aren’t super familiar with me, or haven’t read my previous blog posts, hi there! I manage social media for the Shop and have been on the team for a year now. 

When I was hired around this time last year I was working remotely from Atlanta, Georgia - my hometown and the city where I had lived my entire life up until this point. I’ve never really seen myself as a southern girl, or felt deeply connected to life in Georgia, but the city of Atlanta really is something special and I’m grateful for all the experiences and friendships it has given me.

Saying goodbye to my little Atlanta apartment!

Saying goodbye to my little Atlanta apartment!

As I started sharing about my move to San Diego on the Shop Instagram, a lot of you asked why I made this decision in the first place. To put it simply, I was in need of a big change. Moving to a new city was always an idea I’d think of every now and then; a daydream I’d catch my mind wandering back to, envisioning a different life with new and exciting possibilities around every corner. I decided it was time to take the steps to turn this dream into a reality when 2021 rolled around and it hit me that I was turning 25 and had lived in the same city my whole life. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but for me, I knew that there was still so much more out in the world that I wanted to experience while in my 20s. Plus, nothing is permanent and I could always go back. 

The timing to move seemed too good to be true - I had recently gone through a breakup and was generally feeling more and more uninspired by my environment in Atlanta. My life was beginning to feel monotonous and I knew that in itself was a sign that I needed to jump ship. California had always been on my radar, though I’d never gotten the opportunity to see it until earlier this year when I visited LA to meet the team in person. That trip pretty much sealed the deal for me - what can I say? I fell in love with the West Coast in a single weekend. Everything just felt right, aaand I’d be lying if I said I didn’t scout out neighborhoods while I was there. 

Long story short, I spent the following couple of months weighing the pros and cons of moving, learning all about California perks from the team, looking into places to live, and finally landing on the conclusion that it was the best decision for me. My current roommate, Carolyn, was also living in Atlanta at the time, and had just been accepted into grad school at University of San Diego. Our leases in Atlanta ended around the same time - which basically meant that we were supposed to sign a lease together in San Diego and begin our new lives from there. Or at least that’s how we saw it! Because why not? It was exciting to know that I’d finally just be a two hour drive away from the team (rather than a five hour flight!), and I’d have new opportunities to work and collaborate with them more frequently in person. Everything started to fall into place, and I’m still amazed by how smoothly it all went. Saying my goodbyes to family and close friends was difficult, and the idea of starting all over again was daunting, but at the end of the day I knew that I was making the best decision for my future self and my life.

Heading to you, California!

Heading to you, California!

I’ve now been living in San Diego for about a month and though I’ve had my moments of homesickness, it has truly been unimaginable. Off the bat, this weather is next level. There hasn’t been a day that I don’t wake up feeling inspired. I won’t go into it now, but hopefully over the next couple of months once I’m more settled in I can give an update with all the things I’ve been trying and loving so far.

First week exploring my new neighborhood!

First week exploring my new neighborhood!

Don't think I'll ever get tired of this view.

Don't think I'll ever get tired of this view.

I want to thank all of you who submitted such thoughtful and genuinely helpful advice for moving/settling into a new city - the transition has been so much smoother because of your kind words. Below I’ve shared some of your tips that resonated with me the most - and if you’ve found yourself in the same situation that I was in a few months ago, I hope you take this as your sign to just do it. If you’re unhappy or feel indifferent about your current living situation, know that you can always make a change if you really want to. There is so much out there to experience, and you deserve the world. I hope you find these tips as helpful as I did, and thank you for coming along this journey with me.

Instagram Prompt: 

“If you could give any advice about moving to a new city, what would it be?”

Your responses:

  • Find community as soon as you can, it’ll help feel like home
  • You have the opportunity to reinvent yourself! Do it!
  • Join meetups, find friends of friends. Be ready to put yourself out there!
  • Join some sort of class or community or event in the first week. Meet new people!
  • Give it at least 6 months. It can be hard to make connections!
  • Be patient trying to find new friends - it takes a bit but will happen.
  • Be open to the new people and possibilities
  • Lean in! Say yes! Explore!
  • Only take what you ABSOLUTELY need. Getting new stuff helps with the change.
  • Live downtown and walk everywhere.
  • Say yes to everything! It can be tiring to be a “yes woman” but it pays off!
  • Try to join a club/group/workout studio to meet like minded people right away!
  • It can be tough but you can do hard things.
  • Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to explore by yourself!
  • Look for Facebook groups, Bumble BFF, or volunteer organizations to meet new people.
  • Enjoy the ride. What’s meant to be will be and there’s a reason you’re opening this new chapter
  • Say yes to every invitation
  • Get out of your comfort zone when making friends!
  • Embrace the uncomfortable and lean into it. Try new things, ask for someone’s number.
  • Walk everywhere. You learn so much from just observing your new space.
  • Do one thing from your “old” routine ASAP to feel more at home (ex. order your favorite pizza!)
  • Give yourself at least 6 months to become acclimated to everything!
  • Be prepared to be tired the first few months. Everything is new and your brain can’t autopilot!
  • Explore every weekend
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things or suggest hangouts to new people you just met!
  • Give yourself grace and time to make a new city feel like home
  • Join a recreational sports team! Great way to make friends.
  • Let yourself feel the feelings. It’s okay if it’s not amazing right away.
  • Give it a good shot (put yourself out there, explore!) but know that nothing is irreversible
  • Establish routines (fav coffee shops, etc.) it’s a good way to stay grounded and meet people!
  • Embrace the unknown!
  • Find out if your college has an alumni group in your new city!
  • Consolidate everything! Only pack essentials and keepsakes
  • Take it as an opportunity to be the best, 2.0 version of yourself! (New city, new you!)

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