Making the Move: How to Start Over in a New Place
Traveling the world in cross-cultural encounters is life-changing and a completely worthwhile investment. However, it’s an entirely different thing to put down roots in that culture and commit to becoming a local. That’s the privilege of getting to experience a place as a newcomer. In getting out of your comfort zone, You get to see how other people live; to peek into their way of life. You get to see the benefits of each place, connecting with the cultural traits, customs, and idiosyncrasies that make each place unique. Whether that’s the landscape and geography of a region, the demographics of its people, various artistic expressions, the types of food, what movies people watch, music genres that are specific to your new home, what the different seasons feel like - as diverse as the people and their interests. Starting over after a move gives you an opportunity to look at things in a new way and potentially point your own life in a different direction. It’s a fresh start and fresh starts are a perfect time to create new habits and patterns for growth in your life. By leaving your comfort zone and creating a home somewhere new, everything is unfamiliar, giving you the chance to be intentional about how, where, and with whom you spend your time.
That being said, I know it’s not easy. It takes hard work and heaps of energy to familiarize yourself with a new neighborhood; not to mention the time it takes to invest in meeting and building relationships with people.
Having local friends to help you get connected within a new city can be a great landing pad. However, if you’re starting off completely green, without any pre-existing connections then that’s another layer of challenge to build a meaningful connection to both people and place.
For many people who move their initial contact point will be through the workplace. If you’re moving for a job then your office and coworkers are great places to start when looking for a connection and point of reference for any potential suggestions. Now I moved here after starting a business so I wasn’t coming in with that point of contact built-in. If you work for yourself then you’ll have to be a bit more intentional when it comes to seeking out opportunity and adventure.
Planning to make a move and start over in a new place?
Here are 4 suggestions to help get you connected to people and place after your move:
1 - Have a plan
Once you arrive and begin to get settled, make a list of the things you love to do. If you’re a foodie and like to hike, then do a quick search of the best trails and restaurants in the area and schedule 2 or 3 times a week to explore and discover the spots on your list.
2: Find your 3rd place
The term for the 3rd place is used to designate your place of interest and community that isn’t either your home or place of work, the spot where you go to have a good time and build community. It’s often based around hobbies or communities of faith, like churches and social clubs. But don’t let that limit you as you search for a third place. A good gym, local pub, and meetup groups can be great starting points in your search for a 3rd place.
3: Be Honest
When you meet people, tell them that you’re new to town, are looking to get connected, and would love suggestions for their favorite places to go and things to do. You might just be surprised by how much people want to help the new kid in town.
4: Say Yes!
It’s simple, but it’s also one of the hardest parts. When people extend an invitation to a gathering, club meeting, get together, or hangout, then saying “Yes!” opens you up to the possibility of building your network and connecting to your new town in meaningful ways. That’s not always the case, and not everyone you meet will become a friend but it doesn’t hurt to try and puts you one step closer to becoming a local.
If you are passionate about connecting and experiencing a place then the best way to do that is by making it your home.