Nothing ever changes. Everything is always the same. What drives us to move from what we know can stem from a feeling of groundhog day, or an absence of different experiences from the norm. Moving to a new city is not always an easy task since you’re moving away from the the familiar comforts of home, though moving can bring opportunities and experiences that ‘home’ may not offer. And once you let go of your safety blanket and step into a new world, away from the one you know all too well, the opportunities are endless and its success only depends on you.

How to move in a nutshell

The steps to move to a new city are pretty obvious:

1. Choose where you want to live and when you want to move.

2. Pack your things and go.

3. Find somewhere to live and a job.

4. Make friends.

5. Never return home.

Yes it sounds simple but if you’re moving somewhere you don’t know the language or know a soul, it can be the hardest experience of your life. Not to mention when he homesick blues kick in. So rather than asking ‘how to move to a new city’, since the answer to that is self explanatory, you should be thinking more about the nuts and bolts of these steps.

Ask the right questions

Instead of asking ‘how do you move to a new city’, look deeper within yourself and ask ‘why do I want to leave my hometown’. The answer may relate to pursuing better employment prospects, for a new and different lifestyle experience, to be with a partner, or any other myriad of answers. Whatever the answer is make sure you are completely and 100% sure of it. This is important because when you move to where you want to go, you will face pangs of regret or remorse, and you have to be sure of the reasons why you left to ensure you don’t take the escape route back home prematurely.

Logistics of moving

So you’re sure on what it is that is making you want to leave, that’s good, next you can look at the logistics of moving. Answer the following questions:

    1. Where do I need to go to fulfil the reasons I am leaving?
    2. How much money do I need to be able to leave and live in my new city without a job?
    3. How will I integrate myself into a new culture or environment?
    4. How will I meet people and make friends?

Learn from our mistakes

Looking back on our journey from leaving Perth, Siu On and I made mistakes that could have been avoided if we had spent more time thinking about it before we left.

  • We had no final destination in mind as we thought we’d find somewhere along the way that ‘felt right’.
  • We waiting until our finances had dipped perilously low and were forced to settle anywhere.
  • We didn’t know a thing about the city we ended up living in.

Fortunately for us, we took up the opportunity to try this foray into interstate relocating a second time after deciding that we didn’t want to live in Sydney any longer, but this time we did our due diligence.

    1. We left Sydney because we needed a better work/life balance in a city that was quieter, less polluted and less expensive.
    2. We made sure to save up money before we left Sydney, and researching the job market we knew that Siu On would be able to pick up work quickly which eased the pressure on me while I job hunted.
    3. We had both visited Brisbane on separate occasions to check the city out, and spoke to a lot of people who had lived in Brisbane to find out more about the it.

After doing that initial research and reconnaissance work, when we did arrive we knew instantly that we had made the right decision. The city felt right for us and it’s now been two months and we have found a great apartment to live in in a fantastic suburb, and we’ve started tackling our integration into Brisbane by returning to the rock climbing gym and other hobbies we enjoy. Though we are yet to make friendships, we have met a lot of new people and are feeling more confident that we made the right choice to leave.

How much money do I need

You will have to do some research into the cost of living in the destination you looking to move to. Make sure you look at a fully costed stay including approximate costs for bills and going out expenses as well as accommodation and transportation. Be realistic here and round that figure up for a total cost for at least six months as finding a job may not happen quickly if you are starting from scratch.

Some cities are more expensive than others and as a result the cost of living may come as a shock, but its better to be aware of it before you arrive there. I cannot stress enough the importance of having some savings before you move as having to go home early because you ran out of money really, really sucks.

How do I integrate myself into the culture or environment

Learn as much as you can from the people who live there. From taking language lessons to classes on popular hobbies, all these efforts will help you to understand the place where you’ve moved to and be able to speak with people – which is incredibly important! I’ve had a lot of people from other countries tell me how much they appreciate people who make the effort to integrate, and as a result they are more open to befriending them and sharing life with them. This will greatly impact on your ability to make friends and cope with homesickness so whatever you do, do not isolate yourself!

How to make friends

Unfortunately making friends as an adult is nowhere near as easy as it was as a kid. I can’t walk up to someone and tell them that we’re going to be BFFs just because I like their hair. Instead the best advice I have to offer is to twofold;

    1. Patience. It might take you a week or a year to make a friend, but don’t lose heart and lock yourself away if it hasn’t happened quick enough because then you won’t ever make friends.
    2. Participate in regular activities you enjoy where you interact with people. It takes time to get to know someone and by doing an activity regularly you’ll already have one thing in common.

What if you’re shy? That’s fine to be shy, just keep trying and eventually you’ll get more comfortable and confident to talk to people you’ve just met. Just don’t give up.

How to deal with missing home

It’s inevitable to miss home at times, and even we get struck with the homesick blues on occasion. Though we mostly miss our friends and family, and fortunately we have had visitors from home come to see us which has helped, but if that’s not possible for you then take advantage of social media networks and the internet to communicate as a substitute.

Other things we have that help us when we miss home is having small tokens of our cities around our apartment. Siu On’s friends that came to visit us a few years ago in Sydney brought us a beautiful pine scented candle and a Minnesota hot dish tea towel that we have displayed. From Perth I have some shells and rocks from my old bedroom windowsill that I have sitting on the kitchen windowsill. These items make us smile and remind us that home is wherever we are.

I do admit that as a creature of habit I find it hard to move, but I know that on the occasions where I have relocated, I was happier to have gone to the trouble than to have just stayed back in Perth. On the flipside, it makes my visits home all the more exciting because I can go back and see the changes and the things that stayed the same. I can’t promise that this will be the last time that we’ll move, but for now we are happy to have the experiences of starting from scratch twice, in two vastly different cities.

Have you ever moved away from home to a new city or even a new country? What advice do you have to share? If you do why not continue the conversation over on our Facebook page and help others who are looking to move and start somewhere new. As always, you can follow our adventures on our Instagram (@thetravelleur) and watch some of our videos on our YouTube channel right here.

Until next time, travel safe and live well
Jelena & Siu On