Last July, I moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee for my first job out of grad school. While I was somewhat familiar with the city–my family had visited several times when we lived in Atlanta–I didn’t know a soul when I moved here, aside from my soon-to-be coworkers, and I didn’t really know how life was going to be once I got settled.
I’ve moved seven times in my life, more if you count moving houses but staying in the same area. Sometimes I joke that moving is like second nature. While some of those moves were definitely harder than others, each move has come with its own set of challenges. With those challenges came a whole host of lessons learned and new perspectives on my life and where I’m going from here. My move to Chattanooga was most certainly one of the most challenging moves I’ve made.
Everyone should experience moving to a brand new city at least once in their lives.
Sure, it’s scary, and yes, my perspective is different because I’ve moved so many times in my life. But it’s one of life’s richest experiences. Here’s why:
Moving to a new city forces you out of your comfort zone.
Living in an unfamiliar place is intimidating, at least for the first few months. You don’t know where anything is, where anyone lives, you’re still figuring out traffic patterns and commutes, and you probably don’t know that many people, if anyone. It’s not comfortable, is it? You’ll want your comfort zone back. Plot twist: it’s probably not coming back.
Even though I’d visited Chattanooga before, moving here was a whole new ball game. If we stayed in our comfort zones our whole lives, then we’d miss out on a whole world of potential experiences. Embrace this new non-comfort zone.
I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone this week, in some way. Whether it’s going somewhere new or trying a new food, or anything in between or beyond, go for it. You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make.Moving to a new city forces you out of your comfort zone. Click To Tweet
You start to appreciate the beauty of travel and seeing new places.
I’ve always said that moving so much in childhood instilled in me a desire to travel. My dad also traveled a lot for work, and my mom and I were fortunate to be able to join him on many of his trips. As I got older, I wanted to go farther, so I studied abroad in London. Once you see one new place, you’ll want to explore and see more. You don’t always have to go far to see it, either.
You learn how to fend for yourself.
Sometimes life throws curveballs at you and your parents or family aren’t always close by to come help. Being on your own teaches you how to tackle challenges and unforeseen circumstances when you may not have that nearby support. It’s all a big learning experience.Have you ever moved to a brand new city? Click To Tweet
It teaches you how to start from scratch.
Like, really from scratch. When I moved to Chattanooga, I didn’t know anyone outside of my new coworkers. Some of our family friends had put me in contact with a few people in the area, but aside from them, I was on my own in terms of meeting people and making friends. And in order to make those friends, I have to be social, go out and do things. I’m not exactly an introvert, but I’m also not overly extroverted, so taking that step to be more social and outgoing wasn’t easy at first. But I’ve met some wonderful people and discovered some new interests along the way.
Starting from scratch isn’t limited to just meeting people. You’ve got a new living space to make your own. There’s probably a bunch of events and activities that you’ve never been to or done before. Check them out.
You’ll challenge yourself in ways you didn’t know were possible.
This goes back to getting out of your comfort zone. I am one thousand percent not the same person I was a year ago, in so many ways. If the last year has taught me anything, it’s that everything happens for a reason and you’re meant to be where you are for a reason. With every obstacle that’s come my way, I’ve learned something about myself and how I should or should not live my life. I don’t think I wouldn’t have had these experiences if I hadn’t moved to Chattanooga. Life’s funny that way.
Moving to a brand new city can be terrifying. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared when I moved to Chattanooga nearly blindly last year. But I could not be more thankful for everything that’s happened in the last year, in this amazing city.
Have you ever moved to a brand new city? What was it like? What were the biggest lessons you learned in that experience?