I can speak with some authority about what it takes to pack up life in one city and start again in another. I’ve done it 5 times now and am on the verge of undertaking another part-move (in the form of a time-sharing arrangement between two cities). So unless I’m crazy, there must be something worthwhile about it!
But let’s start at the beginning. The first step towards relocating is actually making the decision. People often wait for the “right time”. But the truth is that the “right time” usually doesn’t exist. There is always a birthday/wedding/birth coming up. You’re just about to get a promotion at work. Life is full of moments and events that you don’t want to miss. Moving away means that you are necessarily going to miss out being there for some fun times with your friends and family.
These reasons why not to go are very often fear in another guise. More than missing out on what’s happening in your current city, it is often the scary unknowns that you will find in your new city that hold you back. What if you can’t find a home? A job? New friends? What if it’s difficult to learn the language? The more you dwell on the unknowns, the less likely you will be to leave.
Once the decision has been made, logistics kick in. These can also be used as very effective excuses for not moving. Ah, but there’s so much administration to do. I can’t possible do all that! And it’s true. There is a lot of administration. Especially if you are moving overseas. Packing up the house, moving things to storage, redirecting mail, cancelling subscriptions, breaking the news to your friends and family, finding a new home for the pet or shipping him through quarantine. The list can seem endless.
And the work doesn’t stop in the city you are departing from. Bank account opening, job hunting, searching for accommodation, trying to make new friends, adapting to the new culture, maybe even learning the language. Setting up a whole new life is not easy. You will meet hurdles. There will be days when it all feels impossible. This is the nature of starting life over in a new city. Perseverance is the key.
Does it sound like I’m trying to scare you off? Probably. But I’m actually not. Yes, it is scary making the decision to leave. Yes, there is lots and lots of work involved. But will it be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life? Most probably.
Remember all those fears I was writing about? The ones that might be holding you back? Making the big move and proving to yourself that you can overcome your fears, that you do have what it takes to set yourself up in a new city, brings an amazing sense of achievement and accomplishment.
The sense of personal growth and achievement I have felt from each of my moves has justified all the hard work, even in a tough city like Paris. In fact, feeling like I’ve really set myself up in a city that is notoriously difficult for foreigners and mastered (well, mostly) the French language is one of my proudest achievements!
Sometimes you will like your new city better than the one you are coming from. Sometimes you won’t. But the fact that you got in and tried? Now that’s cool. You will have experienced a new culture and a new way of doing things. You will have laid down challenges for yourself that you might once have felt impossible. Now you know you are capable. You will have laughed and you will have cried and you will have made memories you will treasure forever. Whatever the outcome, moving to a new city is an experience you will never forget.
So if you’ve ever been thinking of moving to a new place, wondering what it might be like but finding excuses in the way, I highly recommend you ditch the cop-outs. Yes it will be scary. But it is a wonderful experience to have at least once in your life. As the good people at Nike would say… “Just do it!”