Moving to a New City Alone

new friends

Moving to any city by alone can be really frightening. With big cities like Los Angeles and New York City, adjusting to the scale can make the task especially frightening. But relocation doesn’t mean losing everything that was good about an old hometown, nor does it mean entering an era of discomfort. Moving around, by choice or not, is something nearly every person does in their life, and almost all of them come to appreciate parts of their relocation. We asked some people who’ve moved around alone themselves about the best ways to settle into a new city; see what they suggest it takes to get comfortable and grounded in a new city.


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introduce yourself

 

SAY HELLO

“Moving is an opportunity to hit reset in a way perhaps nothing else is,” says David Ezell, Clinical Director of Darien Wellness. “There is a window of opportunity where the energy and the excitement of making the move allows a person to step out of themselves and take the initiative to start conversations and hold a hand out to strangers.” David knows that most people won’t be able to make the effort easily, and understandably so. It is a frightening concept, but it’s worth the effort.

“Take your earbuds out of your ear--okay, maybe one ear--and speak to people at the bus stop and on the elevator. When at work, introduce yourself to others, making eye contact and smiling.” David says. When in a new city, any opportunity to make new friends can be an invaluable opportunity to find some comfort and grounding.

 

 

FIND YOUR FAVORITE THINGS

“What got me through the experience [of moving to a new city alone] was going to play pickup sports at local gyms and finding people I could relate to both on and off the court.” Julian N. Clarke,Founder and CEO of VersaFit tells us. “I put myself in uncomfortable spaces to meet new people and integrated myself into new groups of friends and cultures.” A new city is a new chance to explore, but there’s sure to be something that syncs up with every old interest one might have had in their old city. The added bonus of going to a place like this is the potential friends inside already have common interests with you.  

“The advice I would give anybody relocating to a new city alone is to find people with your common interests and build from there.” David continued. {Online Meetup groups] is a good tool for that now, although it was unavailable to me then.

 

TREAT YOURSELF WELL

Moving is a difficult experience, and movers should understand there will be days that won’t be easy. “Be patient with yourself. It takes time to adjust to a new place. A lot of your time will be consumed with figuring out how to survive in this new place,” says Janina Klimas, Language Teacher and Author. “What you used to be able to do on autopilot in highway hypnosis mode will now require thought, effort and time.”
A lot of what goes into overcoming the anxiety and fear involved in moving into a new city alone is simply understanding this anxiety and fear, and where it comes from. The other part of this is knowing things don’t get better without taking action, and trudging through that anxiety in fear to make it happen. This can be taxing, so in the off hours where movers aren’t bravely attempting to make it in their brand new world, they should take refuge from some of the stresses of the life transplant process when they can. 
“It is easy to get caught up in trying to settle in fast to feel more comfortable. It is also easy to forget about how much longer things take when they are new.” Klimas says. “Don't get buried under. Take your time, do fun things, and take time to relax. You will get settled soon enough.”

 

ask for directions

 

ASK A LOCAL

Newbies to any city are naturally going to be less knowledgeable about what’ “Some of the cities I moved to had some dangerous neighborhoods, so [asking around] was important.” says Michele Foster, a “serial expat” in her own words who’s moved to a number of cities alone.  “Since in most places I didn't know any locals and some of the moves were before the internet, I asked colleagues for advice.”

Michele’s point resonates here - don’t be afraid to ask a local about almost anything! (Don’t embarrass yourselves though.) New Yorkers love helping other people - the rudeness is mostly frustration with their transportation system (mostly.) People in other cities are friendly too - just ask!

 

FIND A DOCTOR

Something that many people don’t think to do when moving to a new city alone is registering with a new doctor. “Make this a priority, it should in your top 10, like getting your utilities sorted.” says Tricia Mitchell, a UK citizen who moved alone from Lancashire to Sheffield in England. “I had been meaning to sort out getting registered, but hadn’t got “round to it”.” Mitchell says “I possibly would’ve called the doctor when I recognised my menstrual cycle symptoms [were part of an ectopic pregnancy]. ” 
Staying healthy is frankly more important than any other thing when moving to a new city, as it is always. Being in a new city without somewhere to turn in case of a medical emergency can quickly become a ‘worst nightmare’ scenario. Take the time to plan out what will happen in case you need medical attention, so you have all the health you need to explore your new city.
 

 



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