Image by Fernando González from Pixabay

Although moving to a new city can be like an injection of adrenaline, it is extremely intidmidating.

When I first moved to New York by way of LA, I was terrified. I've never been to the Big Apple, ever. I also didn't know a soul who lived there.

Relying on the internet for navigation and Googling was still a concept in its infancy. I somehow managed to survive only because I threw myself fully into the situation to get acquainted with my surroundings.

One thing I learned is that fear is paralyzing and I adapted quickly because I chose to thrive in the face of anxiety.

Curious to hear opinions from strangers on the internet, Redditor cheaganvegan asked:

"People that have restarted in a new city, what are your tips?"

Tips Upon Arrival

First things first, get your bearings by becoming familiar with the new area. You can Google about the city until the cow's come home but it won't compare to physically throwing yourself into the experience of assimilation.


"I started over in a new city in 2019."

"If possible, visit the city first. I saved myself a lot of grief by visiting first and knowing the general area. If you can't visit, check out google maps."

"Find a job before you move if possible. I found a job with a chain that had a location in the new city. I didn't need to be retrained, so that was one less thing to stress about. The job was the same. I set it up so I had two weeks before I had to start so I could unpack and get settled."

"When you pack, get rid of a bunch of stuff. Have the essentials, like a change of clothes, toiletries, small appliances, and food ready to unpack the first day you arrive. You will be so tired and not want to dig for stuff. Bring a small pack of toilet paper and hand soap for the new place. Try to have at least a pot and a pan, some rubber scrapers, and plates if you can. I'd also pack blankets someplace easy to get out so you can just curl up and sleep if you need. Moving is STRESSFUL, so you want all the stuff you need easy to get to before you unpack entirely."

"LOCATE THE GROCERY STORE. Also find some local restaurants for those first few days."

"Don't forget to set up your utilities the first day. That's a must."

"Find a club if you didn't move with a buddy. Get out your first weekend and go see the sights. Get used to your new environment. The first few weeks just kinda suck, so try to get some good stuff in there. If you can, try to find a club or two or activities/hobbies before you move. Something to look forward to and one less thing to stress about."

"When you first get there, pick a landmark that's visible from most of the city or your neighborhood. A building, monument, etc. When you're learning to navigate that first month or two, that will help you. Make sure you can get home from and get to the landmark. That way, if you ever get lost, just head toward it and then you can get home. Eliminates some panic and stress. This was one of the most helpful things I did when I moved."

"EDIT: Awards, thank you! I'm glad my advice is helpful to people. Moving, even to someplace you really want to go, is stressful. Anything to make it better is great in my book!"


Getting Acquainted

"Get to know your immediate neighborhood. My family and I moved last year from the US south to the PNW. I went through a period of feeling very homesick and disconnected to my surroundings. I changed my mood by really making my neighborhood my own."

"I started talking and becoming friendly with the people nearby that I come into contact with on a regular basis like my pharmacist, barista, crossing guard, etc. I get out everyday and go run in my local park and it helps me to feel connected to where I'm at. I try to look around and remind myself that this is my home. I think this all sounds goofy but it helped a lot."


Start Detaching

"Don't get attached to the physical address of the place you call home. Get attached to smaller things inside your home - like a pillow that's has travelled around with you, or a coffee cup that you painted."

"Over the years, a reverse trend will happen which IMO is more meaningful. You will remember where you painted the cup and where you bought the pillow. So in a way you remember all the good stuff - both the address and associated events."


Psychological Tips

Changing locations is also a reflection of your metamorphosis. Finding a new you and evolving as a resident of a new city can be helpful overcoming culture shock.

Embrace The New City

"Don't try to change the city you now live in into the city you just left."


Change Habits

"Nobody knows you, so you can try to change some habits. I was too shy to talk to people and usually just waited for them to approach me, but when I moved I started talking to people first, it was hard but I'm glad I tried. Changed my eating habits too. Think what kind of a person you wanna be and just try it, see how close you can get."


Comfortable With Me

"The one thing that really surprised me was the fact that I didn't love the new city immediately. It was bigger than I was used to, more expensive, and the job had such higher expectations than my last, same exact job."

"It all took some getting used to, and that took longer than I thought it would. But I loved exploring little hills and out of the way parks, and one day it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was so in love with this new place; I couldn't imagine ever living anywhere else."

"Well, of course, now I do, but my love affair lasted a long time. But I think it's a place for younger people, a place to explore and find your way around the city and find yourself."

"Others have made some really good suggestions, but I think I had to be more comfortable with me before I could be comfortable in a new place."


Embrace Opportunity

"Try to be a yes person for the first 6-8 weeks. Any time someone asks you do do something or go somewhere (within safety and financial reason) say yes. Even if you don't really care for that activity or type of food or whatever, say yes and go. It will help you meet people outside of your immediate circle, and once you have seen people socially a couple of times, you can figure out who you are interested in spending more time with and asking them to hang out is less awkward. Just remember, every event isn't going to be the most fun you ever had. It's okay to have just a nice time, because that's laying the ground work for those really fun nights ."


New City Culture

"Don't try to find what you had at home. Don't do what I did going from San Antonio to Seattle. In SA I was an avid Spurs fan (still am.), but nobody wanted to bond about basketball because they are still salty about the former Seattle SuperSonics turned OKC Thunder. Open yourself up to the new culture, I opened myself up to the love of Football- wasn't a Hawks fan but adored their fandom. Learned to love soccer, which wasn't a thing in San Antonio, and became a Sounders fan. Sports aside, don't try to find what you had at home. Open yourself up to the culture that your new city will bring to you."

"Another example: in Texas we thrived on being outdoors. Seattle thrived on that only 3 months of the year. The other months? I learned to love comedy clubs, theater, casinos, and more."


Tips On Relationships With New Locals

Sometimes, making friends can help make you feel less like a stranger. Just hold off on immediately dating.


"Do not start a relationship with someone who you met on tinder because you didn't want to be alone in a new city and then let the relationship spin out of control and turn out that she's kinda insane and very manipulative and then your first 9 months in London are sh*t and now a whole borough of London is ruined for you by memories of an abusive ex."

"Also, find a coffee shop you like that opens late. Nothing like getting some work done while drinking coffee on a rainy night."


Find Your Community

"try to find some kind of social group that pertains to your interests. it's easier in college, that's what i did and there were plenty to chose from. but there are often plenty of groups for non students if you look around on social media for advertising and stuff. things like volunteer work or local activist type groups can be easier options to look for."

"that's how i started making friends."


Choosing Groups

"I'm in my forth country in 13ish years. The younger you are the easier it is, especially if you can find a community. I also don't have kids so that's a huge blocker / introducer if you do."

"But basically, as above, find a group. Note almost all organised groups have more drama than you'd have thought possible, so choose wisely."


A common tip from Redditors was to find your community. A sense of loneliness can be unbearable.

I moved to New York on December 23 and I stayed in a tiny studio in Midtown from a friend who happened to be visiting LA at the same time.

So, the only person I knew in the city wasn't even there to help me get my bearings. It snowed the next day on Christmas Eve. I never felt more vulnerable and alone.

But I took the opportunity to avoid succumbing to despair. I walked out in the snow and went to a coffee shop, struck up a conversation with the waitress, and established a connection with the locals.

In that moment I knew that if I can make it there – getting over my social anxieties inside a dingy old school coffee shop – I can make it anywhere.

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