After two years of living here, Chicago feels like home in every way. But, I definitely remember what is was like when I first moved here and how everything felt so new, unknown, and a little scary. Before I actually made the move, I had been playing around with the idea of Chicago for a long time. I always knew I wanted to live here, I was just waiting for what felt like the right moment.
After listening to the advice of the people I trusted and going with my gut feeling, I finally decided to commit and sign the lease to my new apartment in the city. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’ve benefitted so much from coming here in so many different ways.
For a lot of you, this might be the first time after graduation that you’re finally entering the real world and your whole life is changing. Or maybe you’re relocating for a new job… or simply just wanting to start over in a new place. I wrote this post for you guys because I want this to help motivate you to towards taking the same leap of faith I did two years ago. I’m hoping this can serve as ‘the sign’ you’ve been looking for to go for it!
What I’ve learned through the process of relocating
and how to make a new city feel like home…
Build your nest and make it your sacred space – the first thing I started planning before I moved was my bedroom. It’s where I relax, unwind, think, read, pray, and spend a ton of time. In the midst of busy city life things can seem pretty chaotic, but your room should be somewhere you can feel completely comfortable and at home. I loved decorating and planning my bedroom, it was something I’d been looking forward to the most about having my own place! Start by planning out your ‘nest’ in your new place and making it a personal space you love.
Get to know your neighborhood – find your favorite hole-in-the-wall sushi place, the best nail salon, the coolest rooftop patio, the closest place to pick up a gallon of milk, the most scenic walking route near you, the best coffee spot, who your neighbors are, where to go for Sunday funday. Learn your city so well so that when friends come in town, you can be the best tour guide. It will also make the city not seem SO big – it will feel more familiar.
Find your people – the people are what really make where you live feel the most like home. I’ve gotten so lucky these last few years with the friends I’ve made here. The best way to meet new people is to be open to new opportunities. I met John on blogger trip to Finland (!) two years ago when I first moved here, I met Rachel when we moved in together, Alicia and I crossed paths thanks to our Kentucky backgrounds, and I can’t even count the amount of amazing people I’ve met here through blogging, mutual friends, etc.
Go to events in your city – One of my favorite things about living in a big city is the unlimited amount of events going on throughout the year. This summer I’m looking forward to The Windy City Smokeout, Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk, and Lollapalooza!
Find out what you love to do on your own – being on your own in a new place forces you to get to know yourself better. What are your hobbies? I’ve been attempting to switch gears from working all the time to doing fun things like learning to play the piano ago and might even attemp to learn Spanish (again).
Network! A big city = more opportunities. Take advantage of this by building as many connections as you can. Be friendly. Go on dates. Say yes. Join an organization. Volunteer.
Find time to still connect with your family – even though you might be moving farther away from your family, it’s so easy to keep in touch. Whether it’s calling your best friend or catching up with your mom, make time to talk during the week so they don’t feel so far away. And make plans for them to come visit!
Now is a good time to start the next exciting chapter of your life. Moving to a new city will help you grow as a person in so many ways as you become more independent, versatile, flexible, understanding, and adaptable. We all know life begins when you leave your comfort zone! I’d love to hear where some of you are planning to move – comment in the comments section below or on my Instagram post tonight 🙂