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 🙂

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Showing 18 comments
  • Allyson Bird

    This is exactly what I needed! I’m moving to Dallas later this summer for my new job, and while it’s exciting, it’s also kind of scary. Thank you for posting this! It definitely helped! ❤️

    • Alexa Considine

      I’m moving to Dallas too! In about 20 days for a promotion with my current company. I know two people there so I’m taking a leap of faith as well. I thought I would reach out if you’re looking to meet as many people as I am, email me. 🙂 This article was so encouraging!

  • Liv

    Needed this! I’m moving from Dallas to Austin in a month and I’m so nervous! But I appreciate the gentle reminder that as scary as relocating is, there’s still so much to look forward to. Thank you!!

  • Alyssa Thomas

    This is exactly what I needed to read right now!! I’m graduating this weekend, and accepted a job in Nashville. I know absolutely NO ONE but I am so excited/nervous to go. Thanks for writing this 🙂

  • Natalie S.

    First off, from the moment I first came across your Instagram and blog, I truly admired the way you fearlessly own that you’re 4′ 11″. I’m 5 feet, have always hated being short, and would always round up my height when asked, so thank you for helping me to better embrace my height (albeit slowly, but I now say 5′ when asked and always remind people that closer to the ground means more oxygen to the brain!). Secondly, I’m visiting Chicago this week for the first time ever and I can 100% see why you’re enamored with this city! I’ve been in love since I got here yesterday. Southern California still has my heart and will always be home, but I’m seriously considering doing a travel nursing assignment here now. Please keep doing what you’re doing and inspiring short, fashionably-challenged girls like me 🙂

  • Jan

    I’ve been dreaming about moving to Chicago for the last few years and this has motivated me even more. Being in DC my entire life has made me feel stagnant and too comfortable. So excited to venture out and (hopefully) land a job out in Chi within the next few months!

    Thank you for such an amazing post, Olivia!

  • Brianna

    I’m considering moving from Kentucky to Washington D.C. when I graduate! It’s a really nerve wracking idea because I’m from a tiny town in eastern Kentucky and I’ve never known anything other than this town. But I just feel like I need to go and spread my wings! This post really helped me! Thanks girlie!

  • Stacey

    I’m sending this post to a friend of mine! She just moved to Chicago and is having “the big move blues” if you ask me. We talk a lot because I lived in Chicago growing up so I understand her struggles. I hope this post makes her feel a little better about the move.

  • Danielle Salmon

    This was so helpful and great advice! I am graduating in a few days and moving to NYC for a job in a few months. It’s scary but exciting at the same time! Thank you for this post and for calming my nerves a little!

  • Lauren

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this! It seriously served as “the sign” I needed!

  • Allie

    Thanks for this! My husband and I are in the process of moving to Charlottesville, VA with our 1 year old daughter and don’t know anyone. It’s scary but exciting at the same time. We are moving from the DC area and are looking forward to a slower pace of life here! Thanks for the tips!

  • Taylor C.

    This was SO helpful and almost like it was made for me! I am graduating college from Kentucky and moving to Chicago for my new job! I’m so nervous and get sick to my stomach thinking the city will overtake me, but am extremely excited at the same time!! Thanks for being relatable!

  • Caitlin

    I’m moving to Chicago next week from San Francisco by myself for a new start 🙂 This post calmed my nerves so much!

  • Ashley

    So needed this! I’m moving from Washington, DC to Austin in two months and I’m both excited and nervous! While I grew up moving around (a lot), I have been in DC for nine years and the thought of making a new city “home” is pretty intimidating … Grateful for this reminder that any city can be made a home with some effort!

  • Lauren

    Thank you for this!! I’m moving from Indiana to NYC for grad school! I’m so excited but also so nervous! This post came at exactly the right time! 🙂

  • Brianna

    Wish I would of had this post when I moved across the Country almost 2 years ago now!
    Brianna |

  • Aleashia

    I’ve lived in Alaska my entire life.. my heart is telling me it’s time to explore and experience other areas.. I’m just not sure where I would like to move! #Stuck

  • Josi

    It was so helpful read it today, I’m in a new country with a different language, far from my friends and family. But these small advices will turn this new place like a home!

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