For the last couple of years, I’ve been in a constant state of wanderlust – which is a great word that encapsulates one’s strong desire to travel. Wanderlust is what eventually led me to make the move from my hometown of Toronto, Canada to the European Big Apple of London, UK.
Moving to a country all alone really pushes you outside of your comfort zone because you no longer have the things you relied on back home, from friends to favourite places to hang out. You have to recreate all of that and as nerve wrecking as that sounds, it can actually be quite rejuvenating if you refine your approach. Here are three ways you can do that…
- Avoid being at home when you don’t have to be.
Applying for a job? Making travel plans? Catching up on emails? Anything that you can do on a portable device means you do not need to do it at home. Instead, take that opportunity to go to a new café in a new neighbourhood or just a new place where you can also check out other things afterwards. Especially when you first move, I found this was a healthy way to adjust to a new situation, a good way to start exploring and a greater reminder to yourself about why you made the move in the first place.
- The best way to get to know a city is to get lost in it first.
My favourite form of exercise in London has been walking and often walking with no set path. Whether it was after an interview, after work, after an event, I would put in my earphones, turn on the music and let my feet take me. Yes, I have gotten lost many, MANY times but it’s also how I found some cool spots that I would have completely overlooked otherwise and learned new ways of getting somewhere that I didn’t know about before. It’s these hidden treasures that have made me appreciate the city much more than any of the tourist attractions.
- Brush up on your game because making friends is like dating.
Meeting new people when you’re no longer in school can be quite a challenge. I had to start finding ways to put myself in situations where I could be exposed to new people. This included volunteering, going to various events, joining socializing sites, meeting up with friends of friends of mine – I said yes to anything and everything.But it’s not enough to just go – make an effort! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone and make the first move to set up another hang out. This part will really make you feel like you’re dating. Is it too soon to call them? Do they even like me? Am I coming off too strong?
Just like with dating though, remind yourself that you just have to be yourself and if it doesn’t click, it doesn’t click and that’s okay. You’ll have great stories that you can laugh about later with those people that you’ll eventually call your friends.
So there you have it, three tidbits that will hopefully jumpstart your adventure in a new country but truth be told, those three tidbits don’t just apply to people who have moved to a new country; they can apply to anyone who is looking to shake up the status quo in the place they are already living in.
Moving helped me remember that any place can be exciting depending on your own attitude and your own willingness to get out there. You don’t need the strong desire to travel, just the strong desire to try something new.