Moving is scary. I get it.
I moved to Spain right after college, and it was terrifying.
Then, I moved back to the US (without a job) to San Francisco, a place quickly outpacing Manhattan as one of the priciest places to live.
I did both because I knew no matter how significant the hole in my bank account, how big the confidence drain that comes with a job hunt and how much I would miss my friends and family, it would be worth the personal and professional growth these new experiences would give me.
I know too many people who are holding back from taking the leap to a new place, so I’m hoping to inspire those of you who need an extra nudge.
Here are the solutions for the top three excuses most people have for not moving to a new place:
1. "I can’t afford it."
I live in San Francisco, arguably the most expensive city in the country when it comes to housing, and my bedroom is the size of most people's living rooms.
Or maybe, it’s technically a parlor.
Whatever you want to call it, it was not built to be a bedroom.
Only a set of double doors — not a wall — separates me from my housemate.
In my past two living situations, I lived in the formal dining room.
But my houses and housemates have always been amazing, and I pay a fraction of the average rent in San Francisco because we have three people in a two-bedroom space.
In all reality, turning dining rooms, offices and living rooms into bedrooms is pretty normal amongst young people in this city (and I would be willing to bet many others).
If you’re in love with the place you’re living, you can afford it.
So, ditch that excuse.
While news reports of huge rents in places like San Francisco and New York can be daunting, it’s important to realize few young people really pay that amount.
Then there are your long-term prospects to think about.
The more your income mobility goes up, the more expensive the city.
Income mobility, for you non-econ nerds, is essentially your ability to make more money over time.
More expensive cities might seem tough on the budget at first, but your earning potential is greater than in a cheaper city.
Cities at the center of innovation will pay you more.
For example, the average income for college graduates in a cities dominated by manufacturing industries like Bakersfield, California, is $65,411, while high school grads in the San Jose metro area earn $68,009 on average.
Numbers aside, I can tell you from experience that it really happens, and it would be silly to avoid an “expensive” city based on income figures for what you would make elsewhere.
2. "I won't be able to find a job."
“Getting a job is easy!” said nobody ever.
After the year in Spain, I returned without employment, few skills relevant to the jobs I wanted to pursue and a burning desire to move to San Francisco.
I had (unsuccessfully) applied to over 100 jobs while living abroad and begrudgingly moved home to figure everything out.
To be honest, job searching was a drag, and motivating myself to do it was really hard.
So I set a date to move to San Francisco without a job in hand (despite my father’s horror when I shared how much I would be paying in rent).
In the end, I ended up with a job that started shortly after the move, but only because the concrete move date put some serious fire under me to get things moving.
Let’s just accept that getting a job is a really tough thing, but it’s going to be hard no matter where you do it or in what industry.
Sure, some markets are more work to break into than others, but don’t ever doubt that it’s possible.
Don’t be misled based on studies of the most competitive job markets.
Plan a trip to the cities you want to move to, go to Meetups, take advantage of your alumni network and send follow-up emails.
Do whatever being really tenacious looks like for you.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
3. "I won't be near anyone I know."
I moved to Spain without knowing a single person.
I had corresponded with the people I would be working with via email, but I knew nothing about them.
I moved into an apartment with a local who didn’t speak English.
For the first week I lived there, I didn’t even have a working cell phone.
I remember spending my first Saturday in the park by my apartment, wondering how I’d make friends.
I was 20, and I’d never experienced living somewhere without a built-in network of friends.
I missed my friends and family a lot at that point, and I would’ve done anything to have them there with me.
But it was exactly that feeling that inspired me to get out there and to be the gregarious person I’d always wanted, but never had a reason to be.
I don’t for a second mean you shouldn’t appreciate and see your family and friends as much as possible.
But I do 100 percent mean being physically close to them should not hold you back from a move that helps you pursue your goals.
Moving around teaches you who your real friends are.
You’ll stay in touch with the ones you care about, and they’ll do the same.
Reuniting will feel better than anything, and when they visit you (or vice versa), you’ll have a new place to show them.
Putting yourself in a new situation teaches you how to fend for yourself faster, and your friends and family will respect you for it.
Distance means more meaningful conversations.
When you don’t see someone every day, the nice but typically meaningless, “How was your day?” type of chatting disappears.
When you do talk to those who matter, you’ll have meatier things to catch up on.
Meeting new people teaches you about yourself and about the traits you value in others.
Making new friends doesn’t mean forgetting your old ones, but rather, it strengthens those relationships as you learn to appreciate your long-time friends for who they are.
Did I convince you yet?
It's true that cities aren't for everyone.
But if you’re one of many fantasizing about a big city life and just haven’t been able to make it happen, stop letting things like money, job and family hold you back.
My paycheck, career and relationships (both old and new) have grown much more than they would have had I stayed put.