Why You Should Move To A New City Where You Don't Know A Single Soul

by Eimear Elkington

There’s no better feeling than setting a courageous goal for yourself and defying the odds to achieve it; jumping headfirst into the unknown with an open heart and an open mind.

While you may be comfortable living in your hometown or your cozy college city, sometimes you need to ask yourself if you’re truly taking advantage of the world’s opportunities — especially while you're in your 20s.

Your 20s are your years of freedom, before mortgages, kids and general grown-up responsibilities kick in. Too many people let fear of the unknown stop them from taking chances and forget that only with great risk comes great reward.

Moving alone to a new place (whether it’s the other side of the country or the other side of the world) is an experience like no other: part terrifying, part exhilarating.

If you decide to take the plunge and move to a new city where you don’t know a soul, here are some of the wonderful things you’ll discover along the way:

You’ll make new friends who are refreshingly different from your old friends

A foreign city opens up a diverse mix of people and cultures, including locals who have vastly different perspectives and experiences to yours, and will enrich and widen your outlook on life.

There’s no cast of "Mean Girls" telling you whom you can and can’t be friends with. Make connections with anyone and everyone you want. Plus, the new people you meet will have no prior knowledge or expectations of you; it’s a totally clean slate.

You’ll be introduced to new and exciting ways to have fun

You likely have a social pattern with your old circle of friends back home: Friday dinners in a certain suburb, ladies drinks at your favorite wine bar, weekend trips to the markets, etc. Sure, these cozy routines can be enjoyable and nostalgic, but are they really stretching and exciting you?

Your friends in a new city will introduce you to diverse local customs, adventures off the beaten path and fresh perspectives on how to have fun.

Instead of your regular pizza and movie night, you could go warehouse party, learn ballroom dancing or cook gnocchi with an Italian Nonna.

You’ll feel an overwhelming sense of freedom

You need to leave your hometown to realize how big the world is and how many different ways of life are out there. People have probably told you, “The world is your oyster.”

Well, it really is. Once you open your mind to the possibilities of moving and traveling, you can go wherever you want. Move like the wind.

Welcome change with open arms and live in whatever country, city, town or neighborhood that suits your rhythm and desires.

You’ll develop the social ease to walk into a party on your own and not even bat an eyelid

With the exception of the highly extroverted people among us, most people feel a certain sense of dread when they’re invited to attend a social occasion solo.

You worry you won’t know anyone and that you’ll feel uncomfortable, stuck talking to some weirdo. You'll end up getting way too drunk to compensate for all of the awkwardness.

Well, fear not. When you move to a new city, you end up going to so many parties alone that it will stop phasing you at all and you’ll become a pro at social interactions.

Before you know it, you’ll be able to initiate small talk, get a laugh, ask the right questions and politely excuse yourself from conversations with ease. Social anxiety will be a thing of the past.

You’ll have the chance to reinvent yourself

The great thing about starting afresh is that it allows you to leave your tired, cranky self behind and present the world with a whole new you. It presents you with time to rid yourself of bad habits and say goodbye to friends or lovers who no longer serve you.

Explore the hidden parts of your character, figure out how your ideal self would respond to each scenario and become the person you desire to be.

You’ll be able to do something crazy with your appearance without having any shocked reactions

Ever wanted a tattoo? Piercing? Drastic hair cut? When you move to a city where you don’t know a soul, you have the chance to make a new impression on each person you meet.

If you’ve always wanted to do something ballsy with your appearance, now’s the time. Change your look and create the style you want, without any disapproving glares from your parents.

You’ll be empowered to realize you only need to rely on yourself

During a solo relocation, you're left to sort things out for yourself, like find an apartment, get a job and negotiate your way around. You’ll be thrown into independence and forced to make it work; you’ll become a more resourceful, liberated person because of it.

Once you jump in and face your fears, you’ll realize everything is possible with a bit of hard work. After conquering a new city, you’ll feel a sense of empowerment to tackle everything else in life you’ve been too afraid to try.

You’ll feel your comfort zone widen drastically

We get it; your comfort zone is, well, comfortable, but when you move cities, things will be different.

You’ll have to re-learn your way around, figure out the public transit system and find a place to get a decent coffee. But, believe me when I say that even though things can be overwhelming in the beginning, you will acclimatize. Guaranteed.

Suddenly, what was once scary and unusual is now easy and stress-free, meaning more of the world is now within your comfort zone — win!

You’ll learn to enjoy your own company

If you’re someone who generally surrounds him or herself with friends and family, you may be surprised to learn that spending time alone can actually be pretty enjoyable.

Alone” does not necessarily mean “lonely” and with your own company, you can do exactly what you want, on your own timeline and budget. A solo move can be an important period of introspection that may allow you to reconnect with your individual thoughts, dreams and desires.

You’ll realize you have the ability to conquer your fears

Making a move to a new city challenges your fears and anxieties and gives life to that little voice inside your head that says, “What if I get lost? What if I get into trouble? What if I don’t make any friends?” Being afraid of the unknown is perfectly normal, but we shouldn’t let fear control our lives.

If you start to surrender to your fear of change, you’ll never push through the wall and discover that daring, courageous side of yourself. You must feed your adventurous spirit to survive.

You’ll find absence makes the heart grow fonder

Many people feel the impetus to move cities after some sort of negative experience (like losing a job or an awful breakup) to create a fresh start.

As clichéd as it is, absence really does make the heart grow fonder. No doubt, after a few months away, you’ll find yourself missing your friends and family back home.

Not only will this help you to appreciate your loved ones more, but you may also feel much more secure and content to settle down somewhere after a prolonged trip away to experience what the world has to offer.

You’ll grow and develop as a person

Perhaps one of the best takeaways from moving cities is the self-discovery you’ll have. The more you travel and live abroad, the more your priorities will shift and you won’t be able to help but learn about yourself along the way.

The choice to go out on a limb and take responsibility for your own life is an incredibly powerful experience. Taking your destiny into your own hands allows you to rediscover your dreams, desires and to shape the path in front of you.

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