It was four of the longest, yet most exciting days of my life. I drove my Civic, and my mom tackled the Penske truck as we made our way from Indiana's fields to the arid desert of Arizona. Leaving my mid-sized Indiana hometown to take a job 2,000 miles away in Phoenix, Arizona was the best thing I could've ever done for myself.
Moving away from the family and friends you know and love can be intimidating, no matter the distance. It's frightening to think of the comfort you're leaving for a host of unknowns. You'll be as anxious as you are excited about the uncertainty of your future.
But, I can promise you that you won't regret it. You'll have more life-altering experiences and leave your comfort zone more times than you ever thought possible. Even if you end up moving back home after a short period of time, you should still take the career opportunity that takes you far away from everything you know.
Here are the reasons why:
1. You'll advance your career.
It may not be obvious now, but taking that job across the country will do wonders for your career. Whether or not it's a promotion, accepting the job will show your future employers you're willing to take the necessary risks and do whatever it takes to succeed in your field.
You'll also add a host of new skills to your resume, and you'll gain experience by working with a variety of people who are different from what you're used to.
2. You'll experience new things.
I had never hiked a day in my life while growing up in Indiana. But, I quickly found out that a love for the outdoors is something a majority of those in Arizona share. So, I decided to give hiking a try. I fell in love with something new.
Since then, I've hiked about four different mountains, tackled the Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls and have many more escapades planned. Living somewhere new encourages you to have an open mind and to try new things. This will make you a more cultured and well-rounded individual.
3. You'll travel to exciting places.
While living in Indiana, I only made it out west once, when my family went to San Francisco for a week. Within my first year of living in Arizona, I saw the Grand Canyon five times, visited Vegas twice, spent a weekend in LA and made my first trip to Disneyland.
Moving someplace different means new and exciting places will be within your reach. Never could I have been able to afford to fly to the Grand Canyon five times in a year while living in Indiana. But by accepting that job across the country, I got to see all those wonderful places and (affordably) experience everything the beautiful region had to offer.
4. You'll be happier.
A decision this big will have as many pros as it does cons. Sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith. If you end up loving the new job and new city, you'll be glad you uprooted your life. If you hate everything, you can always move back home. At least you found out what was waiting for you.
You can't live your life for fear over the "what ifs." If you never take the leap, you'll never know what experiences you might be missing out on.
5. You'll learn to live for yourself.
I won't pretend being so far from family and friends doesn't hurt. I've missed family birthdays, get-togethers, weddings and the birth of a best friend's baby. It's hard not to miss those things.
But, the one good thing about being away from it all is the fact that I've learned to live for myself. I'm not planning my weekend around someone's birthday, or my next vacation around a friend's wedding. I've learned how to make decisions based on my own schedule. I've learned what it means to be independent, and how wonderfully empowering it is.
I wish I could tell you this whole endeavor was easy to do. I wish I could tell you that taking a job thousands of miles away from loved ones isn't as hard as it seems.
But to be honest, it was the hardest thing I've ever done. But, as Douglas Malloch so eloquently put it, "Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger wind, the stronger trees."
Hardship makes us stronger. Making difficult decisions builds character by encouraging us to trust our instincts and let go of the fear that's holding us back. If you haven't already, you'll find that nothing worth doing is ever easy.