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8 Tips for Surviving a Move to the City

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If you've lived the majority of your life away from the clutches of a major metropolitan area, moving to a city can be overwhelming. Cities are notorious for being fast paced, so it's best to do your research on the area first so you can hit the ground running.

moving to the city

1. Adjust to the pace of the city

The pace of a big city usually intimidates people moving there for the first time. If you're used to a slower pace of life, it's easy to see how you might be immediately overwhelmed by a big city. Do your best to not get in others' way; the city sidewalks aren't the place you want to stop and smell the roses.

If you do feel like being leisurely or find the perfect photo-op on the side of a city street, do your best to be courteous to not obstruct passerby.

Even with how fast paced your new city will be, you'll be astonished at how fast you will adapt. After living in your new city for about a month, you'll be just as fast and active as the locals. Don't be afraid to ask your fellow city dwellers for directions and recommendations -- no one knows the city like they do. 

2. Know how to relieve your stress

In addition to being fast-paced, life in a big city can be stressful, too. A good way to escape this stress is to find something that will help you unwind at the end of a long and busy day. Find an outlet that you can turn to that will allow you to escape, albeit temporarily, from the fast-paced city life -- such as:

  • If you are artistically inclined, spend some time each day painting or writing creatively
  • Start writing in a journal to vent your frustrations and express your thoughts
  • Read a book or watch a favorite movie/television show
  • Take a stroll through the park for fresh air and to clear your mind, or you visit a museum or botanical garden.
  • Take up yoga for an active way to keep both your mind and your body up to par

Whatever your personal preferences, it's extremely beneficial to take a step back from all of the commotion every once in a while and do something that you enjoy.

3. Plan your move ahead of time

Moving to a big city is stressful enough on its own, but it's twice as stressful if you're forced to figure out where you're going to work or live while you're trying to adjust. It's best to make sure that you know exactly where you're headed before you make the move. Plan everything out -- secure a job as well as an apartment or house.

The first few weeks and months after you move will be a blur of activity, so having a steady source of income and a place to sleep are your biggest priorities.

4. Don't spend too much money

The cost of living as well as the rent for your apartment or condo will be significantly higher than what you would pay in a smaller rural town or suburb. The cost of food and entertainment will be higher as well, as will the prices at popular restaurants, movie theaters, concert venues and sporting events.

  • Manage your money wisely and keep a close eye on your expenses to avoid going broke
  • If you're a person who enjoys eating out, cut back to only eating out once or twice a week
  • Track your spending budget with various apps, so you can stay out of the red

5. Learn about public transportation

One of the biggest decisions you'll have to make when you move from a small town to a big city is whether or not you're going to keep your car. In most cities, the abundance of public transportation and lack of parking makes it much more beneficial for you to ditch your wheels. However, there are many factors for you to consider before you make this decision.

  • Consider where you work and what your commute is like. If you are working outside of the city and can't rely on public transportation to make your commute every day, then you'll need to keep your car.

  • Think about the expenses that come along with having a car in a city. In some major cities you'll find places to park your car near your apartment without having to pay. However, there are other cities that are decidedly not car-friendly.

  • A parking garage can typically cost a few hundred dollars a month - it's essentially like paying a second rent every month just to park your car.

When you compare these costs to the costs of obtaining a subway or bus pass, it's often easy to see why so many people who move to big cities choose to leave their cars behind.

Once you make the decision to use a car or not, you should familiarize yourself with your city's public transport. Along with learning the routes, you should also research when things get busy and almost unbearable. Try not to rely on just one mode of public transportation either. Types of public transportation you should consider taking are:

  • Buses
  • Trolleys
  • Trams
  • Trains
  • Rapid transit (metro, subway, ect.)
  • Ferries

Besides public transportation, there will be other ways of getting around a city. Besides walking on foot, one of the most popular ways to travel around a city is by taxi. If hailing a taxing isn't your thing, there are plenty of mobile apps for ride sharing (Think Uber or Lyft).

6. Connect with others in your new city

Moving to a new city is exciting. Leaving behind the restriction of your former routine and opening yourself up to new experiences, places and people is as rejuvenating as it is scary. However, if you don't know anyone in your new city, establishing a social life can be daunting.

  • Don't fear rejection: When you move to a new city, you may feel uncomfortable, alienated and alone. The thought of making an effort to form new friendships is intimidating and can feel awkward and forced as an adult.

    However, every gain requires some risk, and the best way to meet new friends is to stop worrying about it so much. Allowing the fear of rejection to deter you will crush many opportunities to connect with potential pals. Don't be afraid to approach others, strike up a conversation or make plans.

  • Use social media: Social media is an excellent tool for meeting people, especially when you are new to an area. There are various groups on Facebook and other interactive outlets for newcomers to different cities to converse and form friendships.

    Remeber that you should always be wary when meeting strangers online so set a public place for your first get together.

  • Be open-minded: You may have pre-conceived notions of what kind of people you want as friends, but it's a good idea to keep your options open. While it's important for a prospective friend to click with you and have qualities you value, some of the most rewarding friendships are between people who differ greatly.

    Plus, if you are in a new city, locals may lead starkly contrasting lifestyles to what you are accustomed and have very different beliefs and attitudes. To facilitate the friend-making process and expose yourself to as many opportunities as possible, initiate interaction with all kinds of people.

  • Follow-up: Once you make some acquaintances or engage in some friendly conversation with a stranger, be sure to take it to the next level. Ask for contact information and make plans to get together. If you already left, send a friendly email or text to follow-up and make future arrangements.

    While initiating contact is a major step in making friends, keeping in touch is imperative for forming closer, long-lasting relationships. However, over time, if you are always the only one reaching out, look for others who will reciprocate your efforts.

7. Join a club to meet others with similar interests

To meets others with similar interests, join a club, class or other organization. Looking for a fitness buddy? Sign up for a local gym membership. Are you an animal lover? Volunteer at your nearest shelter.

If you are introverted, choose an activity that requires more conversation with others. For example, going to the gym calls for minimal interaction. Shy friend-seekers should opt for friendlier atmospheres that are easier to strike up a conversation, such as a cooking class or softball team.

8. Go out alone to familiarize yourself with the city

You're not going to make friends sitting on your couch in your sweatpants. Get out there and explore your new city. Visit local bars, coffee shops, bookstores and restaurants.

Visit the same places frequently; you'll find that you're not the only regular at these establishments. Make eye contact, smile and strike up conversations with familiar faces. These days, most people are so consumed with their smart phones and other gadgets that they hardly notice one another anymore. They will likely appreciate your refreshing friendliness.

Of course you can Google yourself around your new town, searching the Internet for local hot spots, but why leave it up to the net to create your destiny?

Rather, get to know your new city in more unconventional ways. Imagine your new locale as a labyrinth and have fun learning your way around, creating points of reference in the new region by creatively exploring the environment.

  • Have a scavenger hunt: Make getting to know your new municipality a game by having a scavenger hunt with your significant other or family members. Create a simple list of not-too-hard-to-find items and allot plenty of time to find your items about town. You are sure to see several spots during your search you will want to frequent again, now remembering their approximate location from your hunt.

  • Go running: Get some exercise and check out your new neighborhood at the same time. Visit different, safe locations in your new city and run or walk for a few miles, paying close attention to the area. You can also use this as an excuse to try out some public transportation routes.

  • Volunteer: There is no better way to root yourself in your new region rather than volunteering your time. There are thousands of North American non-profits waiting for your help. Lend a helping hand in your new community where fellow citizens may need assistance. No matter where you give your time, you are bound to get to know the borders of your town better by working among locals who will really appreciate your help.

  • Hangout at the rec center: You don't have to have a teenager to hang out at the local recreation center. Almost every town has such a facility where children, teenagers and adults can get involved in a little fun. Quite often, the recreation center is the hub for many community-wide activities that bring locals together under the same roof.

Scott Myers  Posted by Scott Myers on October 18, 2018

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