Do you have dreams of moving to the big city?
Leaving the comforts of a small town for big-city life can seem daunting. But take it from my experience — sometimes it's a risk that can come with some amazing benefits.
What's been holding you back from your dream?
Most of my family and friends thought I was crazy when I decided to move from the tiny town where I grew up to teach in an inner city five hours away. Why not find a job closer to home? Why leave for a place where I knew absolutely no one?
While I knew the big move wasn't going to be easy, I also believed it was time to face my fears and make a change. As author Neale Donald Walsch once said, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."
So, if you're thinking about escaping small town life for the big city, I'm here to tell you that it can lead to some amazing life experiences. But it's important to know what to expect before you make one of the biggest decisions of your life.
Once you understand the benefits and drawbacks of moving from a small town to a big city, you'll have a better idea of whether or not it's the right step for you.
Get Ready to Be Uncomfortable
Any major life change is going to be scary. While moving to a big city sounds exciting and full of possibilities (e.g. new restaurants and entertainment options), it also means:
Finding affordable housing
Adjusting to a brand-new environment
Building a whole new social circle
Figuring out where you "fit in"
Yes, there are plenty of concerns you might have about leaving your comfort zone, especially if you're doing it alone. But take it from a small-town girl who's been there before — you can do this successfully if it's what your heart truly desires.
All you need is a plan and a positive mindset, and you're ready for your next big adventure!
Learn to Live on a Budget
Moving to a new city comes with lots of benefits — more career opportunities, cultural diversity, a wider array of dining and entertainment options, and the list goes on!
However, the cost of city living is typically higher than in a small town. So, it's important to have a budget AND stick to it. Moving to the city was the first time I had ever lived alone and had a budget, so here are a few tips and tricks I learned along the way:
Tip #1: Prepare before the big move
If you already have a job lined up in your new city, take a look at your monthly take-home pay to estimate what type of housing you can afford.
Using a budgeting tool to track your monthly expenses will help you determine your average living costs and even find areas where you can save money.
Tip #2: Prioritize the necessities
Living on a budget will inevitably come with some sacrifices. For instance, if you'd like to use the weekends to explore new restaurants and local attractions, try cooking at home during the week.
Cut out unnecessary subscription services, and use public transportation when you can. Consider shopping at local thrift shops and discount stores instead of buying new furniture, household goods, and clothing.
Tip #3: Explore free fun
Going out to meet people can become expensive very fast. So, I recommend joining a meetup group where you can find people with similar interests, most of whom are also new to the area and living on a budget.
And if that's not for you, check out local museums, parks, and other free or low-cost options that allow you to have fun without breaking the bank.
Learning to budget your money while exploring a new city takes time, but it will give you peace of mind and help you prepare for the future.
Embrace the Change
So, you've found a place to live. Now what? That's where the real adventure begins. It's time to explore the area and get acquainted with your new surroundings.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to adapt to life in your new city:
Learn the public transportation system. This will help you navigate the layout of the city and allow you to find local attractions, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Explore your new neighborhood. Take a walk around to familiarize yourself with local hangouts and maybe even meet some of your neighbors.
Get involved in your community. Finding a local organization to volunteer with can help you make new friends and feel more connected to your neighborhood.
Stay open-minded. Embrace this new adventure and be willing to try something new. You'll not only learn a new city but also learn something new about yourself.
Remember that it's perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed and even a little homesick in the beginning. However, once you begin to build a comfortable living space and become familiar with your new surroundings, you will feel much more at home and gain a sense of belonging.
Theo just arrived in San Diego for his first job out of college. He's feeling lonely and overwhelmed with the big move. What could he do to feel more at home?
Making Your Move
Moving from a small town to a big city is a huge change, but just like I did, you can leave your comfort zone and embark on a new adventure with a little bit of planning and the right attitude.