Getting Established in a New City: 3 Easy Steps
Updated: May 3
Moving, establishing yourself and/or family in a new city and embracing the unknown is an adventure that is colored by excitement and anxiety. Your life is packing up and shifting somewhere foreign and I can totally relate if that's happening to you—I've had my fair share and have more on the horizon (life of a pilot spouse).
My first international move was a huge adjustment and I struggled to 'settle'.
I had no family, no friends (one friend) and the primary language wasn't English. This is a drastic example, but still, I couldn't quite fit into the groove of my new city. It didn't feel like home and besides working daily, it took ages to settle in and relax. It was the first move of many.
I now live in the USA and I've moved to 3 states in the last 8 months (job of husband) and I've learned a few things, some 'tricks up my sleeve' if you will. I've called them 'steps to getting established in a new city' because in order to settle, these steps need to be conquered.
In that first move, I was restless for months (and months) and wasted time setting up routines and wasn't really living. I used all my energy exploring but I had moved there, I wasn't just a tourist. There was no balance. I was warned by a friend that I wouldn't feel at home until I did what I used to love doing back at home—finding a favorite grocery store, joining a gym, finding my go-to cafe and preparing meals at home.
Did I listen to the advise? Nope. Not for a long time anyway.
Now, I'm not going to tell you I learned from my mistake the next time around. I didn't.
It took a few more (of the exact same mistake).
Judge me if you will but here it is: only now, ONLY IN THIS RECENT MOVE HAVE I LISTENED TO AND ACTUALLY APPLIED MY OWN (AND SAID FRIEND'S) ADVISE (those seemingly obvious steps we know in our head yet do nothing about) AND, EUREKA, IT'S WORKING!
It can for you too.
Here are 3 steps to focus on asap
Yes, permission to play tourist.
I am an avid Googler (aren’t we all?!). Google the hot spots in the city/town/new area. Then, explore in real life.
Visit the landmarks, try out the class for a hobby you enjoy, develop an opinion for yourself, take public transport or drive around and get a feel of the streets, become familiar with main roads you’ll be using and outlying areas.
Be the tourist, explore and adventure until you’ve seen it all (or at least start). But don't stop there.
Hot tip: Most cities have a monthly/seasonal magazine at their information or tourist center. If you fine one, they can be insightful and present a variety of activities you didn’t know were happening. Take advantage.
2. Reach out to the community
Look on Facebook (city-specific groups abound), ask for recommendations, use Google reviews or Yelp and set up the staples in your life.
Whether it’s fitness, church, finding the right grocery store, a good hair salon or spa or locating the nearest dog park, decide which is for you, try it out and see if there’s a fit.
These staples are the comfortable places you will keep coming back to that will make you feel more at home.
3. Get into a routine
JUMP into a routine. Now that you’ve done some exploring and reached out to the community, make a list of all the tasks you usually schedule in your week and prioritize them. Work that calendar!
Some people have a morning routine before school/work that helps keep them centered, like waking early, exercising and eating a wholesome breakfast. If that's you, set the alarm, put out your workout gear the night before and have breakfast items handy (so you don't swallow breakfast burritos on the go).
Others have a workout routine that is stable after school/work, the need to visit the grocery store and stock up on ingredients to cook at home. For some, meal prepping for the week, rather that eating out or grabbing whatever they can find, is essential. Others schedule in reading/Netflix/spouse time before bed (all me, me, me!).
If you work from home, set up your space, whether it be a desk, creative room or clean space that's totally yours to think, brainstorm, plan and execute!
*Please note this advise isn't restricted to city moves (if you are going to a new town, area, etc, you're included).
There are three simple steps to get you on your way—just begin. Don't waste time. You can get established anywhere you want if you have a positive mindset and determination.
I believe in you and this will be you.