Relocating To A City Where You Don’t Know Anyone Is Like Permanent Traveling

Relocating To A City Where You Don't Know Anyone Is Like Permanent Traveling

“My favorite part of traveling is being thrown into a new environment where you don’t know anyone, can barely speak the language, and you have to navigate through it all,” my coworker exclaimed.

“Yes, exactly!” I chimed in.

“That’s kind of what you did, didn’t you? You moved to a new city where you don’t know a soul, and you took on a new job where you are learning a brand new process. You’re kind of permanently traveling,” He said.

Those words resonated deeply at that moment. I never though of my move in those terms. I grew up in one town for 32 years and uprooted everything I had and moved away from everyone I knew for a job. The exact things that I love about traveling were the day-to-day things I was now experiencing. It was thrilling, exciting and terrifying. I was loving every minute of it!

As with traveling, my move brought some struggles and a ton of personal growth. Changing from a comfort zone you’ve known for over 30 years to a complete unknown leaves one relearning how to navigate daily life. Turns out things that came easier as a child can be much harder as an adult.

It’s really hard to meet friends as an adult. 

How do you meet friends growing up? In school, right? So what happens when you move to a new town and you aren’t in school anymore. Sometimes you can make long lasting friendships with your coworkers. In my case, I was considered part of the new generation coming in surrounded by those on their way to retirement. Out of 500 employees, only two others were in my age group. So how do you meet friends? You have to put yourself out there. Kind of intimidating as an adult. Especially if you are more on the introvert side of things like I am. I started with If you haven’t heard of the website before, it’s a place where groups with common interests can meet. I joined a hiking group, a group of girls in their 30’s, and a book club group. I also found the Young Professionals Networking Group. They are in most major cities as well and include professionals from late 20’s to late 30’s. So how does it work? You show up. You introduce yourself. You see if you click with anyone, and then you have to follow up. Not going to lie, it’s really weird. As an adult you meet someone and sort of think “Hey I like you. I want to be friends,” and then you make an effort to be friends with this person. The good part is they are doing the same thing too, so at least you’re in it together!

You put extra miles on your car and get lost.

When you move to a place you’ve never been before, you spend a lot of time exploring. All the sudden driving an hour either direction to check out a new town or fun hot-spot doesn’t seem so long. It’s all new and exciting and you want to experience it. You also get lost a lot. Even with GPS. There are many times I’ve thought I knew where I was going and ended up having to backtrack a bit. Not knowing the area like the back of your hand can be challenging, but also a lot of fun!

You spend a lot of time alone.

Like a lot, a lot. Back home I always had a ton of options. I always knew what my friends were up to, what events were taking place, and could pick up the phone at any moment and find someone to hang out with. When you move to a town and don’t know anyone, things shift a bit. There are some nights where it’s a little lonely. You spend a lot of time in you own head. Over time things begin to shift and as you meet people your life starts to take shape in this new place you call home. Now don’t get me wrong. I will always get a sense of home when I go back to where I grew up to visit family and friends. But I will never forget when the shift happened and I finally started to see this city as my home. I found a sense of belonging and now I can’t imagine ever leaving.

The amount of personal growth you gain is indescribable. 

Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone, being thrown into the unfamiliar, and trying to convince other people that you are a cool person to hang out with is one hell of a whirlwind. I promise you in the end, you will gain so much from the experience. You learn about yourself. You learn what you want in a friend, what you don’t want, and what kind of friend you want to be. You learn that you can survive and find your way in a new place without help from family and friends. In a way you really find your voice. You find your perspective and you shape your life. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had to date and I would not change it for the world. All the scary or uneasy parts in the beginning, only paved the way to the pure happiness I enjoy now. That right there, makes it all worth it.

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  1. That’s great insight. I can definitely see how it could be difficult and lonely at times when moving to a totally new place.

    xo Jannine

  2. Moving to a new city and not knowing anyone sounds terrifying to me! I’m sure that in the end it would be a great learning experience though!

    1. Definitely a learning experience!

  3. I totally agree that it is hard to make friends as an adult. I never know if I’m going to vibe with someone or if we have the same interests. Sometimes, it’s hard to put myself out there but I try.


    1. It is hard. It’s weird as an adult to be forward and tell someone you want to be friends, but if you don’t make the effort it won’t happen.

  4. I loved this article. It is scary, but it is such a growing experience. Keep it up girl. Can’t wait for your next article! :o)

    1. Thank you!

  5. Wonderful advice! Loved reading this post and hearing your story!

  6. Omg I wrote a blog post on the same thing the other day. I moved away and felt like (and still do) that I’m permanently traveling!

    1. Love shared experiences!!

  7. I love this insight! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  8. I loved this article. After I graduate from college this coming year, I’ll be relocating to a new city away from all my friends, including my SO. So scared but excited to start a new chapter, I’ll definitely be coming back to this page for tips.

    1. It is scary at first, but oh so worth it! I’m happy to answer any questions you have too.

  9. What a great read this is! The idea of moving somewhere unfamiliar seems so scary, yet very exciting since you’re starting a fresh new life with so many possibilities.

  10. I have spent only around 12 years in one small town but moving to a city was the best thing I did. It was some kind of milestone in my life and after that I really started changing as a person. 🙂

  11. Love this! Moving to a new city alone is scary but also incredibly rewarding. I loved it when I moved from the Midwest to DC and am loving it years later!

    1. That’s awesome!

  12. I find myself having SO MUCH trouble making new friends, in a new town as an adult.

    1. It’s hard! Took me awhile to get used to putting myself out there.

  13. I can so relate to this! I am over 2,000 miles away from home and it is really challenging to find friends as an adult.

  14. Great post! I know it’s not the exactly the same, but I’ve had this situation when I went to college. like you said in school it’s easy making friends, I’ve had some bad luck in that department. So new town, and trying to find friends that i connect with!

  15. This is so true! Im a military spouse and spend every 2 years meeting new people and starting life over somewhere else. Honestly, we have been in Miami a year and I still don’t have “friends” it really is much harder as an adult as we don’t really have time to spend on the playground or exchange snacks lol Great post!

  16. I had recently moved to a new city, it was scary but I started focusing on self growth and development. Once I figured out what I wanted, I set goals and slowly worked towards those goals. Whether it meant trying to get fit and joining a gym or exploring the city on my own. It has been an amazing experience and so empowering.

  17. Thank you for this post. Even though I’m still in school, college seems like a much more scary place to make new friends. Hopefully everything will work out!

  18. What a great life and outlook! 🙂 I’ve moved 7 times in 8 years of marriage (maybe a dozen times before that) — we always knew people where we were going, so it wasn’t quite as adventurous 😉 but it is wonderful to be expanded, challenged, and inspired by all the newness!

  19. I can relate to this article! My husband moved a few years ago and we are only now making some friends. It truly is hard to make friends as an adult. I am very introverted and the idea of socializing with other people gives me anxiety, which is probably why it took so long. My husband isn’t fazed by the idea of not having friends, but I need to have friends, because life is hard and it is great to have a supportive group of people in your corner. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts on this–I enjoyed it very much.

  20. I’m discussing with my work about relocating to the US from Scotland. Extremely daunted by the prospect of moving my whole family but also excited at the exploring of a new place! Thanks for the tips, will keep those in mind.

  21. Really enjoyed reading this post. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the importance of doing things alone, in order to get out of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself. Totally agree with you on that 🙂

  22. Great post, and these are all totally true! I’ve lived in one place basically my whole life, but I can imagine this would be hard.

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