Why You Should Move To A New City Where You Don’t Know A Single Soul
A while ago, I read an article published by Elite Daily called “Why You Should Move To A New City Where You Don’t Know A Single Soul”. The title seemed very intriguing and spoke to me. I had just, again, moved to a place I didn’t know anyone a few months ago and wanted to see if what the author wrote complied with my own experience. That’s why I decided to write a response to Elite Daily’s article from June 25.
You’ll make new friends who are refreshingly different from your old friends
I never had a problem moving to a place I hadn’t been before or didn’t know a single person. When I was 18, I first moved to a different city in Germany to go to college. After that, I went to Guangzhou for my 6-month internship and then moved to San Diego, California, to finish up my Bachelor’s degree. Now, I moved back to China, to Changsha in Hunan Province, without knowing anyone here either.
Every place I lived in, I met the most awesome friends. I made friends from all over the globe which opened my own mind and broadened my horizon. In my opinion, it’s important for people to try to fresh up who they converse with. You grow as a person, discover your own inner self much better and learn things about yourself you didn’t know had existed before.
You’ll be introduced to new and exciting ways to have fun
Each place on this earth is unique and people lead a different lifestyle in specific locations. In Germany, I used to go out on the weekends, meet friends in a cafe, go to beer festivals and enjoy a day at a thermal bath every once in a while with a friend. In Guangzhou, the lifestyle is much more different from that. I used to go out and do something almost every day. The city is impulsive. People shop, go sing karaoke and enjoy lots of different food.
Whereas in San Diego, people spend a great deal of their time outside at the beach surfing, sunbathing or swimming. People are more relaxed than elsewhere. I enjoyed BBQ parties, volleyball tournaments or walking around the boardwalks.
Each place on earth will lure you into its own lifestyle and there is no escape. You will always more or less adjust yourself to the unique way of life in a new place.
You’ll feel an overwhelming sense of freedom
I don’t think freedom has something to do with living in a place you have never been before. To me, it’s freedom when I live alone and can make my own decisions. I could do that living in my hometown as well. However, when you arrive in a new place, a sense of freedom overcomes you because of all the things mentioned above: the different lifestyle lets you experience new ways to spend you free time and new friends are refreshing. All those things affect the feeling of “freedom”.
You’ll develop the social ease to walk into a party on your own and not even bat an eyelid
Really? Honestly, I would not dare go to a party all by myself. However, I experienced a greater sense of self-confidence. When I first arrived in Guangzhou, I had this “F@uck it” attitude and did a lot of things without batting an eyelid. When I saw a cute guy, I just walked over and asked him for his number, when I saw a cute colorful dress I liked, I wore it, even though I would have never thought about it back home.
Living in a different city/country made me braver. I tried so many new things and have no regrets (mostly).
You’ll have the chance to reinvent yourself
Absolutely. I don’t know how much I changed since I first lived alone/abroad. My goals in life completely changed from the ones I had when I first decided to move out. I wear different clothes and have a different hair style. I talk differently and eat different things. My everyday life is much more different to the one I had just 2 years ago. Now, I listen to K- and Mando-Pop and enjoy going to Karaoke on the weekends. Who would have thought of that just 3 years ago?
You should always try out every possible way of “You”. Trying new things and change is not a bad thing. Just the contrary. It’s exciting and makes you grow as a person.
You’ll be empowered to realize you only need to rely on yourself
I agree 100%. Before I moved out, I didn’t even feel comfortable making my own dentist appointments. Now, just 4 years later, I managed to live in a different city in Germany, then China and also the US. During that time I could only rely on myself.
In China, I had to buy gas and electricity for my apartment at the local bureau. In San Diego, I had to deal crappy public transportation system without having a car. I managed to lead a happy lifestyle in foreign countries without or only little help of others.
Sure, it sometimes takes longer to find out how people deal with other things in another country but this shouldn’t let you down.
You’ll feel your comfort zone widen drastically
Especially when I moved to China my comfort zone had to widen drastically. I remember my first trip to Beijing when I was always looking for Western toilets to use the bathroom. Now, I can say I even peed in a public bathroom without doors.
It’s not only obvious things like this or food but also how to deal with people. People in San Diego are the masters of small talk and so strangers talked to me about god and the world every time I left the house. I opened up, and told them my story as well (not always accurate for safety reasons haha) and this is how I met a man in a San Diego trolley who told me I was the smartest person he had ever met (which is kind of weird…). I told him I was half German, half American and speak Chinese, lived in China etc. etc.
Living in China made my comfort zone widen dramatically as well due to the entirely different culture compared to Western countries. Especially personal space was an issue for me in the beginning since personal space is much smaller in China than in the West. People sometimes stand ass-to-ass with you on the metro and you just have to deal with it.
You’ll learn to enjoy your own company
Even though I love hanging out with friends, there are days when I enjoy nothing more but exploring the city/country on my own.
Being friends with locals when living in a foreign country is something you should definitely do but sometimes it feels good to do things by yourself to prove that you can do it without help.
You’ll realize you have the ability to conquer your fears
The first thing that comes to mind here is dealing with bugs, spiders and cockroaches or potential burglars in my apartment. I don’t know how many times I got up with a kitchen knife in my hand and dealt with some weird noises I heard that could have been potential burglars. Before, I would have peed my pants.
It’s not only things like this but also things that make you uncomfortable but you need to get used to in a different culture. Like I mentioned before, I was uncomfortable talking to people I didn’t know on the phone so I didn’t even make my own doctor’s appointments when I lived at home. Now, I overcame that fear because that’s what you need to deal with.
You’ll find absence makes the heart grow fonder
Living far away from friends and family is not easy. But it also reveals true friendship and love. Even though I rarely see my friends and family in Germany these days, we still keep a close relationship. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” is really a true quote. Being in a long-distance relationship also falls into this category.
All these long-distance relationships with family, friends or boyfriend are hard and require a lot of effort on each side but thinking of the next day we meet each other is a beautiful feeling.
You’ll grow and develop as a person
This is the ultimate result of all of the above mentioned points. In the end, the person I am today is a result of the past few years of my life living in a different city and different countries. All the experiences I made and the people I met made me grow and develop a new kind of me.
I can sincerely recommend anyone to go and live in another place at some point in their lives. If you are thinking about it right now, DO IT! Don’t wait! Now is the right time!
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