Starting over in a different place is more than just having a change of scenery. Moving to a new city alone and making new friends may feel like an adventure. However, for most people, that feeling tends to vanish as soon as they settle inside their new home. They suddenly realize they don’t have a favourite place to order takeout from or a café where the barista already knows their order.
The prospect of moving to a new city with no friends can be both liberating and daunting at the same time. Leaving your home and creating a new one in a city full of strangers can be an important turning point in your life. It doesn’t matter if you have relocated because of your job, moved with your family or simply wanted to start over in a new place. Travel (in any way or form) always provides an opportunity to grow, reinvent and learn more about yourself. It allows you to gain new experiences and make new connections.
However, you can’t get acclimated to your new surroundings and find a comfortable routine without being attentive and making some conscious behavioural choices. After moving to a new city, you’ll need to make some commitments. You also need to have the right attitude and invest your precious time to build new relationships.
At first, adjusting in a new city might seem frustrating or even scary. But you’ll soon find a favourite bookstore, restaurant, coffee place and whatnot, along with a couple of good people whom you can call friends.
Firstly, you need to unpack all of your bags and decorate your new home to your liking. The most essential part of starting over is being comfortable in one’s own setting.
Once you have made the place your own, there is a huge possibility you don’t have any concrete plans for the next few days or even weeks. Instead of sitting at home watching TV, here are some tips that would make it easier for you to start a new life in a new city.
Mailing address and subscriptions
It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s one of the biggest steps of starting over in a new city. It doesn’t matter if your move is permanent or temporary. If there is no one living at your old residence anymore, cancel all the subscriptions for cable, magazines and newspapers.
Contact a cable company in your new area to get another connection. Morover, update your bank details with your new address so you don’t miss out on any confidential mail.
Find a new doctor
You can’t feel comfortable unless you feel safe. In case of any medical emergencies, you need to know the location of the nearest hospital and the number for the local ambulance service.
One of the most important tips for starting over in a new city is to find a good doctor and a dentist, preferably in your vicinity. This will undoubtedly take some time but you need to start your search as soon as you settle in. If you don’t have any relatives or friends living in your new city, ask your neighbours or go online.
Have tea with your new neighbours
This is one of the most important parts of starting over in a new city.
You have to make a conscious effort to learn more about your next-door-neighbours. Once you are done decorating and settling in your new home, visit them with a box of food or some fruits and introduce yourself. You can also invite them over for tea.
If your neighbours have been living in the same area for a couple of years, ask them to recommend nearby shops, eateries and parks. If they tell you about an event that’s taking place in your new neighbourhood, make sure to check it out as it might help you meet other residents. However, don’t get too dependent on your neighbours and try exploring places on your own as well.
Be a tourist for a day
There is nothing wrong with acting like a tourist for a day. If you are completely unfamiliar with your new surroundings, take out your camera, pick up your phone, put on your sunglasses and pay a visit to all of the major tourist attractions the city has to offer.
Use Google Maps or another similar application to get around by yourself. This will not only help you get familiar with the culture but also make it easier for you to learn new routes. You also need to figure out which landmarks are closest to your new residence in case you ever get lost.
Look for a good hang out spot
One of the basic rules of travelling is to eat like the locals. While you should definitely go online and check out the most reviewed restaurants in the city, also pay attention to places that might not have a big online presence but have locals lined up in front of them.
Moving to a new place allows you to explore new things. If there is a small eatery in your neighbourhood that sees a lot of customers throughout the day, go there during lunch hours. You can find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.
Moreover, look for good places to hang out with or without friends. It could be cosy café, a restaurant or a library. A big part of starting over in a new city is learning how to be self-dependent and surviving on your own.
So, if you come across a place that seems like a good place to hang out occasionally, note it down.
Look for a job
The best thing about work is that it comes with its own built-in group of acquaintances. If you have moved to a new city for a job, things might pick up for you quickly. You’ll have your new colleagues to ask for recommendations and suggestions.
Starting over in a new city and making friends, even in a professional setting, can take some time. If you have a job where you don’t get to interact much with others, you can always invite your workmates to try out a recently opened restaurant. You can even hold semi-regular get-togethers at a nearby cafe to get to know your fellow workers. If you are done decorating your new house, consider throwing a housewarming party.
Socializing in a new city is never easy. If you aren’t very social and don’t feel comfortable asking your colleagues for a quick lunch or an evening coffee, take the other route and join them for lunch. Of course, make sure you don’t impose yourself on others. But if someone invites you to a work outing, do not turn it down.
However, if you have moved to a new city without a job or aren’t looking for one, consider joining a volunteer program.
Enrol in a short course
Learning a new skill is never a bad idea. Apart from helping you redefine your career path, it can also help you learn more about your abilities and limitations. If you don’t have any work commitments, consider enrolling in a short course in your new city.
It can be anything that stirs your interest – like graphic designing or interior decoration, for instance. Just make sure you don’t take the online route. While it mostly costs the same, if there is an institution near your house, opt to take classes there physically. It will help you form new connections and meet new people.
Check out online communities
There is a Facebook group for everything. If you have moved abroad, look for an online community dedicated to expats. If you have relocated within Pakistan, drop a query on any Facebook group you are a member of and see suggestions pour in.
You can even meet others who are either going through or have recently gone through the whole process of starting over in a new city. In addition to that, you can also float the idea for a meet up at a public place. While you probably won’t like everyone who shows up, there is bound to be someone you could become friends with. This will also increase your social circle and help build your network.
Join a fitness class
Make health and wellness your priority after relocating to a new place. Sign up for a yoga class, take up swimming or simply join a gym near your new house.
If there is a park in the neighbourhood, take some out for an evening walk and go for a stroll every day. It’ll help curb the anxiety that comes with moving to a new place. Moreover, it will make you a familiar face in the neighbourhood, which will go a long way in helping you settle into your new community.
If you opt for a fitness class, you’ll also be able to meet like-minded people who most likely live nearby.
Meet friends of friends
If you are going out to eat, feel free to ask your friends to invite their friends. If your work acquaintances invite you to hang out with their friends, aka people you haven’t met before, don’t be afraid to tag along and maybe even plan a lunch with them. However, the key is to not force your company over others. Join people only if you feel invited.
Moving to a new city and getting settled in requires a lot of time and patience. Hopefully, these tips will help you start over and ease your transition into your new surroundings.