Now you’ve made the decision that it’s time for the big move and you’ve begun thinking about what your life will be like once you get there. Here’s what I’ve learnt about getting the most out of your time after moving to a new city.
Get a share house
While it is no easy thing to move in with a bunch of strangers, it is super helpful to have a group of people who know the city and have connections there. There’s no better way to get to a know a place then to get to know it’s people and experience their everyday lives. A share house also means that you share the rent, which relieves some of the financial burden. Of course, this isn’t to say that you should just move in with just anyone, it’s important to make sure their are not any obvious personality clashes, but even if it’s just for the first few months, move in with some locals while you find your feet.
Don’t be shy
If you’re a quieter person like me, I bet you’re bloody sick of hearing people tell you not to be shy. They assume that just because you’re not non-stop talking you must have social fear. Nevertheless, it’s pretty difficult to make new friends if you don’t give them something of yourself. It is often worth going through the pain of smalltalk in order to move towards a more meaningful interaction. Be curious, ask people questions and show genuine interest in their lives. Use your secret introvert weapon of excellent listening skills to seal the deal and you will have a bunch of new friends in no time.
Go places on your own
A rookie mistake that I made when I first moved to the city is that I was too insecure to go to events, bars and sights on my own. I missed out on many great experiences because I couldn’t find anyone to tag along with. This was largely a confidence problem, which I managed to overcome after growing up a bit and having more experiences. No one is going to think you’re weird if you take yourself out somewhere. Realistically, no one will give you a second glance in a city, they have other things on their mind. Do not hesitate to go out and experience a place on your own. You might make friends with other solo wanderers on the way!
Join the nearest knitting group, footy team and book club. Actively seek out other people with similar interests to yours. Heck, even seek out people with completely different interests to yours! Pursue that hobby you love, volunteer for a charity and go for that dream job. Get out there, meet people and work on projects with them. The best way to get to know a place is to immerse yourself in it and you can’t do this by staying home on your own (as tempting as it may be to do so).
Did you know that four-year old are the most curious demographic, asking an incredible 390 questions per day? This means that they ask a question every 1 minute 56 seconds of their waking hours. I think there’s something that we can learn from this. Child-like inquisitiveness shows an engagement with life and a desire to learn. Imagine how much more we would know and understand if we that many questions! Asking others about their lives and culture can be a great way to get to know someone and people generally like to talk about themselves. It’s a win-win! Aiming for 390 questions may be setting the bar unrealistically high, but asking more questions can be hugely helpful when you’re settling into a new environment.
Go out and explore. Try new food. Actively seek out the unique quirks of every place. Throw your plan out the window and get lost. Be spontaneous. Go with the flow. Follow your whims. Get out of your comfort zone. What more can I say?
Find the Quiet
Something I love doing is looking for the quiet, peaceful places in amongst the rush of the city. In Melbourne, the beautiful State Library is my haven. Also look for parks, museums and religious centres and find where people are escaping from the rush and looking for somewhere to read a book, sit and think, or just to simply be still and allow it all to sink in.
Take out the headphones. Find a spot to sit. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of this place. Are there people having conversations as they walk past you? Is that ringing an ice-cream shop or an ambulance? Can you hear any birds singing? Listening is a highly valuable skill of an introvert and can be a very entertaining way of getting acquainted with somewhere new.
Shut your book. Find a nice spot in a cafe on a busy street. Spend the afternoon observing the people who walk by. Notice what they’re wearing and how they are moving. Look at their facial expressions. Are they with other people or alone? Where are they going? Do you think they’ve had a good or bad day? What might their life story be? Have they ever tried pistachio ice-cream? Are they also new to this city? People watching never gets boring, and it’s a great way to get to know a place a little better.
This is not something I am good at. Especially when the bus is late. However, patience is a necessary virtue and we should all work harder to cultivate because it makes life much more peaceful. Imagine if we could just let go of the frustration that ensues when we have to wait in a queue for excessive amounts of time. I think I would be much happier and would get more out of my experiences. There is no point getting caught up in inconveniences outside of our control, and these are something you are likely to encounter in the city.
Moving somewhere new brings lots of challenges, and there will be times where it will get you down and you’ll feel lost and you’ll feel like you have no friends and you’ll wonder why you started it all in the first place. But don’t give up! You’ll get through it and you’ll be so proud of yourself for persevering. See challenges as opportunities for personal growth instead of obstructions to reaching your goals.
Know when to take a time out
A key part of being an introvert is being particularly sensitive to external stimuli (See Quiet by Susan Cain). This means that we need to take alone time to recharge in quiet places to avoid becoming overwhelmed by it all. It’s important to have the self-awareness to realise when it’s time to recharge and don’t try to push yourself when you have not got the energy left in you. Being an introvert does not mean you can’t have adventures. Make your adventure your own and let it fit your unique personality and lifestyle.