Got itchy feet and think it’s time to try to live somewhere new? Visited another city and love the feel of it? Fallen in love and it could be time to take the plunge and move in? Great job offer, but it’s in a different city?
There are wonderful cities around the world, all brimming with possibilities and potential. And it’s not just the internationally famous cities like London, Paris and New York that are prime destinations, each city in each country will have its own character and benefits (and disadvantages).
Just as there are hundreds of cities, there are countless reasons why you might consider moving to a new city, sometimes it’s a pipe-dream, or will come down to how adventurous or nomadic you are.
So how do you know that you’re ready to make the big move? Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself to see if moving to a new city is right for you. Of course, each question leads to many more questions, but the more you examine your motives and the possibilities, the more prepared you’ll be and the more likely your move to a new city will be a success.
1. Why do you want to move to this particular city?
This is a pretty big question. Be honest with yourself, what is really drawing you to try something else? Have you had a weekend in New York and loved every moment? Imagine realistically what living in your new city might be like – real life generally means that you can’t party all the time! And the city the tourist experiences can be very different to what someone living there will see.
But if you can penetrate the tourist gloss and still love what you see, then this could be a really great possibility.
Moving to a new city can be much easier if there is a special person waiting for you. But make the move for you, not for them. Relationships don’t always last and you don’t want to be stranded in a city you didn’t want to live in in the first place.
2. What are you losing if you leave?
Along with the excitement of everything a new city can offer, you’re also going to be leaving a lot behind. This could be friends and family, colleagues, your favourite bar, your local sports team and the easy familiarity of living somewhere you know. Sometimes it’s a little more abstract – It could be the smell, the community spirit or the local dish. Don’t let these things stop you, just take some time to reflect and imagine how you might cope without them being on your doorstep. There’s Facetime and Skype, new shops, a new work challenge and new friends to make in a new city. People’s situations can change very quickly so while you’re making up your mind your local friends could have already moved themselves.
Of course, you may just want to leave some of those things behind – bad relationships, a job you hate, a place you’ve outgrown – all good reasons to consider leaving, but make sure you’re not just running away. Sometimes moving cities only moves your troubles, no solve them.
3. Are you looking for a new work challenge that could be available in another city?
Unless you’ve got a large pot of savings, you’re going to need to find new work before you move. Does the new city have plenty of work potential? It may actually provide your perfect job opportunity, especially if the work you seek is in a niche industry that isn’t provided for in many places.
If you’ve already been offered a job in another city, take time to check out the city and its potential as somewhere to live – Get a feel for it on StreetView in Google Maps, check out TripAdvisor for things to do and look up YouTube review videos.
4. Have you ever lived anywhere other than your current city?
If the answer is no, that could be all you need to know that it’s time to move to a new city. Lots of people spend their entire lives living in the same town and may not even travel further than 100 miles away. But the world is a huge, exciting place and if you don’t get out and explore it, you’ll never know what you’re missing. Moving to a new city could be the start of discovering what the world has to offer.
But if the answer is yes, then ask yourself what you liked about those cities – the food? The people? The weather?
5. Have you stopped having fun where you live?
Don’t underestimate the importance of having some fun where you live. Not everything in life has to be serious, sensible and considered. If you are still having a great time, there is nothing wrong with continuing to have fun. But if malaise and boredom has set it then that’s a sign that you’ve outgrown where you live and it could be time to move on and try somewhere new.
6. Are you adventurous enough to try a new city?
To be honest, it takes quite a bit of courage to move to a new city, find your way around and make new friends. You need to be brave enough to cope with the potential of finding yourself a bit lost and lonely for a little while and have the nerve to make mistakes, explore and get to know people. It can take about a year of feeling like you don’t belong (in the old city or the new city) before you settle down and really start feeling at home. If you’re prepared to accept that, then your move will be much easier.
7. Does your family want to move?
If you have a family this is a big one to consider. Who wants to move and who doesn’t? If you and your partner are united in the desire to move then it’s easier to sell the concept to the rest of the family. If only one of you wants to move then it can be a hard task to convince everyone else to come with you. Teenagers especially are fixed on their friends and school, but if you can demonstrate how great your new city is, show them the opportunities, explain how they can keep in touch with their friends, you might be able to win them over.
8. Will you like the weather?
You have no control over the weather in a city, and some cities really experience climate extremes, so put in the research before you move. If you’re a sun worshipper, then moving to Edinburgh, Scotland might not be the best idea. If you hate the heat, then Austin, Texas isn’t for you. It’s not just the weather, but the whole climate and culture that goes with it. If you live to be in the sea, don’t deliberately put yourself hundreds of miles away from it. Love skiing – find a city near the mountains and combine real life with your favourite sport.
9. Can you afford it?
Probably one of the most practical questions to ask yourself. Cities like London, New York and Paris are renowned for being very expensive to live, but if you’re working there, you should make sure your salary reflects the cost of living. Other cities may be cheaper to live in, but do your research first and make sure you’ll be earning enough to have some spending money to explore your new city.
10. Do you have a back up plan?
We can all make wrong decisions, or things don’t work out as expected, so it’s important to have a Plan B. Always remember that just because one place wasn’t the right move, there’s plenty of other places to try, embrace the opportunity that failure can sometimes give rise to.
Don’t burn bridges in the city you’re leaving and try to leave on a good note, you may want to come back at some point. And you never know who you might meet again or need again in your life.
But remember, it’s OK if it doesn’t work
With any move it’s important to remember that you can’t control and predict everything. There comes a point when you can only prepare for a move so much and sometimes you just have to try it and see. If your attitude is “this has to work!” then you’re applying too much pressure to yourself and you’re more likely to be disappointed. If you accept that your move may not go according to plan because of circumstances outside of your control, then you’ll be much happier.