In the past 5 years I have moved to 6 new cities. This has allowed me to explore so much of the country but I constantly feel like I am starting over and having to make a new place feel like home. After 6 tries, I finally think I am getting this process down to a science. I would love to share my tips with anyone who has recently moved or has a new re-location in their near future!
Step 1: Get out and walk around. On your first weekend in your new city leave your house with your walking shoes on. Spend a full day exploring your new city by foot. This is the best way to learn your way around and there is always Uber if you get lost.
Step 2: Decorate your new home. This is something I skipped in my apartment in Austin. I didn’t immediately invest in decorations because we were so low on cash. This may be the case for you as well but as soon as you can I would encourage you to invest in decorations. It will make you want to show off your new place. It will make you feel ready to host guests. Decorating your home/apartment makes the place feel like yours and will speed up your acclimation to a new city. If you are low in cash here are the first things I would buy beyond furniture: Rugs, Bedding, and Throw Pillows.
Step 3: Utilize public transportation. Once you’ve spent a day exploring your neighborhood by foot, ride some of the public transportation lines. Even if you have a car and you may never need to use the trains, exploring this way helps you get comfortable with the layout of your new town.
Step 4: Try some local restaurants. You can’t earn the title of “local” to a city until you have defined your favorite restaurant for each of the following types of food: Chinese, Pizza, Sandwiches, and Burgers. Ask around to get some recommendations but start to define your favorite places to go out to eat or grab meals from to take home.
Step 5: Get involved. Find some classes to sign up for, a church to join or a non-profit to volunteer from. Having a hobby in your new town will help you feel at home and it will help you achieve step 6.
Step 6: Make some friends. This is the hardest of all of the steps on this list and it will only come with time. I plan to write a separate post about how I found some of my first friends in my new cities. It is going to feel awkward as you slowly make friends but in the meantime, be okay with exploring your new city alone. Friends will come as long as you are getting out of the house and trying new things. Having friends in your new city is the final piece of feeling at home.