At this exact time last year, Mitchell and I were selling, giving, or throwing away everything we owned except for what could fit in our car. It was a bittersweet (and extremely stressful) time; I had no idea what was lying ahead of me and I was equally as excited as I was terrified. I have grown immeasurably throughout the last year and I can’t explain how thankful I am to have this opportunity. Because it’s the beginning of a new yearand the anniversary of our big move, I’m feeling nostalgic. So with that, I bring you 11 things I learned about moving across the country.
It can be lonely
I learned this one the hard way, and I learned it immediately. For the most part, my new coworkers were welcoming but it took a long time to make real, lasting connections and relationships; and I learned there’s a big difference between feeling welcomed and actual friendship. At first, the only real social life I had was Mitchell, and this continued for probably 9 months. As much as I love my boyfriend, I really value (and need) girls’ nights; plus, asking a friend which shoes to wear over FaceTime isn’t the same (in retrospect, it also didn’t matter since the only person seeing them was Mitchell anyways).
You’ll second guess yourself at least once
Most days, living somewhere completely new fuels my desire and motivation for wanting to travel even more, but there are days where it is the opposite. Even though spending my weekends gallivanting up and down the east coast is the most incredible experience that I couldn’t have had from Iowa, it doesn’t replace being there to help my best friend plan her wedding or meeting my other friend’s newborn baby. That’s the big stuff. But the little stuff is hard to miss too – like countless dinner dates, happy hours, and my brother/our niece and nephews’ extracurricular activities. Missing those moments can really make you second guess if you are where you are supposed to be.
Your relationships will change
Even though everyone is a quick phone call or text away, it’s a lot of work to keep in touch when you can’t see each other in person. It’s easy to lose touch and drift apart in life, but it’s even easier to do so when you’re half a country away. But even though moving away makes it difficult, some relationships will become stronger. There are some people that I talk to more now than I did when I lived close to them; and although the dynamics have changed in every relationship I have, I am so happy that all of my relationships have remained intact.
….and so will you
Part of the reason your relationships change is because you change too. You will not be the same person you were when you left. Let it happen, and embrace the change. Hopefully it will make you better and stronger in the end.
Need I say more? Moving to a place where you know no one is an adrenaline rush. I have learned that a part of me thrives on feeling that little twinge of homesickness. Plus, there are so many restaurants to try, places to explore, and people to meet. Living somewhere isn’t the same as visiting and once you get a taste of it, you may begin plotting out where you want to live next!
You might have to pinch yourself a few times
I always dreamed of moving to the ocean and I never really imagined it would happen. I find myself thinking – “Is this real? Am I really doing this – DID I really do this?” pretty frequently. I have found myself thanking God many times for this incredible opportunity. And even though it’s my own hard work and dedication that brought me here, I feel so incredibly lucky.
Learning about new and different cultures (yes, I consider the south to have its own culture 😉 ) helps me to appreciate others from different backgrounds while also making me appreciate my own background even more. Also, working for the military gives me the utmost appreciation for all of our service members, veterans, and their families.
It will open up opportunities
When I dreamed of moving to the sea, I dreamed of sipping my coffee on the patio overlooking the ocean. And even though that hasn’t happened yet, mostly because we live a half an hour from the ocean, the opportunities here are even greater than that; reality has exceeded my expectations. By now, you know the opportunities for travel have been incredible for me, so there’s no need to go into more detail there. Instead, the opportunities for new friendships, new jobs, and a different way of living have all fallen into my lap. It’s crazy the opportunities you might get if you give them the chance.
You become an advocate for “home”
Suddenly, everything from Iowa is “the best”. I find myself constantly talking about the sunsets, the food, and the people quite frequently. Because Iowa isn’t exactly a tourist destination, I have a lot of educating to do. I talk about it so much that I think my friends and coworkers wonder why I left in the first place!
It will become a part of you
I have left pieces of my heart in many places. North Carolina is not the first, and it will not be the last; and the problem with leaving your heart in so many places is that a part of you is always homesick for somewhere else. North Carolina was never meant to be a forever move, but I love this state so much. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be content where I’m at, and that’s both exciting and a little scary.
It’s completely worth it
Moving across the country was everything I dreamed it would be and more and I would do it again in a heartbeat . . . and I just might!