The 3 Major Stages Of Moving To The Big City

You might have a job lined up in New York City. Maybe you’ve just graduated and can now move across the country to be with your long-distance boyfriend. Or maybe LA was always a dream, something you’d set your sight on when you were younger, and now you’re ready to make it a reality. Or maybe you’re just really done living in Nowhere, Nebraska. Whatever the case, you’re willing to see some new flashing lights, meet some cultured people, and move to the big city! Well, at least you will be after reading this.

Stage One: Realize Why You Want to Move

Okay, I realize that I just listed off a bunch of reasons why you’d want to go in the first paragraph, but it’s important that you acknowledge your personal reasons. Yes, you probably do have one of the surface explanations above but think about it for a little longer. Don’t just assume that city life will fulfill you; what are you hoping to get from experience?

Lots of people move to the major cities because they idealize the culture. You’re tired of small town people, tired of their lack of imagination and their close-mindedness. You think that a large city will be more open, and that’s certainly correct to an extent. However, big cities just have more people in general, and for everyone who keeps an open mind, there’s someone else ready to take advantage of naivety. However, if that open-mindedness is that important to you, it might be worth the risk.

Or maybe you think that you could achieve your dreams in LA or NYC. You can, but realize the talent game has drastically changed. Competition is fierce in artistic industries, and it’s made even harder when artists flock to one place. In the age of the internet, people outsource talent a lot anyway, choosing to buy that Etsy painting from Oklahoma rather than one from a street vendor. You might just have an idealistic vision of what it means to be a journalist, or an app developer, or an actor. This isn’t to say that you won’t achieve your dreams in a big city, but really think about if moving there is necessary.

Of course, the number of reasons why you might want to relocate is infinite,

but each one of them should be evaluated with perspective and research.

Stage Two: Research the City

Hey, look, it’s that the investigation I was talking about. You might think you know these big cities from the silver screen, but living in them is a whole other story.

For instance, don’t just assume that because it’s a big city the cost of living will be higher. The rent-to-income ratio in the major cities is often lower than traditional towns. Of course, you’ll need to check the quality of these apartments before committing, but the good news that skyscrapers don’t always mean the rent is sky-high.

You should research the traditional things like traffic, ease of public transport, and the entertainment options available in the city. These are obvious things that any stranger could tell you, but an important step that many people end up skipping over is to ask locals for advice. If you have friends or family that live there, that’s obviously the most convenient route, but there are also a variety of online communities where you can get different local tips.

Stage Three: Plan And Pack!

Alright, so you did the inner reflection and the research. If you’ve made it here, then you’re really ready to move forward. This can be overwhelming, especially if you’re far away from your new home. Moving is the third most stressful event, right after death and divorce, so don’t feel as if you’re making a molehill into a mountain here. It’s a big deal, and it’s very stressful.

Luckily, the internet is full of hacks to help get you by.

  • Tell your friends and family well in advance! This gives them time to plan a going away party.
  • Start gathering boxes. You don’t realize how much stuff you have until you start packing, so overestimate how many boxes you’ll need as well.
  • Develop a system. Whether you’d prefer to go room by room or from easy to difficult, it doesn’t really matter. What is important is that you stick to it. That way, you’ll be less likely to forget something.

Clearly, this is one of those instances where it’s easier to say than do. There are all sorts of minutiae you have to consider (shipping dates, moving costs, car or plane, etc.) but all of those are going to depend on exactly how far you’re going. The farther you’re moving, the more expensive and stressful it will be. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, just that you need to be prepared for what’s ahead. Even when you get to your new home, you might find yourself longing for the comforts of Nowhere, Nebraska.

And that’s okay. Just remember, you moved to the big city for a reason, and that reason was important enough to propel you through this entire process. Moving to a metropolis can be life-changing, and as long as you prepare yourself, you’ll be ready for whatever city life throws at you.

Featured Image via Unsplash

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