By Jessica Pruitt, Buffalo Exchange HQ
Ok guys, I’m going to level with you: moving to a new city is really hard! When I decided to leave behind my best friends and family for the sand-colored pastures of Tucson, AZ, I was bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Even though I was going to miss our Portland, Oregon store, where I had first started with the company as a Buyer and then Associate Manager, I was excited to be taking on a new role in the Buffalo Exchange Marketing Department. I fancied myself to be bold, daring, independent. And so I packed all my worldly possessions into my teeny-tiny Chevy Spark and tottered my way down to the desert. When I got here, though, I wasn’t quite so bold and daring as I thought. Instead, when I wasn’t at work, I spent a lot of time feeling lonely and out-of-place. Here’s what I did to ease my way into life in a brand new city!
Appreciate Your New Surroundings
The best way to get your bearings after moving to a new city is to get out and see what it has to offer. Take a walking photo tour of the downtown area – no doubt, you’ll happen across cool murals, interesting architecture and local restaurants you might like to try. In my case, I even came across a beautiful end-to-end rainbow (thanks, desert monsoons!). A photo tour is especially great because it’ll give you the chance to show off your new neighborhood to all of your friends and family back home.
My first priority when moving to a new city? Finding out where to shop! Go figure that the Buffalo Exchange here quickly became my favorite place to buy clothes in Tucson. Since each store buys most of its inventory from people in the neighborhood, shopping at Buffalo is also a good way to get a feel for the local area.
Try a New Hobby
Always wanted to learn woodworking or take piano lessons? Now’s your chance! Before moving to a new city, make a list of hobbies you’d like to try and start researching classes or teachers. Personally, I started voice lessons, choir, a fiction writing workshop, kickboxing, rock climbing and eventually even played in a musical. It kept me very busy, but I don’t regret a single late night – after all, how many chances do you have to devote yourself wholeheartedly to your own interests?
Join a Club
Joining a club is a great way to meet likeminded new people and get involved in a local community. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s probably a club (or at least a Meetup or Facebook group) for it, so get Googling! When I found myself moving to a new city, I decided it might be cool to take up caving, so I did a quick Google search for “caving club” and found out when their next meeting was. Little did I know that the people I met there would become some of my closest friends in the area! Not only did I find something I was extremely passionate about, but I found a community that I really felt like I belonged to – definitely a make or break decision.
Moving to a New City? Get Out and Explore!
No matter where you move to, there’s guaranteed to be something cool about it – a beautiful hiking area, a breathtaking viewpoint, a phenomenal art museum, a fun amusement park or an artsy historic town. As you’re settling into your new space, start making a bucket list of things to do in the area. Then, when you’re feeling homesick, get out your calendar and start scheduling them out.
When I found myself laying on the floor of my studio apartment in existential despair – oh wait, did I say that out loud? – it helped to have something to look forward to other than a weekend alone putting together Ikea furniture. My Tucson/Arizona bucket list included everything from the botanic gardens and the planetarium to the historic mining town of Bisbee and the Grand Canyon.
Keep at It!
The number one rule of moving to a new city, though, is keeping at it! When the going gets tough and you miss your friends and family back home, keep on putting yourself out there, trying new activities and being the fierce, independent person you are. You never know when one thing will lead to the next and finally click into place. I’ll admit that I felt pretty homesick the first 6 months or so. I felt like I’d finally landed my dream position and was proud of myself for making such a bold move, but it took a while to make some good friends and feel at home in a strange land. All things in time. You’ll soon be rolling down the streets of your new city like you always lived there! In the meantime, if you ever need to see a friendly face, just stop by Buffalo Exchange. We’re happy to give recommendations for fun things to do in your local area!