The urge to pack up and start a new life in another city is a dream most everyone has entertained at one time or another. There’s a certain impulsive appeal in just leaving behind your established routine and starting fresh somewhere else. There’s an aura of adventure and renewal to the idea that calls to us.
But when you start seriously considering moving to a new place, there are all sorts of un-adventurous questions to answer. Are there jobs available? How’s the cost of living? What are my transportation options? Will I know or meet anyone there? These questions can be daunting, even frightening, and there may be very practical, sensible reasons to stay where you are.
But practicality can be overrated. And there are all sorts of reasons why being impractical and pulling up stakes might be the best move (literally) you ever made.
Facing your fears will teach you about yourself.
Ask around and you’ll no doubt find no shortage of people telling you why you shouldn’t move to a new city. Financial concerns. Fear of being alone. Fear of being away from friends, family, and most of all, familiarity. But would you rather be ruled by your fears, or face them down as the challenges they really are?
You get to call the shots.
Life often forces change on us, instead of the other way around. Many people find themselves forced to relocate by circumstances — family trouble, health reasons, changes in employment, or any number of other reasons may force you to find a new place to live. Why not take the reins and decide for yourself to move to someplace you’ll love? This is your opportunity to take charge, declare your independence, and go where your passion takes you. If you’re at a point in your job or career where you fear you might let go, this also might be your chance to meet new challenges head-on, instead of waiting for the worst to happen.
You can find better opportunities elsewhere.
The sad truth is, not every place is created equal. Having a personal history and emotional investment in where you live is great, but it doesn’t mean the opportunities there are better (or even as good as) anywhere else. You may find better employment opportunities, education, transportation, and community or even weather somewhere far away. The grass may, in fact, be greener on the other side.
For example, there might be a much better market environment for your startup company (Finland and Switzerland rival the United States as some of the best places for high-tech startups, while Tuscon, AZ and Augusta, GA have some of the lowest small business growth in the U.S. right now).
There are impractical considerations to moving, too. You might find a bustling arts scene, volunteer organization, or thriving community you didn’t know you were missing out on. You’ll never know unless you experience it for yourself.
There may never be a better time to follow your dreams.
Life has a way of adding obligations. Starting a family, establishing a career, buying a home: these are milestones that enrich our lives, but can also restrict opportunities. If you’re young, ambitious, and just starting out, there may literally be no better time than now to pull up stakes and set out to find a place for yourself. You’ll have your whole life to act sensibly. The time to be impetuous and impractical is now!
New adventures create growth.
Moving to a new city will create all sorts of challenges for you to meet. Develop new skills. Learn a language. Volunteer. Meet new people. Getting outside your comfort zone and pushing yourself to embrace new ideas will change you in powerful, positive ways you never expected — not to mention the personal, professional and financial opportunities and rewards that come with such growth. And you just might have a blast at the same time.
Your passion doesn’t live here anymore.
Routine can actually get comfortable if you live with it long enough. Stagnation starts to feel like familiarity, and you may not even realize what you’ve lost until you find it again. Lack of job satisfaction and growth might start to feel like security. When that happens, you know it’s time to shake things up. Starting a new life somewhere else not only holds the potential for new financial and career opportunities, but new people, new food, a new climate. Change awakens something inside us, and can reinvigorate your passion in unexpected ways.
You could find the dream career you didn’t know you wanted.
Often in life, we don’t end up where we thought we would. The dreams we cultivated as children or teens don’t survive into our adult years. Our interests change and grow as we do, and that dream job or successful business we thought we wanted may go unrealized — but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, finding a new dream career could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Moving to a new place is not necessarily something to do on a moment’s notice — it pays to do your research and find out as much as you can about where you’re going and what life will be like when you get there — but don’t let fear and uncertainty hold you back from exhilarating new experiences. There may never be a better time to experience the world than right now. Your next great life story could be just around the corner.
Jon Russo is the CEO of Areavibes, a website focused on helping people find the best places to live. Areavibes accomplishes this via a Livability Score created using a unique algorithm that takes into account dozens of characteristics in 7 different categories including nearby amenities, cost of living, crime rates, education, employment, housing and weather. Through this scoring system, AreaVibes is able to provide useful information for people who are relocating or looking to conduct a quality assessment on their own area.