Sunday, 22 June 2014

How To Survive In A New City.

Moving to a new city is an experience that can make you feel over the top excited and scared shitless all at the same time. Whether you are moving cities due to eduction, work, or personal choice... whatever the reason, it is a big deal! When you have spent a large amount of your life in an environment that you know well and then all of a sudden find yourself in an unfamiliar place it can be a really difficult experience. When i was 19 i moved away from Leicestershire where i had grown up, and moved down to Brighton. I was moving so i could be closer to the person i loved, which was a really exciting thing to me. However, being a person who had suffered with Anxiety for 5 years at that time, it was a big thing for me to do. I am an extremely impulsive person. Which i think is a good quality to have, yet, it can certainly be a bad thing sometimes. I know a lot of people around me were doubtful that i could live in a new city, and even myself doubted it when i thought about all the negative points.

1. I knew no one apart from my boyfriend.
2. I had never been away from my family for more than a couple nights.
3. I had no job.
4. I had no money.
5. I would become responsible for myself.

... The list could and did go on. Thinking of all the reasons why i shouldn't go made it seem like a very irresponsible decision if i did go. Yes, i was young. Yes, i didn't really know what i was doing. But it was time to break away.  I have always done my own thing, and never really followed the "rules" of life. So within a week of weighing the pro's and con's, i moved to Brighton. And it was the best decision i have ever made.
In the beginning though, i found it really tough. Which is why when i started up my blog i knew i wanted to do a post on how to survive in a new city. I wish i had had something to read when i first moved that would have given me some advice and made me feel like i wasn't alone in feeling emotional just after i moved. As you might know, i have recently moved back up to Leicestershire. There are many reasons for this, however the main one being so i can be closer to my family for the next year or two as i have a couple family members that are ill. I class Brighton as my home now, so moving back to Leicester has been like moving to a new city again. I might know the area well, but as i have changed as a person since living in Brighton, the culture of leicestershire seems new to me again. And if i am honest, it is not something i want to get used to. Of course, i am not putting the whole city population into one category, i am aware that there is a vast variety of personalities in Leicestershire. I am simply trying to say that in Brighton everything in accepted and people are generally more open minded. For a small example, my boyfriend is a mod and i have bright white hair. In Brighton no one bats an eyelid, it is partially the norm. In Leicestershire, we get comments left, right and centre. This is just one of the things you have to adapt to when moving to a new city, different places have different cultures, views, and ways of doing things.

So the reason why i am only just getting round to writing this post after being back in Leicestershire for just over 2 weeks, is that i wanted to give myself a chance to experience Leicestershire again. This would mean that when writing this post i can reference both moving experiences, which would allow me to broaden the advice i am giving so that it can translate to moving to any city. So here are my tips on how to survive in a new city. Obviously these are my own opinions and what i found helped me. Everyone is different, so its not going to be beneficial to everyone but for the majority of you, i really do hope it helps!

1. Exploring & Getting To Know The Area.

When you first move to a new city, all your familiarities go out the window. When i moved to Brighton i had no idea of the size of the city, street names, main roads, etc. I had no concept of where i was and where i was going to go in the city. Luckily for me, i had my boyfriend who knew Brighton fairly well. So even though i had him, i was still scared shitless about getting to know this knew city i was in. I am a person who likes to visualise everything, so what i found helpful was going onto google maps and searching Brighton. It gave me an idea the size of Brighton and where the key points were. So from there i figured out where i lived in Brighton and what roads i was close to. If you have an iPhone i would really advise getting the google maps app. It is really handy if you are going on a walk or trying to find a certain place. Plus if you get slightly lost just type in your postcode and it will locate where you are and show you how to get back.

2. Finding The Essentials. 

The next important part of moving to a new city is locating the essential places. Again google maps will come in handy with this, yet a big factor of locating those important places is asking people. A week or two after i moved to Brighton i found that i had started to memories key places, for example: train station, local grocery shop, doctors surgery, bus stops, etc. If you are house sharing or have neighbours, i am sure they will not mind giving you advice on where to find your essential places. It is much better to find them out before hand rather than wondering around the street looking for one particular place in a rush.
Second to this comes finding places of interest. When you move to a new city it is best to try and get back into a familiar routine that you had before you moved. Find the places that you used to like going to. Personally, i really wanted to find a gym so that i would be motivated to get out of the house and get used to seeing the city everyday. Other places like art galleries, bars, restaurants, shops, etc, are also good places to seek out. One of the most fun things about moving to a new city is getting to explore all these new places and venues. Trying out different places to eat and drink, seeing the cities attractions, finding lots of different shops that you hadn't really seen in the city you used to live in. This is one of the things that really makes moving worth while. When i moved to Brighton i was in heaven with all the new clothes, beauty, food, and vintage shops that i was discovering. Plus if you are starting to reach that home sick stage it really reminds you why moving cities is such an exciting experience.

3. Making Contacts / Meeting People.

The main thing that i was nervous about when moving was that i wouldn't know anyone. I was leaving all my family and friends behind and it scared the shit out of me. Some people are better at making friends than others. It all depends on your personality and how out going you are. Personally, i can be really introverted a lot of the time. Going through my teenage years i liked to keep to myself and i found it quite difficult to put myself out there. New people made me nervous. One on one, i am fine. Stick me in a group, and i might not say a word. I new this would be something i would have to deal with when i moved to Brighton and back to Leicestershire seen as i had been away for a while. Since moving and adding 2 years to my age, i have found that i have gotten a lot better with being relaxed around new people and just being myself. My advice would be not to force it. Of course you are going to meet new people, and if you are going to become friends it will simply come naturally. When i first moved to Brighton i was mainly hanging out with my boyfriend and his mates, which was totally fine (i get on well with guys), but after a while i was missing that girl talk! I wanted to be able to moan about my hair or talk about clothes without being looked at like a complete weirdo. When you feel like you want to meet knew people, i would recommend going to places that this will occur. Whether that's joining an exercise class, going to a local pub, or seeing what is going on in your city that involves a group of people. And don't forget, your not the only person out there looking to meet people and make friends!

4. Finding A Job.

We all know that with how things are in England at the moment, getting  job can be tough. This is something I really struggled with in Brighton and if I am honest, it really affect my self esteem and made me feel quite low. I am currently going through the job searching process again now seen as I had to give up my job in Brighton and move back to Leicestershire, but I will let you know how that turns out another time. Two years ago i had moved to a city that had one of the largest unemployed populations in England. The competition was high and not many jobs were going. I cannot tell you how many hours i spent scanning the internet and looking in shop windows for available jobs. I know how hard it can be to try and put yourself out there and be told you do not have the right qualifications or experience. The key is persistence. It can be easy to let the rejection get you down and make you want to give up. I once burst into tears after receiving a very polite rejection from the owner of a cafe.
One of the things i found got the ball rolling was volunteering. I have always been involved in art in one way or another, so my ideal job would be in the art scene. There is such a thriving art scene in Brighton that i knew i wanted to be a part of. I managed to get a volunteering job as an invigilator at an art gallery during the Brighton Fringe Festival. I loved it! I was sad when the month was up but glad that i had gotten some experience within the art scene. After a few weeks had past the art gallery emailed me asking if i would like to apply for a paid position as a kind of general assistant. I loved working at the art gallery and now treasure every experience i have taken from working there. I also met so many great people and met some very talented people in the art industry.
In my opinion, finding a job is pot luck. Some people can be trying hard to find a job and it takes months, and others will find a job straight away. The main advice i can give is to stay persistent, don't be afraid to put yourself out there, and try not to let it get you down.

5. Do What Makes You Happy.

Like i have said, moving cities can be a stressful experience and it certainly has its ups and downs. In those first couple of months when you are trying to figure things out and you might be starting to feel home sick, make sure you do the things that make you feel happy. Whether thats going out for a drink, relaxing with some coffee & cake, or just getting out and about in the city. Whatever it is, do it! It really is the little things that keep you from going insane in the first few months. You might have a million things to do, but it is ok to take some time out and spend some time focusing on yourself.

If you have recently moved to a new city and are reading this, i really hope that some of the advice i have given will help. The things i have mentioned are what i found helped me when i moved cities, so take from this what you will. If you have any advice for moving cities that i have not mentioned, please comment below or tweet me!

Peace & Love,


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