A couple months ago a friend asked me to write a blog about how to make a new city feel like home and low and behold, here it is!
I should start out by saying that I spent 22 years of my life in the same town. I knew the town like the back of my hand. I knew how to get everywhere! I knew where the best sushi restaurant was. I had a great gym. I loved my job. I was a wine club member at a local winery. I had my family and my friends there. It was safe and it was comfortable.
As graduation was quickly approaching, we knew we needed 2 years of nursing experience before we could start travel nursing. Our decision was: A. Stay home and get our two years or B. Move somewhere new for 2 years and get the experience. So one night we laid in bed searching “best dog friendly cities for young nurses” and there on the screen appeared Tampa. The description said something along the lines of: “third dog friendliest city in the United Sates”, “perfect for young professionals”, “lots of great hospitals” , and “great food scene”. It might as well have said “Leonard and Keanna get your butts to Tampa!” So we booked a flight, fell in love, visited some hospitals, put a deposit down on an apartment and counted down the days.
In June of 2018, Leonard and I packed up our dogs and all of our things and hit the road for Tampa (if you haven’t read the blog about the infamous trip there…it’s an intriguing one! check it out HERE). As exciting as it was, it was also a little scary! We took ourselves out of comfort zone and placed ourselves in a big city across the country where we knew no one!
While there, we worked our butts off; Leonard got accepted into an ICU transition program and a year later, I got picked for a transition program into the Emergency Room. Fast forward two years from then, we are now doing a 13 week travel nursing assignment in Tucson, Arizona.
We aren’t experts in the moving department but I’d say we’ve gotten pretty good at it. Below I’ve compiled together by best tips on how to turn a new city into your home:
My first tip is to find housing that feels like home. Ask yourself these questions: Does it make you feel safe? After a long day at work, are you excited to be able to go home to that place and kick your feet up? Does it make you feel at peace? Does it fit your lifestyle and your budget? Is it pet friendly (if needed)? Is it in a good area?
We are currently staying on a 6 acre ranch with a fenced in yard for the dogs. It has an amazing wrap around porch with a panorama mountain views. The wifi is a little weak and the coyotes howling at night is a little creepy at first but overall, its a really great experience. It fits our lifestyle. It fits our budget. It’s dog friendly. And it has the perfect homey feel.
After you find a good place, add your personal touches. Get your favorite smelling candles, hang up your pictures, get some plants, pull out your favorite blanket to snuggle on the couch with, and fill up the fruit basket (I don’t know why but this always makes me feel better).
What do you like to do in your free time? If it’s workout, then find the perfect gym nearby. If you’re a yogi, find a cool yoga studio. If it’s basketball, find some pick up games or a league you can sign up for. If you’re a book worm, find the library, bookstore or join a book club. Basically, find the place where you can still do the things you love to do. This is extremely important because this is what makes you, you! Hobbies are an outlet, a stress reliever, and a passion for most people. In the midst of a move, don’t lose sight of who you are.
If you have a certain routine, keep it! If you’re that badass that wakes up, drinks coffee, prays, stretches, journals, meditates, and hits the gym all before 6am, keep the same routine! This is what helps you stay focused and driven to wake up everyday with a fresh start. It shouldn’t matter where you are, if those are your values and those things are important to you, then keep doing them.
Next, find your new local grocery store. It’s without a doubt, you’ll be spending your time there. Are they close to home? Do they have the things you enjoy eating? For example, I need a good produce section. Are they in your price range? Do they have a good wine selection? (…laughing but serious!)
There is a thing called a “food desert” and it means an area where it is difficult to find affordable or quality food. It may seem silly but that really is a thing in places around the United States. Food brings a lot of comfort to people and is a staple of safety (hence why when covid-19 started spreading, everyone went crazy and bought all the food).
Get the items that make you feel like you’re at home. Like fill up the fruit basket! Get ingredients for your homemade chili or a yummy meatloaf. Those are major comfort foods for us!
If you’re religious, research churches nearby and check one out every Sunday until you find the right one. It took us a couple tries until we found Radiant Church in Tampa. We were really bummed when it was time to leave for travel nursing because finding the right church is like dating. You gotta go through the not-so good ones to get to the good ones!
Meet people at the places where you like to do things. So for instance; at work, at church, at the gym. Find people who have similar interests because those are who you will most likely align with. Make sure you say yes to invites and are open to forming new relationships.
Give yourself time! Moving to a new city is scary and at times it can feel kind of lonely. It takes a couple of weeks to really get settled in. Avoid reminiscing too much on things going on back at home because you’ll find yourself being sad instead of appreciating the new city you just moved to.
Just Do it!
You’re laying in bed binge watching Tiger King and watching everyone from home’s instagram stories. Maybe you’re comfortable in bed with all your snacks. Well sis, get your butt up and go adventuring! Stop making excuses, “Oh, I just want to chill today.” Nope, get up, get ready and try out a new coffee shop, check out a new park, or go on a hike! Go see what your new city has to offer! One thing we like to do is just drive around and add restaurants, cafes, and little shops to our To Do list!
Maybe you don’t have any intentions to move any time soon but if you’re feeling unfilled, maybe go back through those tips and see if there is any area that is lacking. Maybe this doesn’t pertain to you (thanks for reading anyway!) but send it to your niece or nephew that is getting ready to start college next year or your friend that just got their own place! I hope this helps!
As always, thank you so much for reading and sharing! It means the world to me if I can even help just one person with these blogs. Add your email to the box below if you want to be notified when new blogs are uploaded!