I love relocating.
I don’t know if that’s a sign of some deep psychological issue about running away, but everyone has their demons, no?
Let me sum up the last 5 years of my life for you:
2011: Virginia Beach–>NYC
2013: NYC–> Arlington
2015: Arlington–> Virginia Beach (almost moved to Nashville or San Diego)
I never moved because I “had” to, but simply because I felt like my life needed a change in direction. Whether motivated by career, social environment, or needing to be near the beach, I had no qualms with uprooting my life in faith that a new city would provide more opportunity to be happy and fruitful.
Now that I’m married to an officer in the Coast Guard, the odds of moving again are pretty high. When Aaron said he’d request orders that we stay in Virginia Beach, I was torn. Logically, it makes sense for me to stay near my friends and family…but I also kind of want to move to Amsterdam or Alaska. Adventure!
This urge to relocate every two years is not the norm among people, from what I understand. Most folks get so comfortable in their lives and surroundings that the thought of moving seems super depressing or simply too difficult…even if their daily routine is kind of depressing. Or maybe those people are just better at growing roots than I am, and I need therapy. Who knows. Either way, change is hard, but let me give you 13 reasons why relocating is AWESOME:
1. New people
People are generally really, really nice. Moving places has restored my faith in humanity, since I’ve found that coworkers, neighbors, and girls in bar bathrooms welcome me with open arms. It’s amazing to relate to a new batch of friends, and marvel about how you didn’t even know they existed a few months earlier.
2. Mexican restaurants
Mexican restaurants are everywhere, and I have my favorite in every city I’ve lived. I look forward to discovering new Mexican deliciousness wherever I end up next. Arriba Arriba in NYC is perfect for people-watching, and the service is so bad that you actually feel like you’re in Mexico. Pedro & Vinny’s is the best burrito place in Arlington, and by “place,” I mean semi-permanent, bubblegum pink, take-out-only shack in the middle of a CVS parking lot. It’s a tie between Jesse’s Taqueria and Gringo’s in Virginia Beach, depending if I want a platter of meat or tacos, respectively. And Plaza Azteca, while a chain, will forever hold my heart anywhere I may go because their chicken fried rice is A) The best thing in the world, B) Widely undiscovered because it sounds like Chinese food.
This post is starting to revolve around food more heavily than intended, but at least I’m staying true to myself. Finding brunch spots with the best drink deals, most hipster-esqe menu, and coolest waitstaff is a mission not to be taken lightly. Along the way, you will likely get tipsy on a Sunday and make new friends, re: #1.
4. Visiting where you used to live
When you relocate, you should probably make an effort to go visit the other places you lived (unless you ran over someone’s dog or took a $20 out of your roommate’s wallet before you left…in which case, don’t go back). Everyone is 1000x more happy to see you when you visit than when you lived nearby. People celebrate just because you’re there. It’s kind of awesome, and I feel no shame in saying so.
5. Being “in-the-know”
When you’ve lived multiple places, people always ask you where they should go when they visit one of those cities. Even if on the inside you’re thinking, “Um, I went to exactly 3 bars over and over the entire time I lived there…,” you can still feel slightly knowledgable and cultured, which is cool.
Every city embraces different styles and clothing trends. In NYC, black is what’s up, all day, every day. Edgier choices are the norm, so toothpick light wash jeans with a cardigan and Kate Spade flats is dangerously dowdy. On the contrary, that outfit is literally the only thing women in Arlington/DC wear. They might throw on a fur vest or booties if they’re really feeling adventurous. Then there’s Virginia Beach, where everyone believes in the subtle power of flannel and v-neck tees. I combine what I like in every city for a wardrobe that’s diverse and very much “me.” I love it that way!
7. New job
You can learn new skills, figure out where your passions lie, and maybe find a boss who doesn’t make you want to drive your car through his/her office window. I don’t know your life, but I get a hunch that you know the feeling.
Opportunity for romance in a new city applies to singles and marrieds. Singles: There’s a new batch of fish in the sea. I caught the rare and highly sought-after Husband Fish the day I moved back to Virginia Beach, so how ’bout that for some inspiration? Marrieds: This is your chance to become even closer as a couple, because you are each other’s exploration partner– and each other’s comfort blanket.
When faced with change, we discover our greatest insecurities, priorities, and strengths. I have learned much about my natural desire to be dependent on others, my underlying capability to be completely independent, and exactly how far I can push myself to survive. I’ve gained confidence in my ability to integrate myself with any environment, comfortably sit with myself in silence, and recognize the difference between dangerous new temptations vs. exciting new opportunities. I’m beyond grateful for the all of the lessons learned from sheer exposure.
God is everywhere, which you’ll quickly realize upon moving. Everything else changes, but He doesn’t, and you won’t be able to help but watch your faith grow in each new circumstance. Even if you don’t believe in God, you’ll get a nagging feeling that there’s something greater out there than this bustling little world. Follow where that nagging feeling leads you.
11. New scenery
Beaches get old when you live at the beach. Okay, not really…but sometimes it’s nice to switch things up. I love the majesty of Central Park, the patriotism of the DC monuments, and the view of the bay from my favorite bar in Virginia Beach. Everywhere I go, I feel a novelty and exhilaration about my surroundings, which is a great way maintain an appreciation for life.
Seasons differ everywhere in the country, just in case you missed Geography class. New York has classic seasons: Spring and autumn are gorgeous, summer melts your skin, and winter hurts your face. San Diego (my place of birth!) is all spring, all the time. Virginia Beach allows you to experience every season within just 72 hours. Sometimes it’s neat to see how other people live, weather-wise. (Spoiler alert: San Diegans have it best.)
This is a bit of a combo of #1, #4, and #5, but the more people you meet, and the more places you can navigate, the more opportunities life throws your way. No matter where you go, you have a place to rest your head, plus job doors open up– and you know better than to write off the ones that are far away! Life leads you in lots of fun directions if you shake new hands and explore new avenues.
A couple of things to leave you with:
A) Contrary to popular belief that you can’t build deep relationships or strong roots if you always move, I’ve found that relocating not only expanded my friend circle, but helped me build incredibly loyal relationships that have proven to exist beyond the convenience of proximity.
B) You can always move back if you hate life, however give it at least six months.
C) If you’re unhappy in your daily lives, people often say that “running away won’t solve your problems.” That’s only true if your problems are not circumstantial (i.e. depression, addiction, pessimism, etc.). However, if you feel bored with life, unsatisfied in your job, or frustrated with the dating pool…moving is a pretty great option. It’s not running away– it’s taking happiness into your own hands and recognizing that sometimes you need to shake things up to get the results you want!
Maybe you should all just move to Va Beach so we can hang. Think about it.