Moving somewhere on your own can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Moving to a new country on your own can be considered crazy. In this 21st Century world where nothing has ever been more interconnected and the human family has never been smaller or closer from all corners, the world can feel eerily gaping wide when you step foot in a land you’ve never lived in before and you’re completely alone.
In fact, it really is mildly insane to go out into the world on your own, with all you have to save and clothe yourself slung over your shoulder. I can say this because I have moved to two new countries in the last five years.
If doing something that scares you everyday is one of your motto’s, then this can literally be every new day spent in a new location for the first few months. There were countless days my first weeks where I felt like the world was turning around me and I was paralyzed stiff from fear of what was out the door or simply too poor to enjoy all the things that my new surroundings had to offer.
Venturing out also meant that I was alone amongst a world of people who had friends or lovers nearby. Their laughter echoing through the air as I walked past feeling incredibly invisible and unimportant in this new place. Once I got a job though those fears began to melt away with connections made ever so slowly with people at work where life allowed for some level of interaction with other human life.
For all the people who spurt off “you’re so brave” or “I could never do that” they don’t know that going it alone can lead to experiences and bonds with people you would never dream of meeting or calling friends in the life you left behind. Sure, it takes some adjusting and won’t be all smooth sailing where you feel ‘this is where I was always meant to be,’ but it doesn’t have to for the heartbeat of your surroundings to affect you if you give it a chance.
How to Integrate
It can be hard to make friends, particularly as an adult where you haven’t got close contacts to help you get to know your new surroundings and connect you to others in a social setting.
There are also ways for making new scenery and friends as comfortable as old surroundings and it can be as simple as the touch to a keyboard. Using the internet to resource by typing in ‘social apps for making friends‘ where you will find a list from various sources leading you to make connections on the ground.
Sites like Couchsurfing.org or airbnb.com can be useful, not only for giving you shelter and a place to lay your belongings, but the people whose home you share can lead to knowledge of how to apply for the best priced travel cards or easiest travel routes to take and where you can avoid save or splurge for things. Where you stay when you arrive in your new homeland, whether you are there for a year or indefinitely will help you get on your feet much quicker.
Connect with as many people as possible, whether you know them well or only met them once and they simply became Facebook friends. Ask to meet up for coffee and expect as little from them as possible due to you stepping into their lives that are already grounded. Some may surprise you with kindness and invites to events while others may make even meeting for coffee difficult.
Don’t be disappointed with the pace some friendships take to grow.
Balancing your homeland with your new land
Whilst apps like Messenger and Whatsapp are helpful and easy with wifi available in most locations now to keep in touch with family and friends back home. Be balanced with calls and video chats with people back home because you might find yourself turning down opportunities to meet new people to stay connected with old friends.
Whilst living in Vancouver it became so important to keep these regular catch ups with many people back home going that I turned down social opportunities available on more than one occasion.
Enjoy the freedom of getting lost and meeting new people who may be as lost in their surroundings as you.
Relish the time available before routines set in. Wander the anonymous streets if you can and get to know where locals buy coffee or beer.
See the sights, the tourist spots, even if you are unable to pay to go inside or to the top of visit the neighborhoods and explore like both a tourist and a local.
By using the resources of local knowledge, the internet and its endless basin of information and contacts can only help make a new country fit for you with a clear mind on why you moved there in the first place, you can and will succeed.
It doesn’t have to be impossible for a new country to feel like home in a short time.