How Traveling and Moving To New Cities Shaped My Life in the Best Way (So Far)

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Almost every day was dreary, cold, and rainy where I lived in my Seattle suburb. This was my hometown and where I spent a majority of life. After college, I never thought I’d end back up there - until I moved to Europe to travel for six months, and then came back home while I figured out my game plan.In the meantime, I was only going to be there for two weeks, then work in DC for a month, and then come back home to look for a full-time job. I knew what I wanted to do, but the process moved a little slow...it turned into two months (which felt like an eternity) before I finally moved to Arizona.

I was tired of the constant dreary days - both weather-wise and the prospects of staying in the Seattle area. Working toward my goal of getting out of my current situation motivated me to not let life pass me by - I was eager to make it happen.

Having an end goal in mind keeps you on track to make it happen, while helping you bear those days when you're feeling stuck.

There have been multiple times I’ve moved somewhere where I didn’t know anyone. College, where I knew just a few people. My first post-college summer job in Washington, DC and New York. My travel job in Florence, Italy. Taking a leap of faith again - without a job, or knowing anyone - by moving to Phoenix after returning from Europe.

It can be scary and intimidating. But sometimes in life, you realize that the things you want to do don’t coincide with your current location.

If you asked me two and half years ago what I thought I would be doing after college, I’d probably say I’d have been living in Southern California, working my way up the ladder in corporate public relations, and spending my money on nights out on the weekends or the latest designer handbag.

I never would’ve thought I would have traveled internationally for more than a few weeks, and it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to actually move to a foreign country, work multiple international travel jobs in tourism and education, and have not stuck to one place.

Though one day it hit me - I wanted to travel far more than I wanted to spend all my money on clothes and material items. I wanted to travel far more than I wanted to settle for a career path I wasn't even so sure I was still interested in.

Then came the tough part, trying to figure it all out! How was I going to make it happen?

Everything will work out.

If you try something new, give it a chance. If you hate it, or things go wrong, you can always go home or move again!

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Bryant Park New York
Bryant Park New York

Getting out of your comfort zone is the only way you will grow. Change can be uncomfortable yet exciting, imagining the possibilities that lie just around the corner.

The beauty of being young is that we’re often not yet tied down to the many things that tie people down like mortgages or children. It's okay to be selfish.

Moving to places where I didn’t know anyone forced me to be independent and outgoing. I was independent since I didn’t have a friend to lean on right away and was okay with being by myself at times. Learning to enjoy your own company will benefit you, especially later during tough times when you only have yourself to rely on (like when you travel!).

Pinnacle Peak Arizona
Pinnacle Peak Arizona

When I first moved to Arizona I was searching for full-time work, so I got a job at a restaurant (my first restaurant job) and it was so fun. I also learned a LOT. If you ever want to improve your customer service skills, seriously, work at a restaurant. It also opened me up to a new network of friends!

If I didn’t get a full-time job, I was planning on saving up to move again, possibly to teach English abroad. While I had moved abroad previously, the idea of moving to a foreign country again was a little nerve-wracking which is normal, but what scared me more was the feeling that "everyone" was watching me, judging me if I were to move "yet again."

When I look back on it? That's so stupid. Who is really going to judge you? The 80% of your Facebook friends who you haven't talked to since high school? Nope. Parents? Well...maybe! Haha.

“Life isn't meant to be lived in one place."

When I was interviewing for my current full-time job, my employer didn’t bat an eye about the fact that I’ve moved a few times since college…I’ve learned so much from traveling and really putting myself out there.

Those skills are harder to come by when you stay in the same corner of the world your whole life, and I was able to apply so many things I learned to the job at hand. Would I have been qualified for my current job, had I not traveled? I’m not sure, but probably not.

If your heart is set on living elsewhere or doing something different than what you’re doing now, know that you’re not alone. It’s part of life - we learn, we grow, we experience new things, and in turn, we want to continue learning, growing, and having new experiences. It’s okay to try different places. We’re young! We don’t have to settle into a routine yet.

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

- Steve Jobs