Moving Interstate

It was the 31st of December 2019. I got my phone out to record another video journal.

As I sat on my balcony, wondering what the past year had meant to me and all the things I had done. I couldn’t help but think about what the future might hold.

I had always had this feeling that I wanted to move. To get out of my house and experience a new city. To take the leap and go out into the unknown.

This is my story.

My 2019

In 2019 I had done just that. I stepped out of my comfort zone and travelled to Sheffield in the UK for a semester long exchange.

My time away was incredible, easily the most life-changing period of my life so far.

I met so many amazing people and did so many cool things. Visited cool places across Europe like the Louvre in France and the beaches of Spain. These times created so many amazing memories.

This period of travelling definitely got me more interested into what it would be like to move. In fact, I even recall telling people while I was away that I would probably end up moving to Melbourne once I had finished uni.

Balcony Moment

It just so happened that during my year review, sitting on my balcony at the end of 2019, I also mentioned that I would probably be getting a job in Melbourne in the coming year.

What a thought that proved to be.

Screenshot from my 2019 Review Journal

Screenshot from my 2019 Review Journal

The Offer

In May 2020, after applying for over 50 graduate jobs, I finally had an offer. This one was at a big bank, based in Melbourne.

This was so exciting for me. I had secured a great job at a great company, in a city that I knew I was always going to end up in.

I accepted the offer, and waited until 2021 for the fateful moving day.

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The Move

Moving cities crept up on me. I knew for most of the year that I would be moving so I had time to mentally prepare, but I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t difficult.

It’s a big thing to leave my close friends, my girlfriend and my family. Unknown when I would see them again.

Some of my close friends had been my close friends for about 10 years. Given that I am only 22 years old, that’s nearly half of my entire life catching up with these people on a regular basis. Telling them my thoughts and feelings, going on my life’s journey with them. It’s hard to leave them behind.

When you think about these things deeply, on the one hand it is sad that we leave these people behind. All those memories built up together feel like they are being lost. On the other hand though, it also opens up great opportunity to add new people into your life, to get many new experiences and to grow as a person.

I’ve never really understood people that are friends with the same people year after year, until they grow old. Sure I’m not going to stop being friends with people for no reason, or just because I’ve moved, but I think that there is so much to be found by meeting new people and expanding your social circle.

One quote that I really like on this topic is,

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with

And yet this quote doesn’t stop there. I heard one author say that what this quote also means is that “if your friends aren’t changing, then neither are you”.

When I first heard that it really hit home. When I’m older I want to be better and more able to care for my family and those around me. I see that as my primary mission in life. In order to do that, I must grow and evolving friendships is a good sign of growth.

Me sitting in my car talking about moving - 25th of Jan

Me sitting in my car talking about moving - 25th of Jan

D-Day

It was the 31st of January, 2021. My Dad and I drove for about 8 hours one day, and arrived in Melbourne the following day, on the 1st of February.

How rare is it that you get to spend an entire day doing nothing else but chatting to your father? Listening to him talk did get annoying at times, but what a trip, and what an amazing experience to share with my Dad. This felt like a passing of the baton moment. The moment where I would say goodbye to my Dad and my family, and begin my own journey, taking charge of my life.

It felt so surreal to be leaving the city I had spent my whole life in so far, to travel to what would be my new home. Not just for a holiday, but for the forseeable future.

Me sitting on my car before we head off - 31st of Jan

Me sitting on my car before we head off - 31st of Jan

Settling In and Isolation

When I arrived in Melbourne the place was still ‘waking up’. The lockdowns of 2020 were only recently finished and many restrictions remained. I was working from home, and not really having the best time.

It’s quite isolating when you move to a new city where you don’t really know anyone, and you can’t meet people at work. Besides having my wonderful girlfriend over for a week to help me settle in, I had almost no face to face contact outside of my housemates for about 3-4 weeks. Add in a 5 day lockdown on the second weekend I was there, and it’s not a great recipe.

This kind of isolation is very hard to deal with. There’s no way to escape except going for long drives, walks or visiting the gym. Fortunately for me, all three of these were an option and were fully utilised.

I strongly believe that without the gym during this period my mental health would have been in very bad shape. I am so thankful that I go to the gym regularly and that there is one nearby. I would say that the gym and personal fitness have absolutely improved my life in every single possible area, and I am very grateful.

Opening a present in Melbourne - matching shirt and sheets! - 12th of Feb

Opening a present in Melbourne - matching shirt and sheets! - 12th of Feb

Homesickness

I’m not sure if I felt homesick or just unhappy that I had not much social contact. There were days that I was sad, days that I cried and days where I wondered if I had made the right choice. Reflecting on this now, some weeks later, I know that I did.

I knew that these feelings of sadness and resentment would fade, and that in the long run, this decision to move would be one of the best choices I have ever made. Slowly but surely, that is turning out to be the case.

My Reality

It’s now been months since I moved from Adelaide to Melbourne. I’ve been back to see friends and family many times, and there are plans for people to come and see me too.

I’ve met many fantastic people through the grad program at work and through other social activities. As time goes on, I’ll only meet more people and things will only get even better.

Me speaking at my brothers 21st birthday in Adelaide - 20th of March

Me speaking at my brothers 21st birthday in Adelaide - 20th of March

My Reflection

Family and Friends

I think that this entire process has been made so much easier with the love I have recieved from my family, friends and girlfriend. Knowing that there is people around me supporting me all the time has meant that moving hasn’t been that bad at all. I have been back home multiple times already, and family have come to visit me too which has helped immensely.

One key theme I’ve noticed through writing this is how important people are in my life. When I am down, it seems that the people around me are the ones that help me the most. In my opinion it is absolutely worth being careful about who you let into your life and who you surround yourself with. These people are so important in helping you through hard times and shaping your life. I am very fortunate to be blessed with such amazing close friends and family. This is a luxury that not many people have, and I am so grateful. Without these special people, moving my life like this would simply not have been possible.

Stepping Stones

Another reason why this process was easier for me was that I have had various stepping stones leading up to this moment in my life. I was talking to a friend about this recently.

When we were in Year 8 at school, we took a whole week called Unley week. This meant that our class could go out and complete tasks in the suburb of Unley. This was a big step for me at the time.

In Year 9 we did city week, which meant that this time we were now free to explore the CBD of Adelaide.

In Year 11 I did an exchange to Germany. I lived with another family for 2 months in the city of Hamburg. Again, at the time, this was a big step for me, but yet again my comfort zone was being stretched.

As I mentioned earlier, in 2019 I went on a semester exchange to Sheffield. Another big step.

Upon reflecting on all these things that I have done, I have come to realise that this experience of moving was just the next step in the process. Continually pushing out my comfort zone and proof that I can handle these kinds of situations. Once again, without the loving support of my family, these situations would not have been possible and I may not be where I am today.

Sunset in Adelaide - 5th of April

Sunset in Adelaide - 5th of April

My Advice

So, now you’ve read about my experience, what are some tips that I would have for someone undergoing the same or similar journey?

Stay in Touch

As I’ve mentioned, remaining in touch with close family and friends was very important in the initial stages of moving. I moved from having a great social circle to not having any friends around. It takes time to find new friends, and I think during this period of creating new friendships it’s essential that you remain in touch with those people that you love.

Explore

One thing that I have done, and one thing that I will do more of, is to explore.

Now you have moved it is your time to try all those things that you didn’t do because your friends didn’t think it was cool. It’s time to shake off that social pressure and do what you want because you want to do it.

Some examples for me in this area are

  • writing this post and this blog
  • starting an instagram page about books
  • going to random gym classes because you want to try new things
  • driving to cool places because you want to see what’s there

Your chance to finally do these things has arrived, so I encourage you to make the most of it.

Enjoy your own company

I think this is super important. Over the first few weeks, I spent a lot of time with myself, not doing anything.

This was really insightful for me. When you sit doing nothing for so long, you start to go a bit crazy. Things pop into your mind that you don’t expect.

In my opinion, these things have been around for a while, but you are only now just noticing. Take in what comes to you and realise that these feelings are just that, feelings, you are safe and loved.

I think in enjoying your own company you need to be ok doing things yourself. Going on trips yourself, going out for lunch yourself. These are things I have had to do and definitely things that I now enjoy. Doing things with other people is also fun, but learning to enjoy these simple things just by yourself is very valuable.

Conclusion

During my move I doubted myself, I was scared, I learnt a lot and I overcame difficulties. As I have always known, moving cities is one of the best things I will ever do and I look forward to what the future holds.

James

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