I’ve made a lot of dumb decisions in my 23 years, done a lot of things I regret.
Whether it’s how I used my money, who I invested in relationships with, or where I spent my time, I could’ve done a lot better.
But one thing I’ve never regretted is moving to new cities.
I’ve moved to new cities in new states twice in the last four years, and after all I’ve learned and experienced, I’ve come to this belief: If you’re young, you should move.
And here are 15 reasons why:
1. You have transferable responsibilities.
You still have responsibilities when you’re young, such as student loans, a job, etc., but most of those responsibilities are transferable to different cities or states or even countries. You can pay your loans from anywhere, and you can find a job anywhere. You don’t have kids or a house keeping you in one location.
2. You can switch jobs easily.
You don’t have a 15-year career somewhere, and you don’t have a lot of job experience, so you have the freedom to try new jobs. If you don’t have a job yet, you have even more freedom to find a job in a place you are curious about.
3. You will learn new hobbies.
Before moving to Denver, I didn’t like outdoor activities. I preferred the city life. But Colorado is packed with outdoor activities, so I had to try some. It turns out, I love hiking up mountains, and I think I will really enjoy camping out here. These are hobbies I can do the rest of my life. I wouldn’t have known this unless I moved.
4. You will meet new people.
When you move away from home, you are forced to make friends. This is easier done when you’re young, as you most likely have more free time, aren’t as stressed with kids, and aren’t part of an established social group. I’ve met all kinds of different people, and now have deep friendships with people all across the country and even world.
5. You will become independent.
Moving makes you grow up and learn to not rely on your parents. You learn how to pay bills, get your car serviced, keep a budget, and other “adult” things.
6. You can be the person you want to be.
Moving provides a fresh start, a chance to recreate yourself. Being surrounded by the same people and things can keep you stuck in a certain role, a certain way of life. An all-new environment makes it easier to become the person you want to be. You can re-create yourself at any point in life, but the sooner you establish a foundation for who you want to be the better.
7. You will discover who you are.
While you can create who you want to be, moving also allows you to more easily discover who you are. It’s hard moving to a new place, needing to make new friends, and learning to be independent. But when you face struggles, you find out things about yourself you didn’t know, both good and bad. Knowing yourself is invaluable as you move through life.
8. You will become more well-rounded.
The different experiences that different parts of the world provide, as well as the different people in those places, will give you a broader knowledge of the world. Learning new things, understanding new types of people, and hearing new ideas will make you a more well-rounded person and put you in a better position to succeed as an adult.
9. You will avoid Madison syndrome.
Madison syndrome is something I made up to describe some people from Madison. A lot of people from Madison claim it’s the greatest city in the world, but they have never lived anywhere except Wisconsin. I understand it might be some people’s favorite city, but I don’t think anyone can claim any city is the best in the world, because it’s a completely subjective claim. Nevertheless, moving to a new city, and specifically a new part of the country, will prevent you from believing unreasonable things about the city you are from.
10. You will see the positives and negatives about where you previously lived.
When you move away from somewhere, you find out what you really liked about that place, and you also find out what you didn’t like. For example, Madison was so small it drove me crazy. But I also miss being able to sit by a lake with Kalyn and a bottle of wine and be all alone. Being away from the Minnesota weather, I realize how terrible it is. But I miss the personality of the Twin Cities, the way people dream and appreciate small things. In Denver, I like the big city with easy access to incredible nature, but I don’t like how white and un-diverse it is. If I decide to move back to Minnesota or Wisconsin, or to move somewhere new, I now have a better idea of the things I like and don’t like in a city. I can make a better decision on where I would like to settle down and start a family.
11. You will face your insecurities.
Being in an uncomfortable situation brings you face to face with your insecurities. Insecurities about what people think of you, the way you look, your talents, how much money you make, etc. In order to succeed in a new place, you need to overcome those insecurities. In a familiar place, you can be pretty successful with those boiling just under the surface. It’s best to bring healing to insecurities while you’re young, and moving will help you do that.
12. You will learn how to talk with strangers.
You can do this anywhere, but when everyone is a stranger, you learn to do it really well. You learn how to listen, how to ask questions, how to deal with awkward pauses, how to express your interest in other people. These are invaluable skills that will help you in both your social life and your career.
13. You will learn how to be alone.
When you don’t know a lot of people in a city, there is a lot of alone time. If you just sit around, you will go crazy with boredom and loneliness. Moving to a new city forces you to learn to how entertain yourself, to take initiative to pursue your dreams, and to stop waiting around for things to fall into your lap.
14. You will learn you need people.
When you spend a lot of time alone, you also learn how much you need people. When I am in comfortable places, I tend to think I would be alright on my own, that I’m self-sufficient. But nothing is farther from the truth. We need people in our lives, in close proximity to us. We need to know and be known. It’s not a luxury, it’s a basic need. Moving to new cities helps you not take the people in your life for granted.
15. You can always go back.
If you don’t like the city you move to, you can move back home. The same reasons that allow you to more easily move when you’re young allow you to more easily move back. Take a risk, and if it doesn’t end up working out, you at least learned some things. The risk actually isn’t a very big one.
If you’re not young, you can still move. It will just probably be more difficult.
But if you’re young, now is the time. Explore the world. Get to know yourself.
Pick a city you want to live in, pack up your stuff, and move. You won’t regret it, and you will be better because of it.
Question: What other reasons would you give? What are some things holding you back from moving? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.