By Malisa Loburg
Here are 10 ideas for how to make relocating a smooth and seamless transition.
1. Find the Closest ATM, Grocery Store, Post Office, Gas Station, Restaurants It’s disorienting being new and knowing where to go for these things will help you to feel more settled. The more you feel that your basic needs are covered, and you can establish some routines, the easier it will be to feel like you have free time to relax and explore.
2. Go Outside When the weather allows it, put on your walking shoes and visit a nearby park, walk along a trail, explore the area around a lake. If you have a dog, put him on the leash and take him along or find a dog park– dogs are helpful conversation starters. Not only that, exercise reduces stress and nature provides a scenic background. Feeling better physically helps you feel better socially, too.
3. Introduce Yourself to At Least One Neighbor Be warm, friendly and approachable. Make a point of smiling and say “hello” to everyone you regularly encounter. Ask questions about the neighborhood, let them give you the scoop on places to go, things to see and do. Consider exchanging contact information. It is helpful to be able to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with a neighbor.
4. Enroll in a Structured Class or Activity Select an art or cooking class, join a gym, participate in a regularly scheduled yoga or spinning class. It is easier to develop relationships when you have the opportunity to see the same people repeatedly and establish mutual interests.
5. Reach Out to Your Contacts Using Social Media Ask everyone you know if they know someone who lives in your new city. If you get a name and number, contact the person, go to coffee, make a friend. You may not hit it off, but you don’t have to– that person may be able to introduce you to others. It’ll give you a good reason to get out, explore new places and get in the habit of meeting people.
6. Visit a Nearby Coffee Shop, Bookstore, Gallery, Even the Local Library Soak up the local culture, see what people are interested in, what they are talking about. Often, these establishments have a bulletin board that lists upcoming events. Look for that, see if there is anything that interests you.
7. Surround Yourself with Comfort Items (and Local Items too) In the beginning of a move, so much is unfamiliar. Think about ways to comfort yourself using all five of your senses. In your apartment, have items that bring you comfort when you see them, hear them, smell them, feel them or taste them. But don’t make your whole place about where you’ve been. Take the time to look for local art, furniture and other items that will help connect your home to the area.
8. Walk, Bike, Take Public Transport and Talk to Cab Drivers You can learn your way around quicker if you walk or bike, plus it’s great exercise. Being on foot or on a bike offers a different perspective than when you are in a car. It’s amazing what you miss when driving. Getting on the bus or train also helps you master the layout of your new location. And who better to teach you about the city than a cabbie who knows it all so well?
9. Go Sightseeing Quick, before you become acclimated, go see a few of the places recommended for tourists. It’ll give you knowledge and appreciation for your new community, something to talk about with new friends and a jump start when you’re hosting out-of-towners.
10. Attend a Concert, Sports Event, Go to a Play or Take in a Festival It is a way to start getting involved and invested. Your participation results in supporting your new community and telling yourself in subtle ways that you belong here.
A Chicago native, Malisa keeps her finger on the pulse of the city. She is adept at matching clients with neighborhoods and apartments that exceed their expectations. Malisa writes about great Chicago rentals and relocation issues. Her specialty is the area of Lincoln Park apartments.