1. Traveling across the country teaches you how to be alone.
Being alone in a new city allows you to become more independent as a person. It allows you to reconnect with your own thoughts, dreams, desires, and insecurities. And it challenges you to enjoy the solidarity that life has to offer. You’ll catch yourself sitting at restaurants and coffee shops alone, which can definitely be intimidating — especially when you see groups of people enjoying one another’s company. However it will also help you build self-confidence, and that’s something you can’t necessarily learn at lunch with a group of friends.
2. You become fearless.
It’s natural to feel excited and afraid when moving to a new city. The thought of picking up your bags, leaving your friends and family behind, and moving to a completely strange city is, by definition, quite fearsome. However it’s important not to let fear control your life. Instead, let your adventurous side run free; just the fact that you were able to do this alone is brave in itself!
3. You learn how to make new friends.
Making friends after college is different because life after college is different. College — and in particular, spending four years with the same friends — tends to catapult us into a deep comfort zone. However, when you move to a new city, that all changes; now you begin to notice the tight-knit groups of friends around you and you learn what it takes to introduce yourself to them. Putting yourself out there is key, as is remaining actively engaging; maintaining new friendships can be hard.
Modern technology can make this process feel a little easier, but it can’t be all that you rely on. Step out of your comfort zone and go to a coffee shop where other kids your age hang. Or, after a long day of work, make it a point to go to the gym. Even if you don’t develop a long-lasting friendship from one or two conversations you made with someone at the gym, it’s still a stepping-stone to meeting new people.
4. You learn to get lost in your new city.
While Google Maps can be a blessing for anyone who has just moved to a new city, it’s equally as useful to get lost once in awhile. When trying to familiarize yourself with a new city, it is just as important to not be fully dependent on your smartphone. You want to be able to explore the streets and check out everything this new place has to offer without having to constantly look down at your phone.
5. You learn that social anxiety is pretty much nonexistent.
At first you were anxious to go to a social gathering alone — and that’s totally natural. But after your 20th solo trip to a dinner party, the anxiety starts to fade. If you put yourself out there enough, you’ll become an expert at social interactions. Of course there will be times when coherent intoxication definitely helps your cause, but hey! You do you.
6. You learn to rely on yourself.
You learn to become a chef, how to do your own laundry, and how to pay your own bills; you learn to depend on nobody but yourself to get things done. When you are living in a new city, far away from home, your parents and siblings can’t easily help you, and you learn what it takes to build and capitalize on opportunities around you.
7. You learn to grow and reinvent yourself.
“Change is not pleasant, but change is constant. Only when we change and grow, we’ll see a world we never know.”
In this lifetime, it is important to keep growing as individuals. If you feel like you’ve hit a ceiling — whether in your career or personal life — make an effort to change. Constantly challenging yourself is crucial, particularly for young adults. Take your destiny into your own hands, and watch blissfully as it unfolds.