Should I Move to a New City?

There are thoughts you just don’t want in your head, and this is one of them…

“Should I move to a new city?” 

Having visited or lived in 100s of cities across the world over the last 15 years, I’ve had to ask myself this question more times than I can physically count.

I’ve felt settled in Bali over the last five years…

But lately, this thought has been on my mind again. 

Quiet at first, but becoming increasingly more loud with each day that passes. Loud like a poorly made soundtrack from an 80s movie blaring over the dialogue and keeping you up at night. Yeah, it’s loud. 

But if moving is supposed to be exciting, then why do I feel so uneasy?

Well if you’re reading this article and also wondering if you should move to a new city, then you’ll know it’s not always so cut-and-dry. 

  • What will my friends and family think?
  • Is this a financially risky decision?
  • Is this a distraction from [insert problem here].
  • Am I running away from something or someone?
  • Am I making my life more difficult?
  • Do I have the energy, time, or money for this?
  • Am I ready for change?
  • Am I ready to say goodbye?
  • Am I acting hastily? Should I pause and calm down?

These are just a few of the thoughts running through my mind? Can you relate?

At first, I started to notice a few telltale signs that it was time to move – particularly #1, #20, and #25. If you haven’t checked out this list yet, pop over there now, I’ll wait. 

Okay, how are you feeling? Take a deep breath, we’ll get through it together.

Maybe you’ve felt this too – a dullness in your routine or a yearning for something new. 

I gave it some time and observed. Am I truly happy? Does my routine light me up? Do the people in my life inspire me? Am I excited for most days? 

Sadly, the answer was no.

Seeking inspiration, I started to add ‘one new thing’ a week to help push me out of my comfort zone and mix things up again. This was all I needed to quickly realize how much I love newness. At the same time, I’d been living in Uluwatu (Bali) for just over a year, and it became apparent that I’d also outgrown the town I was living in.

Admitting this to my partner, we quickly planned a visit to a potential nearby new city (Canggu), found an apartment, and three weeks later, we made the move.

This new city is amazing. We love food and getting outside, so we were so happy to be back somewhere filled with walking paths, spacious beaches, and more restaurants than we could ever sink our teeth into.

However, the move lit a fire under us. This new city is now just one stepping stone towards a bigger plan, as we’re leaving for a NEW COUNTRY at the end of the month.  

Is it possible to be both wildly exhausted and undoubtedly excited at the same time?
That’s how I’m feeling right now as we sift through our belongings, detach from everything that we’ve acquired over the years, and say goodbye to a place that we have truly called home.
The ride is about to get real. 
If any of the signs to move to a new city resonated with you, we’ve laid out a few more below to show why moving (although hectic and scary) can actually be a great thing.
Should I move to a new city - airport
Our bags are packed and we're ready to go! - Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali

Reasons to Move Cities

1. It will push you out of your comfort zone.

I touched on this briefly, but switching cities or countries, especially alone, can be terrifying yet one of the most exciting experiences you’ll ever have.

You’ll be challenged to think differently, meet new people, and try new activities. It will test your limits (positively and negatively!), ultimately teaching you how strong, resilient, and capable you really are. 

2. You might save money!

For us, money was a big factor in deciding where (and when) we wanted to move.

Originally we believed that it would be less expensive to stay put and save, but after doing some research, it quickly dawned on us that there are tons of amazing cities with a significantly lower cost of living

Even when we factored in the visa, flight, and other travel expenses to get there, it was still cheaper to leave! 

Once it was clear that moving (and adventuring) would result in less expenses, it was a no-brainer to just book the ticket and go.

Be sure to check out our go-to travel hacks for booking cheap flights.

3. You'll probably improve your health.

We initially thought that moving to a new destination would disrupt our health and fitness goals, plunging us deep into ‘holiday mode’ (we’ve all been there) – especially given Canggu is famous for its crazy amount of top notch international restaurants.

However, our recent relocation from Uluwatu turned out to be quite the contrary.

Transitioning from a city with little to no walking paths to one abundant with walkable areas, we now make it a priority to enjoy long beach walks at sunset or aim for 10,000 steps before bed. This shift has significantly boosted our activity levels.

Although we loved it, we’ve also traded in our $120 monthly gym membership for running in the neighborhood and exercising with travel-friendly resistance bands at home.

So we’ve gone from a dedicated hour in the gym with little other activity, to higher levels of movement spread across the day – and it’s working a treat!

We also have access to a wider selection of healthier food options, bigger grocery stores, and we also have a kitchen we can cook in – things we didn’t have in our last city.

It’s easy to think that change may derail you from your goals, but when you adapt your lifestyle to your new home, it’s easy to find the solution you’re seeking. 

4. Your mood will improve.

Trust me on this one.

Exploring new places, enjoying fresh experiences, and interacting with different people all contribute to my small bursts of happiness.

If you pick a city where the weather is better, the sun shines more frequently, and there’s an opportunity to get outside, explore and move walk or move, then you’re on the up-and-up for good vibes. 

Should I move to a new city - better mood
Sunset surfs with my great friend and fellow nomad Chanel - Dreamland Beach, Uluwatu, Bali

5. Did I mention better weather?

This one needed it’s own point.

You get to choose where you’re headed to next. Pick a city with great weather. Find somewhere that aligns with the lifestyle you enjoy and the activities you’re interested in.

6. You’ll feel more creative and productive.

Moving to a new city requires our brain to think in new ways, and therefore build new neural pathways

Simple tasks like finding a grocery store or choosing a restaurant for dinner – which we usually do on autopilot – will actually start to activate your brain. You’ll feel more encouraged to search for creative solutions in your everyday life. 

The best part? I find this flows into other areas of daily life like work, too.

Imagine a move to a new city that gives you the ability to be more productive and creative at work! That’s a huge win in my eyes.

7. You’ll have new goals and the ability to create fresh, new routines.

A change of scenery might be exactly what you need to set new goals and create a brand new routine. This is where a new city can really help.

It’s often easier to start and build new habits when you’re in unfamiliar territory and everything around you has changed. Such a shift can spare you the struggle against old habits, outdated routines, and resistance to change.

8. You can reinvent yourself.

New place, new you.

A new city means you have the opportunity to be anyone you want to be! 

With no one aware of your past or who you used to be, you can begin this new chapter exactly as the person you aspire to be. Whether you’re the early-morning go-getter, the sunset surfer, or the one who’s always spotted at cool art events, embrace what excites you.

Now is the time to embody that person!

Should I move to a new city - reinvent yourself
Turning life upside down at Bambu Fitness - Uluwatu, Bali

9. You have the opportunity to build healthy relationships from scratch.

Changing the dynamics of a relationship, or establishing boundaries with friends can be challenging.

If you move to a new city, you get the chance to set these boundaries right from the start.

You can decide how promptly you reply to messages, what invitations you accept, and how you present yourself in friendships right from the beginning. Gone are the days of automatically saying yes to Friday pizza and beers if that’s no longer your scene.

10. It will be easier to meet people and network.

When you’re new to a city, you’ll naturally introduce yourself to more people (sometimes anyone and everyone!).Although you might have to make a little more effort to find suitable social events, everybody you meet will be brand new.

This fresh start allows for effortless mingling, as you naturally talk about who you are, where you moved from, and what you do.

Being forced to more regularly introduce yourself is a surefire way to meet new people, build work connections, and find friends who share your likes, dislikes, and hobbies. 

11. Every day will be an adventure.

Finally, the most exciting point.

Every day has the potential to be a wonderful adventure filled with exciting new places, peoples, experiences, and activities. 

It’s the reason most of us move to a new city.

Should I move to a new city - every day is an adventure
Definitely out of my comfort zone...bungee jumping! - Bhoti Kosi River, Nepal

So, are you ready to move to a new city?

If you’re wrestling with this question and in search of support, let me tell you (and yes I’m biased), the answer is almost always yes. 

In my opinion it’s better to sit through some discomfort and enjoy the excitement of something new, rather than things being ‘good enough’ and sitting in monotony.

Dive in, work out the logistics, and set off for somewhere new!

If it turns out the new place isn’t quite right for you, you can always return or move on somewhere new. It’s better to have taken the chance than to forever wonder “what if?” 

So, where are you thinking of heading? Drop a comment below, as we’d love to connect and let’s find out who else in the comments might be on a similar path!

p.s. If you’re contemplating this move on your own, I wholeheartedly encourage you to go for it! Moving to a new city was one of my best decisions. Traveling alone and relocating to different cities and countries has profoundly shaped who I am today.

Max quit her corporate job in 2013 to take a chance building businesses online while traveling the world. Armed with an adventurous spirit and a can-do attitude, Max has traveled to more than 50 countries, embracing slow travel as a digital nomad and long-term living in places such as Thailand, India, Nepal, and Indonesia. Max currently resides in Bali where she oversees content creation for DNG as our resident travel aficionado.
Picture of Max Pankow
Max Pankow
Max quit her corporate job in 2013 to take a chance building businesses online while traveling the world. Armed with an adventurous spirit and a can-do attitude, Max has traveled to more than 50 countries, embracing slow travel as a digital nomad and long-term living in places such as Thailand, India, Nepal, and Indonesia. Max currently resides in Bali where she oversees content creation for DNG as our resident travel aficionado.

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One Response

  1. After three years in Bali, I’m heading to Hanoi, Vietnam! 🇻🇳 <-- Hehe. Can't wait for new sights, smells, sounds, experiences and tastes 🍜🤤 Definitely the right time to move...

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