25 Signs You Need to Move to a New City

Feeling stuck? Maybe it’s time to get moving…

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler looking for confirmation about your next move, or a first-timer anxiously excited to make the leap, we’ve got you covered.

After a decade of globe-trotting and helping others pack their bags, we’ve used our experience to pick out all the telltale signs you need to move to a new city (or country!).

But before we get started, remember, moving to a new city won’t solve an internal issue. If you’re running away from a friend, partner, job, or situation… while a change in scenery may help, it’s best to tackle these problems head-on before packing your stuff up and hopping on a plane.

Here are 25 Signs You Need to Move to a New City

If you’re spending your free time scouring the internet trying to convince yourself whether or not it’s time to move to a new city, then I can assure you the answer is almost always, yes

But let’s check out the list, just in case…

And if you’re already a nomad by nature, we’ve added a few extras for you at the end 😜

Brace yourself, your neck might hurt from nodding along. 

1. You feel unmotivated, stagnant, or stuck in a rut.

If you’re waking up every day wondering if there’s more to life than this, then that’s a huge sign that something needs to change, especially if your current circumstances (e.g. job, relationship, family, friends, community, hobbies etc.) are ticking along just fine.

If everything seems to check the boxes, but you’re still waking up feeling uninspired and stale, a change in scenery could be just the thing you need.

It happened to us.

While we love our life in Bali, we found ourselves feeling this way at the start of 2024 and decided to challenge ourselves to 'one new thing' a week.

After a month of embracing new activities, we realized how much we love trying new things and that our current lifestyle wasn't fulfilling that desire enough. So, we moved to a livelier city, Canggu (where we used to live originally), and shortly after, booked a one-way flight to Vietnam. 

We decided that a year of adventures seemed like a better plan...

Sometimes, you just gotta take the leap!

2. You hate your job.

If the Sunday scaries cause you so much anxiety that you’ve practically managed to fund your therapist’s next vacation, then it might be time to reconsider your situation.

This feeling is commonly associated with a location-fixed 9 to 5 job, so if your not-so-enjoyable employment is one of the main anchors tying you to a city, this may be your sign to resign! 

Now more than ever, remote jobs allow you to work from anywhere in the worldIf you have a half-decent savings cushion, you may consider traveling for a while as you figure out what truly excites you. 

We’ve encountered loads of nomads who’ve traveled, discovered their passions, enhanced their skills online, and either secured a remote position or launched their own ventures while living in cost-effective destinations around the world.

Consider how much further your dollar would stretch with monthly expenses of $1,500 USD in Bali, $1,000 USD in Thailand, or even less in Vietnam or India.

This is called geo-arbitrage. Look it up!

3. You’re always complaining.

Slightly ironic, given this article is basically one big list of complaints… but…

If you find yourself grumbling about every little thing – the weather, the food, the people, the pollution, the noise – then it’s definitely a sign to consider moving to a new city.

You may have relocated to your current city for a job, a partner, or perhaps it’s your hometown and you’ve never ventured elsewhere. Regardless of the reason, remember, you’re not anchored in one spot  forever. If you’re consistently unhappy with your surroundings, it’s a clear indicator that a change of environment is in order. 

And while you’re contemplating this change, I highly recommend giving “The Seven Day Mental Diet” a read to see if you can challenge yourself to avoid complaining for a week.

Yes, it’s as challenging as it sounds, and admittedly, I’m not sure I’ve ever made it past six days. Despite being a brief 10-page read, it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

Give it a read and let us know how you get on! 

4. The cost of living is too expensive.

This happens.

Whether quickly or slowly, the cost of rent, gas, groceries, and overall living expenses creeps up, and suddenly, you can’t afford to live where you’ve always called home.

Instead of living paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet, recognize this as one of the unmistakable signs you need to move to a new city (or secure a pay raise!). 

Don’t perceive this as ‘failure’ to keep up with soaring rates, but rather as an opportunity to relocate to an even better place. As I mentioned before, there are incredibly affordable locations around the world that offer a high quality of life without the high cost of living. 

Some of my favorite destinations for under $2,000 USD per month include Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Colombia, and Portugal. 

Real talk. I live in Bali for less than your monthly rent. 

I currently enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle in Bali, on $1,200-1,800 USD per month. This budget covers a private room in a guesthouse (with a shared pool and kitchen), a premium gym membership, weekly massages, monthly nail treatments, occasional shopping, and dining out for most meals.

Certainly you can spend more (or less), but I'm just trying to paint the picture of what life could look like for you in other parts of the world.

5. The weather is crap.

Do I need to say more? If you’re spending countless hours shoveling snow, seeking shelter from the rain, or battling seasonal depression (it’s real), take this as your cue to move to a new city. 

If you’re committed to a job you love or a community you can’t bear to leave, I understand the dilemma. However, since you’re reading this article, I’d guess you’re on the lookout for a sign to move to a new city. 

And if the dismal weather is just another tick on an ever-growing list of reasons to leave, consider this your official permission slip to leave.

Signs You Need To Move To A New City - Bad Weather
Meh weather is a pain in the neck!

Image credit: Unsplash

6. You’ve outgrown your friends or community.

Admittedly, this is a tough realization to come to, but there may come a time where you find yourself out of sync with your friends or community, or feel like you’re forcing connections. While you may still hold affection for them (or not), it’s evident that you’re not growing at the same pace, or perhaps your priorities have changed.

You may have once shared similar goals, interests, or ambitions, but that time has passed and things have shifted. Maybe everyone around you is content with a 9 to 5 lifestyle, accepting of rising living costs, and constantly grumbling about the news or weather, while you yearn for something different. And that’s okay!

There’s no need to feel guilty for having different aspirations, but it is important to acknowledge and respect these differences. Though relocating may seem like a drastic measure, it’s often the easiest method to reestablish boundaries in a way that minimizes hurt feelings.

7. You have no fun.

If your life feels boring, mundane, and uninteresting, then why stay? Seriously, what’s keeping you there? Is it an attachment to a job that’s hard to leave behind?

If you’re staying in a city just to ‘play it safe’ but aren’t actually enjoying any benefits, then what’s the point? 

Consider what hobbies, climate, or weekend activities spark your curiosity and bring you joy.

Isn’t it worth exploring a place that offers you these opportunities?

8. Your goals have changed.

Maybe you moved to a big city to get stuck into work, embrace the grind and advance your career, or maybe you sought out a place with an active and robust dating scene.

Are your goals still the same? 

Perhaps you’ve climbed the career ladder or met the partner of your dreams. Maybe not.

Either way, surely enough time has passed for you to determine whether it’s all coming together (and you’ve set new goals) or it’s not happening (and it’s time to move on). 

If you’ve built a career and found a partner, is it time to look for a place where you can start a family?

If you haven’t achieved your initial goals, then it’s definitely time to try somewhere new. 

9. You don’t feel like you belong.

Whether it’s due to your friends, family, job, or political climate, there may come a time when you just don’t feel like you belong anymore.

Whatever the reason, you don’t have to stay put just because it’s the place you’ve always known. It’s okay to move on to new places, new ideas, and new communities. 

Picture immersing yourself in spirituality in Ubud, Bali, gaining your divemaster certification on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand, or scaling your startup in the tech-focused Silicon Valley of California. There’s a community out there for everyone. 

Where do you feel like you would belong?

10. You feel like you’re missing out on life.

Does every Monday feel like another weekend lost? Does every birthday or New Year prompt you to question your achievements and life direction? Do you feel like you’re constantly spinning on a hamster wheel of activities, but not making progress towards any meaningful goal? 

Do you see your peers embarking on adventures, acquiring new skills, or even just advancing in their careers, while you spend your nights scrolling through social media wondering about the direction of your own life? 

If this resonates with you, it’s a clear sign to embrace change and start living. Moving to a new city could be the catalyst you need to seize life and make the most of every moment.

Signs You Need To Move To A New City - Missing Out on Life
Don't let life be a headache!

Image credit: Unsplash

11. You’ve never left your hometown.

Whether you’re ready or not, THIS IS THE SIGN YOU NEED TO MOVE TO A NEW CITY. I’m sorry for the caps, but please, give this a chance. 

Leaving your hometown exposes you to a variety of life experiences different from those you’re used to. This could be something as simple as shopping at a new grocery store chain, navigating a major highway, or learning to shovel snow. Though these changes might seem minor, they can be significant for someone experiencing them for the first time. 

As much as I cherish my hometown (and visiting my family), moving away was among the best and most daunting decisions I’ve ever made.

12. You’re craving change.

Sometimes, you just crave a change, and you can’t quite put your finger on what exactly needs to shift, right?

For frequent travelers and nomads like myself, often that change involves moving to a new city or exploring a new destination. Occasionally, the change can be minor, like getting a new haircut, joining a new gym, or picking up a new hobby, but more often than not, these ‘bandaids’ don’t fully satisfy the urge. 

Desiring change in your life is completely natural, and there are countless ways (and cities) to scratch this itch!

Word of warning: it's easier to move cities than it is to grow out bangs. 

Post-breakup me of 2016 thought cutting my hair and dying it pink would be the change I needed... turns out, I just needed some space from my hometown.

Save yourself the embarrassment (and terrible photos) and just buy the plane ticket instead! 

13. There's too many bad memories.

Eeek!

Ever gone through a tough breakup and felt the urge to just pack your bags and leave? Been there, done that (a few times, actually).

While I don’t advocate ‘running away’ as a solution, sometimes it’s necessary to remove yourself from the trigger

If a city or town brings back too many painful memories, and you’ve tried facing them head-on without success, moving to a new city might be exactly what you need. A fresh start in a new place could be the key to finding happiness again.

A bit of inspiration (and a low-key gloat)... 

When I called off my wedding in 2016, I bought a one-way ticket to Europe and never looked back. Nearly a decade later, it stands as the best decision of my life.

I’ve traveled to over 50 countries, started several online businesses, and made countless friends. And yes, I've also bungee jumped, cliff-dived, and fallen in love again.

Ditch the bad vibes, your new life is waiting.

14. You've built up too many good memories.

Why move away from a place filled with good memories? It might seem counterintuitive, right?

Wrong.

If you find yourself constantly reminiscing about the ‘glory days’ without creating new memories, you’re not truly living anymore

If all your peers have moved on and you’re still talking about that time ten years ago when you all last hung out, take this as your cue to move on.

It’s time to start creating new, joyful memories again.

15. You want to be closer or further from your family.

Family dynamics are indeed two sides of the same coin.

Some of us intentionally move away to create space (mom, I promise that’s not the reason I moved to the other side of the world!), while others move closer to be able to see family more often. 

If you’re struggling with boundaries or family dynamics, maybe a bit of distance – or a 5-hour flight – is exactly what you need to establish some healthy boundaries and regain your footing. 

On the flip side, if you’re far from home (sorry, mom and dad) or across the country and a family member is aging or unwell, it might be the right time to consider moving back. 

These decisions don’t have to be permanent, but they’re valid reasons to consider relocating to a new city.

Signs You Need To Move To A New City - Move Away From Family
Connect with family whether they're near or far!

Image credit: Unsplash

16. You want to find a partner or have a kid.

There’s a stage in life where it seems everyone around you is either getting married or starting families. This can prompt you to start to question if your current town is the right place for you to hit these milestones, too.

Maybe you’ve spent considerable time here without much success in the dating scene, or you could have already found a happy relationship (lucky you!) and considering starting a family, but the local school system or quality of life is somewhat lacking to raise children the way you want. 

If these aspects cross your mind, it could be an indication that moving to a new city is in order.

Choose your destination wisely.

While Bali is home to many wonderful people, many of my friends have found it challenging to find a long-term partner on the island. While it's not impossible, it's certainly not the norm.
 
It's clichéd, but has to be said as it's definitely partly true.
 
Many people come to Bali seeking healing. Whether from a broken heart, burnout, or in pursuit of some soul-searching. Let's just say that those in the midst of a 'healing process' aren't usually the ideal candidate for a long-term commitment. And when you add in the transient nature of the community here, it can seem like very few people want to put down roots.
 
Although the #1 goal for nomads is typically to escape the conventional 9 to 5 lifestyle, this doesn't mean we aren't looking for love! It's usually the more settled cities where you'll find individuals ready to commit to a shared future.

17. You want a fresh start.

Have you ruffled a few feathers in the friendship group, burnt bridges in your business network  or upset a local business owner?

Maybe you’ve exhausted the dating pool (and their friends), an ex flame is making life less-than-ideal, or you’ve let too many people take advantage of your good nature and it’s draining your time and energy.

Whatever the case, sometimes the fix is wiping the slate clean and an opportunity to start again.

Moving to a new city allows you the chance to be anyone you want to be! Whatever your goals, a fresh start means you can introduce yourself in an entirely new way

18. You have no reason to stay.

I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, but you have to ask yourself the question…

Is there any compelling reason to stay?

If you rent your place month-to-month or you’re nearing the end of your lease, have no pets or dependents, but stuck in a job you despise (or it’s at least flexible enough to do anywhere), what’s keeping you? 

Sure, most of us will have at least one family member or friend we’ll miss, a hobby or class we’re attached to, or a go-to restaurant we adore, but are these reasons enough to watch your life pass you by? 

Work out how to exit your lease, early, find a foster parent for your pet, or sell your house. While these are real challenges, they are still manageable!

19. You’ve got big life goals.

Remember those lofty life goals you had? The huge, scary ones you truly believed were possible before your job (and societal expectations) nudged you towards playing it safe? What’s holding you back from pursuing them now? 

You’re never too old or too inexperienced to start something new. 

Move to a busy city. Settle in a quaint town. Take up surfing. Learn Spanish. Volunteer at a farm. Write that book. Start a business. Go back to to school. Challenge yourself. Get in the best shape of your life. Walk across a country. Invest in the stock market. Become a day trader. Explore crypto. Sell everything and live on an island. Rehabilitate sea turtles. Start a nonprofit. Chase the Northern Lights. Pick up photography. Start painting. Live with monks. Become a freediver. Break a record.

GO LIVE THOSE WILD, CRAZY DREAMS.

This is your sign to move to a new city and chase after your goals.

20. You have an inner voice saying now is the time.

Sometimes, deep down, you just know that it’s time.

Whether you’re ready to acknowledge it or not, your inner voice is speaking loud and clear. If you’re reading this article, then that voice could already be whispering to you, telling you it’s time. 

So, trust the voice, take the leap, and go!

Signs You Need To Move To A New City - Inner Voice
🎤 "All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go" 🎵🎶 - 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' heavy metal cover.

Image credit: Unsplash

Digital Nomad Bonus

For all our fellow digital nomads out there, this section is specifically for you

Sometimes the move from one place to another feels effortless and exciting, yet at other times, we find ourselves comfortably settled in a new ‘home’, reluctant to leave.

If you’ve recently felt this familiar itch, here are the telltale signs you need to move to a new city and awaken that digital nomad spirit again.

21. You’ve been settled for a while.

You’re not quite sure how it happened, but you’ve settled in a city.

Somewhere along the way, comfort crept in. You put down roots, signed up for a whole load of monthly memberships, secured a temporary lease, extended your visa, and your once minimalistic backpack lifestyle expanded into something more permanent.

If you settled for a few months (or a few years like us!), you’ve likely began to question whether you’re a true nomad or just someone who works online while living overseas. 

If you’re reading this article and felt settled for a while, this is your sign to ask yourself whether continuing to create your home in this destination is what you really want.

22. You’ve gotten too comfortable.

Traveling was a blast, and suddenly, you found a new place where everything just clicked.

Living costs are manageable, the quality of life is exceptional, you found a bunch of new friends, settled down, and grew comfortable with ‘living’ here.

Now, the mere thought of undergoing change feels overwhelmingly taxing. Can you relate?

You’re unhappy that you’ve lost your wanderlust spirit, but the thought of selling your belongings and leaving the comfort of home feels daunting.

We’ve all been there, done that, and don’t know if we truly want to do it over again. But do you sit awake at night wondering if this is the best it gets?

If this sounds like you you, then this is your sign to get back on your feet and out of your comfort zone.

Bring that zest and adventure back into your life and resume your travels as a digital nomad.

I promise, you’ll thank me for this later 😉

23. You’re craving change.

You’ve made a few low-key changes, but its still not enough. You’re craving something new

If you’ve cut your hair, joined a new gym, started a new hobby, read a new book, binged a new Netflix series, or moved house, but you’re still craving change… this is your sign you need to move to a new city (not just one neighborhood away).

24. There’s nothing holding you back.

While you may have carved out a comfortable life for yourself, is there anything holding you back from leaving?

Most nomads live on monthly rentals or temporary leases, meaning they can pack up and go as soon as they like. 

If it all boils down to comes down to selling a few items and diving back into the unknown, this moment is ideal to assess whether now is the time to embrace a new destination.

25. You hear someone else doing it, and you feel jealous.

When a friend posts about their latest adventure, do you find yourself overwhelmed with jealousy rather than joy?

Instead of celebrating their experience, do you wonder how they’re financing their journey or who’s covering their responsibilities at work? Do you find yourself rationalizing how they can afford such adventures while making excuses for why you haven’t pursued your own?

If this sounds like you, then it’s time to go.

Stop making excuses that prevent you from living fully. 

Truth bomb in 3-2-1...

"If I listened to what was really going on in my head and not what I thought I should be doing or what felt safe, I would already be on a plane."   

How many signs are telling you to move?

It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of daily life, but if you’re here questioning whether this feeling is normal or if there’s more to life, then I’m confident you’re brave enough to make the change.

Regardless of whether it’s one, loud blaring sign or twenty-something quiet whispers…

If you’ve found yourself shaking your head or nodding along, then this is your clear sign to move to a new city.

Sort the logistics (please!), but don’t delay.

I promise, you’re not alone in this journey.

What are you waiting for?

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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