why moving to another state can be harder than traveling the world

February 11, 2013

Friday marked our one-month San Diego anniversary (San Diego-versary?) and my, so much has happened in just 4 weeks. We: moved into our new apartment, scored a ton of awesome furniture at flea markets and thrift shops, met new people, tried out Ashtanga yoga, networked like CRAZY, secured freelance gigs and made about 1,000 trips to Target.

But now all that movement has for the most part settled and I finally have time to reflect on this big change we’re going through, and you know what? In some ways it was much harder than I thought. In fact, moving to California has at times been harder than traveling to third world nations with just a backpack and some common sense. I mulled over our RTW trip so long that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. It was also a bit of a fantasy life, where I could city-hop, eat great food and live responsibility-free. But San Diego? I  just threw my arms up and said, “OK!” and I’m now absorbing just how drastic of a change it’s been to go from a booming metropolis like New York to backpacking to a completely new city, where I have no family, just a couple friends and no clear vision of what’s next. And not knowing what’s next for someone like me can be a struggle.

Each chapter of my life was about looking forward. In high school, I looked to college. In college, I looked to New York. In New York, I looked to traveling. In traveling, I looked to San Diego. And now that I’m in San Diego, where do I look? I’ve always had trouble sitting still, constantly dwelling on the future rather than soaking in the present, and in the past month I felt it like a hot fever.

That fever was only augmented by the trials and tribulations of moving — things like furnishing an apartment, learning how to drive on the freeway (hate) and making new friends. Most of the days I’m focused and happy and energized and ready to conquer my goals. But there were some days during the last month when I’d be frustrated and unmotivated and overwhelmed and want to eat these cookies all day.

But it’s funny because as soon as I crossed that month-long threshold — literally to the day — things have begun to click. Our apartment is starting to look like a home, I’ve been meeting cool people who like food, the outdoors and even blogging just as much as I do, and life as a freelance writer is beginning to take shape. I’m discovering my favorite “spots” and figuring out how I want to spend my free time. Slowly but surely, it’s all coming together and I’m realizing that the idea of staying put doesn’t seem so hard to swallow after all. I’m always going to be a traveler at heart and I’m not saying San Diego is a forever kind of thing  — never say “forever” — but for the first time, I’m living where I want to live and doing what I want to do without holding onto an expiration date.

I’m still adjusting and finding my niche, but it’s comforting to know that hey, maybe the hardest part is over.

Has anyone else felt similar rambling thoughts during a big transition?

8 thoughts on “why moving to another state can be harder than traveling the world

  1. Kavita

    Totally know how you feel! I’ve experienced all of these feelings with our move to Delhi. For a while, I was coping by eating a chocolate croissant every day from our favorite bakery because it reminded me of home :-) But I’m sure you’ll settle in soon! And I love your posts on Southern California. I feel like visiting soon! :-)

    1. Archana Post author

      Oh girl, I know all about coping with dessert! And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as soon as I started feeling better, I finally went for a run and put down the Hershey Kisses! It’s all still a work in progress, but I’m lucky to have such travel-minded friends who get what I’m saying. Looking forward to seeing you guys here sometime soon via Pasadena.

  2. Runjini

    Hawaii has been much harder than I expected. I miss SF and the Bay a lot. And I’m in paradise, so I’m not allowed to complain (which I completely understand). Plus, I actually do have friends and family here! I have no idea how people move to places without networks. If I think too much about what our parents must have faced, I get so overwhelmingly depressed.

    For me, it hit me that my life in SF as I knew it is totally over. I could go back, but it will always be different because I’m different now. That’s life, but I’m the opposite of you in that I’m not adventurous and am a creature of habit. Realizing what was familiar is gone is scary to me.

    I guess all I can say is – you’re not alone. But you made it to your dream/goal city and have done a LOT in four weeks. I bet it takes more than four months for most people. So you should be proud!

    And you’ll have a visitor in me soon enough, so there’s that too. :-)

    1. Archana Post author

      Even though Hawaii was a short-term stay for me, I felt a little of that there, too. I felt odd complaining because it’s paradise, like you said, so I’d bottle it up, and we all know that’s a great idea! It’s so true that when you become a different person, you can never really “go home again.” That said, I’m pretty excited for the changes that’ve happened, and I’m sure you can say that about yourself as well. Thanks for making me feeling less crazy/alone! I’ll see you here soon :)

  3. Godhuli

    You’re lucky that things are beginning to click after one month! It usually takes the six-month mark for me to find my groove, my people, my places. It takes time to create a new life, but it feels so incredible to build an entirely new network in a brand new city on your own :)

    1. Archana Post author

      I honestly surprised myself! I definitely thought it would take me a year to feel comfortable. I mean, I’m not totally there yet. I’m still a little wobbly, but I feel like I’ve finally come up for air. And I’m really excited for exactly what you mentioned — to build a new network in a new city on my own. Thanks for the support!

  4. Amy

    congrats on all these exciting new things!! looks like you’re doing an amazing job getting settled, and i’m loving following all the new places you guys are exploring!

    1. Archana Post author

      Thanks, Amy! I felt completely crazy these past four weeks, but I’m starting to find my groove…and loving it. It just feels wrong to be negative in this sunny place!


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