I moved away from my hometown to pursue college after graduation in 2015. A lot of things have changed since moving into my first one-room flat in Dresden. Or more so, there was a lot of things that I’ve learnt with the experience. I’ve moved flats three times, changed college once, moved abroad once, changed part-time jobs four times, done three different internships and have dated three guys since. But this is not about that. This is what I learnt from moving away from the comfort I knew at 18.

 The freedom.

Staying in your hometown doesn’t mean you’re restricting yourself from the outside as you can still go on holidays, trips, and so on. But it is a whole new experience when you’re moving away for good. While I appreciated the familiarity of my hometown and my family and friends there, I was ready for some change. I was very excited for this huge step into adulthood and the leap into the big Unknown. Living somewhere else made me comprehend just how huge this world truly is and how the possibilities truly are endless! Or seem it.

Stepping outside your comfort zone.

Moving away will expose you to so much newness that can be overwhelming at first. But so fucking exciting. You’ll meet new people, immerse yourself in new local places, you’ll become accustomed to new ways of life and drastically widen your horizon. Challenge yourself – because you do learn whilst you’re outside your comfort zone. That’ll do you good in the long run as you go about truly discovering who you are and who you’re becoming.

Focusing on yourself.

As I’m still on my path to self-discovery, I found that moving to a new area will allow you to detach yourself from familiar influences like family, friends and norms you grew accustomed to. This is what I definitely felt when I moved to London in 2017. A change in scenery will create room for finding your true self and your true values. I am already feeling that I’m slowly shaping into a whole new person who knows what they want and truly want to be.

Appreciation for the loved ones.

I found that being away from home made me appreciate my loved ones back home even more and that made our relationship with each other way better. The saying “Absence makes the heart grow stronger” proves so true at this point. It can take a few days (in my case), weeks or months, but you will find yourself missing your loved ones and you’ll cherish every time you get to go back home to visit.

Growing new connections.

Talking about jobs and opportunities, having an expansive network is essential to the most. Moving away means your network will most possibly continue to grow even faster. Now, this was intimidating at first. I’m a downright introvert so I naturally hesitate with introductions and making connections with people. I mean, how do you small-talk without it being awkward and fake? But the more you introduce yourself to random faces (this is a mentality I got in London also), the less scary it will be. And before you know it, you’ve got that confidence in yourself but also brand-new connections from totally diverse backgrounds and that, to me, is beautiful.

Learning to be resourceful.

With responsibilities like paying rent, paying bills, doing laundry, you will quickly find yourself becoming more resourceful. This isn’t as scary as it seems. And I’ve made plenty of mistakes but you learn along the way and your trust in yourself will grow as you figure out new solutions.

While leaving my bubble of comfort in my hometown wasn’t so easy to do and I struggled with homesickness the first few weeks until I eventually started college and grew into a new lifestyle, it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.

What did you learn when you first moved out? What did it feel like for you? Where would you love to move to one day?