• ASHLEY GAINES

MOVING TO THE CITY YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF



Excited. Terrified. Nervous. Relieved. These are all emotions I felt as I prepared to make my move to a new city, 11 hours away from home, not knowing anyone. I knew some people from college living in my new city, but no one that I was super close with. But I did it; I moved to Nashville last summer by myself, and it's one of the best things I've ever done.


Moving to a new city away from your hometown, you learn A LOT about yourself. In my opinion, I think everyone should get away from their hometown, at least for a little bit. My first year in Nashville, I grew tremendously in SO many ways. It was a hard year, but reflecting back it was one of the best years too. I knew if I didn't move to Nashville and try it out, I would regret not moving there someday. So I did it: I graduated college, saved up some money for a year, and then drove my way down to Nashville, Tennessee from Southern Maryland.


Moving to a new city was scary + crazy, but I did it whole-heartedly. If you're questioning moving to a new place, here's my advice: DO IT! I know this is cliché, but you seriously only have one life to live. If a new town doesn't feel right, you can always move back to your previous home. The move can be as temporary or permanent as you make it, but at least give it a try! You don't want to have any regrets.


I wanted to share some advice I learned during my first few months in Nashville, for those who might be going through the same emotions. I hope my experience encourages anyone contemplating a move, to just go ahead and do the dang thing! It's totally worth it; don't lose sight of your dream.



1. IT'S OKAY TO FEEL ALONE AT FIRST: IT GETS BETTER, TRUST ME.

Wow, if this one didn't hit me smack in the face right away. I am such an extrovert, always getting my energy off of others. When I moved to Nashville I was living in a small, studio apartment all by myself for the first time ever. Before the move, I was so used to being around people constantly: I lived in a household of five people, and before that I lived with six of my sorority sisters in college. I did not know what alone time was. LOL. The first few weeks were rough. But let me tell ya, it DOES get better! Whenever I was feeling down, I would Facetime my mom, or my friends to raise my spirits. Facetime was truly a lifesaver. Eventually, I started to enjoy downtime to myself. I learned how to fill alone time with things I enjoyed: working out, reading, making recipes, etc. I started to feel refreshed in those moments, instead of sadness.


2. PLAN VISITS WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY

The first thing I did, was planned when my friends and family were going to visit Nashville. Physically writing those plans in a calendar, made me realize how often I wouldn't be by myself. I was able to look forward to those weekends I would have visitors which made the weeks fly by faster. And if you don't have a calendar, well then maybe that's step one for you! LOL.


3. FIND A COMMUNITY

We aren't meant to do life alone, so it's important to find people you can connect with. I encourage you to think about your passions, and find a community where you can share those passions with others. For me, I love working out especially in group fitness. I discovered Full Ride, a local spin studio in Nashville, and I started going once a week; it completely lifted my mood. At Full Ride, I felt my first sense of safety and home in Nashville. I was surrounded by so many uplifting and positive people, and it was something I looked forward to every Wednesday.


My faith is another very important aspect in my life. It's what kept me holding on to hope when I felt so alone in my first few weeks in Music City. I wouldn't have gotten through those first weeks without Crosspoint, a local Nashville church. Between the amazing music (because HELLO it's Nashville and basically everyone under the sun here has musical talent) and inspiring messages from Pastor Kevin, I felt renewed every Sunday to press into a new week. I think when it comes down to it, faith is all we have when we feel alone; I grew so much closer to God in this past year than I ever have before and I'm so thankful for that.


4. GET OUT AND EXPLORE

Fresh air and being in new environments can do wonders. I loved sitting in coffee shops, or walking around new areas of town at first. Moving to a big city, chances are there are a lot of other people moving to the city as well: they too want to make friends just as much as you do. I've found in Nashville, it's been super easy to make friends if you put yourself out there. It can be uncomfortable at first, but so worth it. You can't make friends by sitting in your apartment all the time. So get out and explore the town!



Has anyone else ever experienced moving to a new city? What are some of the things that helped you in your first few months? Maybe you're going back and forth with taking that leap of faith and moving?


Nashville has slowly but surely become my new home. It's a place filled with so many talented and inspiring people; those individuals encourage me to pursue my dreams daily. It's a town full of love, support, and community like no other. It's sad to think that I might have missed out on this, if I let my fear get the best of me. I'm going to leave you all with this:


"Being brave isn't the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear, but finding a way through it." - Bear Grylls


stay brave friends,

xoxo ashley g.