At this point it has been a little bit over eight months since I have moved to Austin, TX. Wow has the time gone fast.
This move was my first ever big move. I moved to Columbus in 2014, but that was relatively easy in comparison to this. There were a lot of emotional feelings that made it difficult, like feeling like I was left out when my younger friends still hung out at home.
But when I moved to college I only lived an hour away from my hometown. And after while Columbus became my home, it is the place I really grew into the person I am today. Today I am confident enough to move cross country, take trips by myself, and get out of my comfort zone to meet new people, and more.
Other things that made the transition to college easier included the large amount of similar aged people. And people with similar interests all in one place.
But enough about that, it was a while ago now. This transition has been difficult in ways I never expected. And for me some of that stemmed from learning to live with family members that I had never lived with before. And learning to live with kids. My sister is only a year younger than me, so it never really felt like there were small children around the house growing up.
Making friends in a new environment is also super challenging. I knew this going in, but I did not know that it would take as long as it has to meet people and make good connections.
Despite the challenges I believe I have gained as much or more than I ever expected from this move. And for that I think it is worth it.
So if you are considering moving away from home, wherever that may be for you, just believe that you will make the right decision for yourself. I cannot make those decisions for you, but only tell of my lived experience.
It is not always easy, but if it is for a city you want to live in, a job you have always dreamed of having or for a person you cannot see yourself living without I say do it. There will always be hardships and difficult times in life, so why not experience something new, fun, and exciting?
For those who have made the move, or are going to make the move, or need some new in their life at home here are some things I have done to help make the transition easier.
Things To Do
Join the local chapter of the Alumni Club.
This was one of the first things I did when I got to Austin. I found a group of Buckeyes that love and miss THE Ohio State just as much as I do.
Joining an alumni organization is great because you know you at least have one thing in common with everyone. You all went to the same university and probably experienced a lot of the same traditions, and maybe even took some of the same classes.
In my experience being a part of the alumni club has been great. I have met people working all different industries, and living in different seasons of their life. And I have been able to experience a lot of different things as part of the alumni club. I ice skated on top of a Whole Foods, watched the spring football game, and participated in a workout class. All of that in the last eight months and those are just the things I could attend.
The alumni club has also led to other activities and opportunities to get out and meet people. One of the members is the organizer of a soccer team and invited me to play with them. It was very nice seeing as I am not the greatest soccer player. But I went out and played a few games with them in the spring season and hope to play as a sub again in the fall.
Every alumni club will be different. The way this chapter is run you can attend events without being a member. But by paying a small membership fee you get a lot of great perks. I think it is definitely something I am so happy I did. So definitely look into joining the local chapter of your alumni club.
Go places where other people hang out.
Unfortunately this one for me has not made me any friends. I think mostly because I do not push myself far enough to introduce myself to anyone. Despite that I still think it is worthwhile.
Go places other people will be. It does not matter if you live with a roommate, partner, or family. Get out of the house and go to places other people will be. Ideally people of similar age, or interests as you so that you have the potential to meet people and make lasting connections.
But most of all just get out of your living space. When you do not it is easy to feel bad for yourself, or sad, or just give up and take a nap. Not that taking a nap is a bad thing. I love naps. But if you nap to avoid doing other things that is not always the best option. So leave your house because napping in public is not socially acceptable and you probably are less likely to do it because of that.
And it does not matter where you go. It could be a workout class, the library, a coffee shop, or bar. I do not care; it really is up to you. Just as much as possible be in places where other people are.
This is especially important if you are working remotely or from home. I came to Austin to nanny and spent a good majority of my time at my home. But when I was not watching the boys and was still just at home it just was not always the best for me.
If this is you find a coffee shop or tearoom with good Internet connection. Introduce yourself to the employees and get to know them. When I worked as a barista one of my favorite thing was learning about the “regulars” that spent so much of their time with us. Like I have said, just get out of your living space whenever possible.
I have not talked a lot about how I have been volunteering on the blog. I never wanted to come off as braggy about using my time for service as opposed to scrolling Instagram. But I do think volunteering is important if you have the time. I currently do not have the money to donate to all the organizations I would love to, but I have been donating my time.
Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your community and feel like you make a difference. The way my schedule worked I personally had a good chunk of free time weekly.
So I started volunteering. And let me tell you the decision was not all selfless. More than anything I want people to know that I am relatable. Some of my reasons for volunteering were rather selfish. For example, it will look great on my grad school applications. But even if there are some selfish reasons behind it I think giving of your time is beneficial.
I have had the opportunity to volunteer with a few different organizations since moving to Austin. The one I volunteer at most often is The Central Texas Food Bank. They have many programs to help Texans receive healthy food. I also helped at the BPMS 150 bike race in May. This race is set up to support research for Multiple Sclerosis. I personally know a handful of people that live with this disease and felt like donating my time was the right thing to do to help support in their healing journeys.
So find some time to volunteer. It does not matter if you only have a couple of hours a month. Just find an organization that aligns with your beliefs and give them those couple of hours. Not only will you feel good about yourself and the fact that you did not waste those hours re-watching the same television show you have seen a million times. But you will also have opportunities to meet people at these volunteer events. And people that use their time to volunteer are in my opinion the kind of people you want around you in this life.
Apps to Use
Those are some of the things I did when I moved to Austin that helped me a lot. Now for the apps I used to meet people and find activities to get out of the house.
This is the first time in my life I have ever used a dating app. And to be fair I have not really used the dating side of the app. I did for like a couple days and then got a bit spooked. I personally do not think I was ready for that.
And on top of that this guy was overly excited to meet me. Like I know I am great, but with the limited information it allows you to present he did not know that. But still was overly eager to the point I stopped using that side. Dating apps are just weird.
And on top of that I have never dated anyone that I did not know before dating them. That worries me because of my Celiac. Like do people really expect a goodnight kiss like in older movies? Should I bring an extra toothbrush in my bag and ask my date to brush his teeth after he eats. All these questions I do not know the answer to. So I put off dating for a bit longer. We will see what happens in that avenue of my life in the future.
I always talk here about how I do not let Celiac hold me back on the things I do want to do. But I do have to say I definitely let it reaffirm the things I do not want to do. It is probably something I can work on in the future. And if any of you having dating with Celiac tips let me know…
But Bumble is great because they have another side to the app called Bumble BFF. It is exactly the same format as Bumble for dating, but you look for friends. You do the whole swipe thing and then start conversations with mostly women if you both agree. This is how I met two of my friends in Austin and it is great.
Again I think they could allow you to put more information on your profile. And it is time consuming to message people and wait for responses and all. But otherwise it has been a very useful tool to help me meet new people in Austin.
I do want to say when meeting anyone new in person be smart about it. These apps can help bring people together and create lasting relationships. They also can lead to some horrible things, which we have all heard about on the news. My experience with this app has been wonderful, but I know that is not always the case. If something makes you feel weird about a person trust your gut and be safe my friend.
Meetup is another app that helps people make connections with others. An organizer forms a meetup and posts the events on the app. Each meetup is different and you can meet a lot of good people using this app.
Personally I have a mixed opinion of Meetup, but I do consistently go to a climbing meetup that I found on the app.
I say I have mixed reviews because I wanted to start a meetup. I know there are other individuals living with Celiac or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity in Austin and I wanted to form a group to support each other and just hang out.
So I looked into doing it using the app. And with my budget and my savings goals the price of becoming an organizer was too much. I know they are a business and have to make money to develop the app more and make improvements, but it was too much in my opinion. I would not be opposed to paying to be an organizer. But not only would I have to pay to be the organizer I would pay to go out to eat with the group, or do any activities we planned. So maybe it is more of a me thing than anything else. But I would still like to organize a group, I just have not found the best way to do that yet.
Other than how pricey it is to be an organizer the app is great. You join groups that you think you may be interested in and see all the events come up on the home page. Some groups are selective and make you fill out a questionnaire before they will allow you into the group. Usually these are not difficult though.
The best part, there are groups for everything. There are dance groups, side hustle groups, nature lovers groups and more. I imagine it would be hard to go through and see all the groups and not find at least one you could join. But now that I am typing this and thinking about it that might be because I live in a big city. I still think it would be a good option if you live in a smaller city as well. As for living in a rural area, I do not know that this would be the most effective app for you. But let me know if you are reading this and have experience with it.
Other than the climbing meetup I went kayaking on Lady Bird Lake with the Sierra Club. This was fun, but I expected younger participants when I reserved my spot. The individuals that showed up treated me well and conversed with me, but they were all older and talking about retirement. You know things I do not constantly think about at the ripe old age of 23. So sometimes you have to search for the right groups for you, and maybe go to a few events where you do not necessarily fit in. But again I think it is a useful tool to find things to do in your city and find new people too.
The last app I have used is called UNATION. The UNATION app is a one-stop shop to find events around town. Personally I have not used UNATION that often. It is not like meetup where you go and meet with people to participate in an event. The app simply has the events listed in their app with the date, time, and any other necessary details.
It is a good option if you need to find something to do with your friends or partner. Or just want to get out of your house and do something around the city. For example one time my friend and I went to a free comedy show that I found on the app. So it is less for meeting people, and more for finding fun things to do. It is very user friendly and there are always lots of options for events especially on the weekend.
So those are some things I have done and apps I have personally used to make the transition to Austin easier. Moving away from home is not necessarily easy, but oh it sure has been worth it in my opinion. I hope learning about my experiences with this transition help make your life transition easier. And I wish you the best of luck in this next season of your life!