Moving to Vancouver was one of the craziest, scariest, and most rewarding experiences I have had to date. It pushed me so far out of my comfort zone that I was on the verge of a mental breakdown upon arriving back home two months later.
You can read the whole story here: The time I moved to Downtown Vancouver
But long story short, in Summer of 2015 I sold all my stuff and moved from Calgary to Vancouver and it ended up being one of the best growing experiences to date, teaching me so much about myself. And even though it didn’t turn out quite the way I had hoped it would, I learned so much about myself that I never would have learned if I never went.
I don’t regret for one minute my decision to go, and it will always be a very fond memory, but here are some of the main things I learned while living somewhere else.
- I realized how much I actually loved and appreciated my own hometown
I think before I moved to Vancouver, I wasn’t appreciating my home city as much as I could have been, and so I couldn’t see its beauty. I was always taking it for granted. When I moved back home, I remember feeling blown away this time by the beauty of Calgary, as my perspective on things had changed dramatically in Vancouver. Now even to this day, I am absolutely in love with my city now and hope to settle down in Calgary one day, and the surrounding mountains are close enough to escape to when you need a mini vacation. Right now I am in Calgary, as it is my home base, but I am definitely not done exploring this planet yet!!
- I realized how short-lived friendships can be, and how you should cherish the moments you have with them while you can.
When you travel, you make all these amazing friends, and they are only in your life for a short period of time and then they are gone in the blink of an eye, just like that. Someone you just spent weeks, sometimes months hanging out with, getting to know. Learning about what they like, what they don’t like. Connecting with them on a deeper level. And then when you are leaving, you say,
“Don’t worry, we will definitely keep in touch, I have you on facebook after all!” But deep down, you both know that you’ll likely never see each other again.
It sucks, but that is the beauty in this, it makes you appreciated people so much more when you are with them, realizing that they will only be here for so long.
- I learned that as strong as I thought I was, I inevitably got profoundly lonely and missed my friends and family back home
Before I moved to Vancouver, I remember thinking, Oh well I will be all alone there, I don’t know many people at all, but that will be fine, I got this, I am a strong person…
But it wasn’t very long into my trip, I don’t even think it was a whole week yet, when this utter sense of loneliness came over me, and through time, it just started building more and more until I finally couldn’t take it anymore and had to come home.
I realized that family meant a lot to me, and real friends are hard to come by.
I realized how much I needed these people in my life and how important they were to me. Thinking I could do it all on my own was somewhat brave, but not planned out very well. I think if I would have set myself up better there, and maybe did phone calls or skype sessions with friends and family back home, it would have been better for me. But now I know for next time that I can go for at least two months at a time, but I think now that I’ve learned this about myself, I will be able to do what I want to do, and travel the world indefinitely!
- I learned that as much as I thought I enjoyed the hospitality business, it was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life…
Working in the food service industry is very challenging. I worked harder and longer hours than I had ever worked in my life during my time in Vancouver, and I was making pennies compared to what I made back home. I always had thought I would stay in the industry forever, and work my way up to management one day, but Vancouver made me realize that this is definitely not what I wanted to do.
Hospitality workers are some of the hardest workers I know. It’s not that they have a ton of physical labor like a construction worker may have, although we still have some, but more so than that, we have to keep our smiles on and spirits high at all times of the day, which I think is the hardest part.
- Reality seemed completely different to me after because my perspective had opened so much.
Nothing seemed normal to me anymore, it was like I was living in a whole different world and I wasn’t exactly prepared for that. I’d never lived anywhere except Calgary, and now I was living in this extremely busy downtown area, all by myself, with streets crowded with people, despite my dislike for crowds. And boy was I in for a shock!
I was the type of person at the time, that didn’t like to leave the house on weekends because places will be too busy and crowded, so I would just hang at home.
My perspective on things opened, and I realized that I couldn’t be shy and scared to leave my house anymore, and so I pushed myself every day to leave and go do something. I explore a lot, and now have a very good understanding of Vancouver and all the cool parts of Vancouver which were absolutely amazing. I was able to see so many amazing things that I never would have seen had I not opened myself up to a new experience.
So there we have it, folks, the 5 things I learned living in a new city! It was a wild ride, and I am happy that I did it, as I was able to cross another thing off My Bucket List!!