Moving vs. Travelling

I’ve been living in Melbourne for one month. I love it, but I have to admit I’m surprised by much more difficult it is moving to a new city, compared to travelling through many cities. I thought moving would be easier than a month of multi-city travelling, but it’s actually much harder.

On paper, it should be simpler: one permanent address, unpacking just the once, the same street, the same markets, the same bed.

In reality, moving to a new city for the first time has been one of the strangest experiences of my life.

One day, I’m blown away by the new experiences at my fingertips and the next, I’m dreaming about buying plane tickets for my next trip. I don’t feel at home, but I don’t feel like I’m far away.

Melbourne | www.thewanderbug.com

Why can’t I wait to explore somewhere new, when I’ve barely scratched the surface on the incredible city I’ve just moved to?

Moving to a new city makes you work harder for your rewards.

You have to be patient.

It’s a totally new experience for me, which is why it’s so important.

Instant gratification of travel

It’s easy to get addicted to the instant gratification of travel. You stay for a couple of days, maybe a week or two, and you live every day like it’s your last.

You eat interesting local food, every morning at the local markets is a thrill and your days are spent seeing the best, most interesting, strangest, most beautiful parts of a city.

Best lunch spot in Monterosso, Cinque Terre | www.thewanderbug.com

Sure, there are hiccups along the way, but after your short stay you leave satisfied. Your whirlwind adventure threw you into the best bits, and pulled you away before the ugly parts – or worse, the boring, everyday parts.

On to your next destination, to rinse and repeat.

You come home, high on travel and full of energy. You can’t wait to book your next ticket out of town.

Slow & steady rewards of moving

When you move to a new city for the first time, it’s easy to expect the same things. Logically, you know you’re moving to work, eat home cooked food, sleep and live a “normal” life, but in your heart of hearts you secretly expect the same cherry-picked adventures that you had abroad.

At first, it seems this way. You’re ecstatic that you live within walking distance to the city’s best farmers markets. You get lost in new laneways every lunchtime. You quickly suss out the local bar scene and earmark your new favourite haunts. You mark your diary with the exciting events coming to town.

Melbourne

And then it is quiet.

The quiet part, I wasn’t expecting so soon. This is when moving becomes more difficult than travelling. Weeks become a series of sky-highs and everyday lows. It’s the best parts of short term travel and also the worst…on repeat, for months.

This feels uncomfortable. Is this good or bad? Fun or scary? Smart or stupid? Am I happy or terrified?

Why am I finding settling in so difficult?

Because moving is a marathon, not a sprint.

And I am not a marathon runner.

(Actually – I’m not much of a runner at all, but if I was going to run it would be a sprint).

When I travel, I can move on to the next exciting place and bliss out on the sensory overload of every new city. I’m addicted to the differences. The strangeness. The weirdness. The newness.

It’s the same in all aspects of my life. I love to dive into things, get completely lost in things, and then zoom into my next adventure or passion project.

I was SO excited to move to Melbourne. So many new neighbourhoods! And laneways! And bars and restaurants!

Melbourne

The thrill is starting to wear off. As it should. This is my new home, and it’s starting to feel that way. I’ve never called anywhere but Brisbane home, so it’s odd to start having these feelings for some place else.

It’s kind of like when you’re on a boat, and your eyes see a steady horizon but your body feels the boat moving, and you get seasick. Everything around me looks familiar now, but my life is so different now that it’s making my head spin.

It’s totally worth it.

It’s worth it when I walk across Queensbridge on a sunny day, take a photo and look at it in shock. “ I can’t believe this is where I live.”

Melbourne

When around every corner is a gorgeous old building that makes me stop and stare.

Melbourne

When I try a new restaurant, and discover an alleyway beside it that looks like a rainbow exploded all over it.

Melbourne | Windsor

When my family and friends visit and I get to show them my favourite places.

Melbourne | www.thewanderbug.com

When I make new friends that I would never have met if I’d stayed at home.

Moving to a new city is one of the most wonderful and exciting choices I have ever made.

I love it here. Like all long term relationships, it’s not always butterflies and goo-goo eyes. Moving to a new city takes work. Becoming a local takes even more work. Setting up a new life somewhere else takes effort, patience and endurance.

It takes commitment.

And that is something I need to work on.

Which is why this move is so important for me. 

Long term commitments are not my strong suit, and I need to work on that. Melbourne reminds me of this nearly every day.

I love the thrill of the move and the knowledge that with enough patience and effort, I’ll reap the rewards of a long term relationship with a new city. The intimate knowledge that only a local can know.

I’m still excited to travel regularly, because it will always be an important part of my life. I’m still excited to move to other cities one day – I want to live in New York, London, Paris and a few other cities which I’m purposefully leaving as wildcards. I’ll come back to Brisbane one day too. But I can’t live a life of travel, and living in difference cities, if I can’t learn to commit.

I need to learn to commit to the marathon.

Now the hard work begins, so the real fun can start.

Melbourne | www.thewanderbug.com

Have you moved to a new city? What did it teach you?

13 thoughts on “Moving vs. Travelling

  1. I agree with you here. I just moved to Bangkok and getting settled in is harder than I thought, harder than traveling. I am pretty sure I really offended the clerk at the grocery store yesterday and now I have to see her mostly everyday! I had to buy toilet paper today – that was a first overseas. Yes, this is different for sure.

    1. Sounds like a steep learning curve! I was lucky I was at least still in my native country, but you’re right, travelling is much easier than moving!

  2. I’m moving soon and I hope that NYC will offer me so positive moments! In my opinion it is up to you how your new city will accept you! Just go outside, breathe deeply and start living your new life! Greetings!

  3. Hi! I’m new to your blog, and I love it. 🙂 I loved reading this post from the perspective of someone who just moved to a new city. My bf and I have been traveling for month, staying for 2 weeks to a month in each city. It’s just the right amount of time because then we can take it easy and still have enough time to see all the sights! But I’m also really looking forward to when we decide to settle down somewhere for a while. I imagine that the newness and thrill will wear off, but it’ll be nice to have somewhere to call home too and fill up a home with cozy things too! I hope you continue to enjoy Melbourne!

    1. Hi Anna! Thanks so much 🙂 That sounds like the perfect way to travel, you get the best of both worlds! Thanks, I’m loving it more and more every day 🙂

  4. I think you’ve summed it all up pretty perfectly! I couldn’t relate more. Although the honeymoon phase of moving somewhere new fades away pretty quickly, it’s still possible to find little adventures every day. I don’t think anything will ever beat the thrill of traveling somewhere new, but settling into a new city to call home can be incredibly satisfying too 🙂

  5. Totally agree with you here. Moving is very, very different from travelling, even if you move to a place you’ve loved to travel 🙂 I travelled around Ireland for ages before finally actually moving here, and it’s a completely different experience. <3

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