When moving places, people experience first a sense of loss, dislocation, alienation and isolation, which leads to processes of acculturation. Sarina Quinlan tells her story.
Over five years ago, I packed my bags and said goodbye to a life in Staines, United Kingdom. I’d lived there, in the same house, my entire life. Traveling and working in Europe, America and Australia as a music journalist and marketing manager, I felt confidently schooled on cultural differences and happy to live anywhere.
On 14 August 2008, 80% of my possessions were hand delivered to a local charity shop and with zero emotional and physical preparation, I was alone, homeless, jobless, ecstatic, and bound for Brisbane. From personal experience, here’s how to beat the loneliness demon and get connected to your new life.
Before you leave
Be aware of the emotional impact of starting a your life in unfamiliar territory, consider the dislocation, the home sickness and the loss of the presence of your support network. Don’t expect to hop, skip and jump over the dramatic changes you experience, give yourself a break. To reduce the natural shock, plot exciting activities to do once you’ve found your new digs. Plan to explore.
When you get there
For those looking to kickstart your own venture or looking to connect, here are some tips on immersing yourself in a fresh start and meeting positive people:
Fanzines, street press, blogs, non-profit organizations and local events. Volunteer and paid positions for contributors exist. Take something you love and contribute to a community, publication or group. For research, local independent cafes, music stores, magazines and flexing the DuckDuckGo or Google machine is essential.
Meeting up and going it alone
Going it alone to events can be daunting for some, if this is you, I would consider getting some experience dating yourself in your home town before venturing alone in foreign territory. It is also good to know, most of the people that attend events have arrived on their own two feet, no entourage in sight.
Working on your blog? Want to immerse yourself in a creative or tech startup? Plan a coworking space crawl. Visit as many as you can and be social, ask questions, find out how to get involved in events such as Startup Weekend. Hire a desk and collaborate with your new found colleagues.
For Australia, San Francisco, London and New Zealand, check out The Fetch Coworking Space Guide
Reinstate the things you love
Recreate your home routine. Book into yoga classes, join the gym, find your favourite coffee spot to feel more settled. Fill your new home with photos, familiar objects that make you feel like you. All these things will help you reconnect with yourself in new surroundings.
Don’t forget to call home regularly to check in and remind yourself of how small the world really is. The emotional grounding and support from face time with your friends and family will help you glide over obstacles that may be present.
Plan a trip home at the end of the first or second year, it will help you evaluate how you feel about the migration and whether you have made the right decision. The visit home will quell some of the torn feeling you may have between your amazing support network at home and your exciting new way of life.
Have you moved alone? What’s your story?
About our contributor // Sarina Quinlan is a marketing consultant and the curator of The Fetch in Brisbane. Follow her on Twitter via @digitalsarina.
Image credit: Drew Struzan, Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox