I just arrived in Bali and, for the fifth time in the past five years, I’m starting a new life. You would say that I have some experience, but I can tell you, it’s hard and scary every single time. On top of that, I’m completely alone.
It was the same when I moved to Miami and New York, and they turned out to be among the greatest experiences of my life… So, I’m ready for this new challenge.
Starting over in a place where you don’t know anyone has actually a lot of advantages. It is a priceless experience that will make you become a better person!
You can be yourself 100%
I think the greatest advantage of starting a new life where you don’t know anyone is that you can be yourself. You don’t need to wear your social mask because people around you don’t’ expect anything from you. As much as you don’t do it from them either.
You can sort of reset your past and move on. No-one knows about your mistakes nor embarrassing moments. You are a blank page you need to write. And the main character is going to be your true self.
You are forced to go out and meet people.
Unless you want to be lonely all the time, you have to make the effort. Being lazy on the couch is not an option plus you are excited to see the new place and all its cool offerings.
Honestly, it’s easier to start with other foreigners. As you might share the same feelings and experiences, you understand each other better. If you are both new, you’ll have found a great buddy to explore and do as much as you can. So, try and find out where the expats hang out. If you are a digital nomad it’s really easy, just go to a co-working space and talk to the people.
I tend not to stick with Italians too much because I like having friends from around the world. After all, if I wanted to be among Italians, I could have stayed in Milan, which would also have been much easier. So, I suggest to try to be with different people from different backgrounds.
Once you feel comfortable and settled, go to the locals. You won’t have the full experience of a place if you don’t’ mingle with the locals. How do you meet them? Usually the best place is work. When I was in London, I was one of the few foreigners of the office, so I mingled with my colleagues. Here in Bali I started with the driver that picked me up at the airport. I asked questions to understand the culture and also learnt a few expressions in Bahasa Indonesia. I also talked with staff from my hotel and the manager became my first friend.
Wherever you are, be creative and just talk to as many people as possible.
You will learn a lot about yourself
I used to be very shy and barely talk to strangers. And I thought this was an aspect of my personality that would never change. But guess what? Living around the world made me realize I was wrong.
New York was definitely a great place for that: people would approach me on the street for whatever reason, I made friends on the train or with the person sitting at the restaurant table next to me. I loved it and became like this.
When you are new in a place you’ll spend some time by yourself. I recommend to express all your thoughts and feelings in a diary. Even therapists say it’s beneficial!
I do it every time and read those pages months or even years later. It’s so interesting! I look back and see how much I’ve changed. And I often realize that what seemed a huge deal at that time turned out to be the best opportunity ever.
You become more tolerant.
Let’s face it, being alone in a new environment is damn hard! You have to make all the efforts and most of the times you don’t understand some behaviours. What looks normal to you is considered weird or maybe even rude in this new country and vice versa.
You get upset when people don’t understand you, are arrogant and impatient. After all, no matter how good you speak the local language, you are still a foreigner. You will also meet some great people that will guide you in this new culture, teach you some slang and give you some tips to survive. That’s just life, some people are open and some are not.
When you have been in these situations, you realize that in the past you might have been the arrogant one with people in need. I can tell you, next time you’ll become a lot more tolerant and nice. You’ll actually become the helpful person. Being alone in a new country has the power to make you better!
You can make new amazing friends
I think this is probably the best part of being alone in a new country. As you are forced to meet people, be nice to them and make the extra effort, there’s a big chance that you’ll make new amazing friends.
As a result of living around the world, I can say I know people almost everywhere and from anywhere. I have some very special ones from home, but I also have good friends from all my adventures.
What I observed is that sharing an experience will make relationships stronger faster. Even if you move on to a new place, the friends you previously met will usually stay, along with the amazing memories. It’s sort of an unbreakable bond and when you meet again, it will look like you haven’t seen each other for 10 minutes.
Sometimes you’ll realize that you get along better with fellow nomads than people from home. They understand you better and their personality is more similar to yours. This is normal. But this doesn’t mean you’ll lose your childhood friends. You just have to make the effort to involve them in your new life, keep in touch, tell them how you feel and how happy you are to be with them when you’re back. It’s not too hard nowadays, technology is on your side!
Starting in a new place where you don’t know anybody is hard, no doubt. Sometimes you are sad, lonely and wish you were in your comfort zone. But you just need to give yourself time to adapt and you’ll have the time of your life.
I listed a few reasons why I think that starting a new life alone is better. This is my personal opinion that I formed through my experience. But I wanna know about you. How do you prefer to travel/move to a new place?