8 Reasons Why You Should Move Away From Your Hometown in Your 20s

Growing up, my days were spent roaming in a very quiet, small town in rural North Carolina. And by small, I’m talking two-stoplights-one-high-school type small. Time seemed to pass a bit slower in this neck of the woods. Everybody knew everybody, and most of my entire family tree was only a couple miles down the road. There’s no question, these childhood days were quite lovely.

But, just as with the comfort that comes along with southern home-cooking, after 20 years of this lifestyle, the everyday routines began to get a little too comfortable. While I appreciated the place and people that raised me, what I needed was change. So, after graduating college, I pushed fear aside, packed my bags, and moved to the biggest city I had always dreamed of calling home.

Yep, you guessed it: New York City.

While leaving the bubble of comfort of my hometown was no easy feat, it turned out to be the best decision of my life, which is why I would encourage anyone to take this plunge, especially in your 20s. A rollercoaster full of ups, downs, and every emotion you can think of, moving to a new place is an experience like no other. And, oh so worth it.

So, if you’re on the tightrope on whether to make the decision to move, allow me to explain eight reasons why you should lean into that pulse of curiosity and totally say yes!

 

1. You will open the door to an entirely new level of freedom.

You know how people say, “The world is your oyster”? Well, the reason they say this over and over is because it’s true! By expanding the horizon beyond your hometown, your mind will fully comprehend just how big this world is and how endless the possibilities are. All you’ll have to do is decide which path to embark down first.

 

2. You will be forced to step outside your comfort zone and drastically widen it.

The beauty of moving to a new place is that you will be exposed to so much newness. From meeting new people and immersing yourself in new cultures, to tasting local cuisines and becoming accustomed to new ways of life, you will be forced to step outside your comfort zone.

While it might be easier to lean into hesitation when it comes to all these changes, challenge yourself to embrace them. In doing so, you will become much more open-minded, no matter the level of unfamiliarity, and will become a much more adaptable individual.

And over time, you won’t steer clear of change. In fact, you will most likely start to gravitate towards it, and will be well on your way to becoming addicted to the exhilaration that stems from change. This happened to me, and now, I can’t get enough of discovering new places and introducing myself to diverse cultures.

 

3. Resourceful will become your middle name.

Because you will be on your own for all the not-so-fun aspects of being an adult — you know, making rent, paying bills, doing laundry — you will quickly become more resourceful and more reliant on yourself.

Don’t think of this scenario of scary. Instead, think of how rewarding it will feel to be more self-reliant. When you do experience hiccups along the way, you will learn to trust yourself more with figuring out a solution, and then realize you are way more resourceful than you ever gave yourself credit for in the first place. And how can you not smile with that kind of delightful thought?

 

4. Your personal — and professional — network will expand.

Let’s face it: whether we like it or not, so many jobs and opportunities can come from referrals. Therefore, having an expansive network is essential. The great thing about moving to a new place is that your network will continue to grow, and most likely at a faster pace.

While you will have to put yourself out there to meet new people, build connections, and establish this network, it won’t be as challenging as you might first believe. See, the more you introduce yourself to random faces, the less scary it will be. And before you know it, you will not only have more confidence in yourself, but also a brand-new group of friends and contacts from totally diverse backgrounds.

 

5. Fear will become just another emotion, not a way of life.

Don’t get me wrong, starting fresh in a new place is by no way a walk in the park. It takes guts. It takes courage. I mean, if it were easy, wouldn’t everyone be packing their bags and making the move? But what usually stands in the way is fear.

Once you learn to take hold of fear’s grip and turn it into a pool of excitement, you will become mentally stronger. You will quickly recognize that with some strategic thinking — and a lot of determination — you can achieve all your goals, both in life and your career. By knowing how to kick fear to the curb where it belongs, you will become unstoppable.

 

6. You will focus more on the relationship that really matters — the one with yourself.

It’s no secret that we all have our own biases. While it most likely is not something we’re proud of, biases are inevitable when only living in one place. But, moving to a new area will allow you to detach yourself from familiar influences. Whether it is your family, friends, or simply the social norms you grew up accustomed to, having a change in scenery will create room for self-discovery.

With the freedom to focus on yourself and uncover who you really are, your perspectives will change. Your mind will be stretched open, as well as your heart. And, inadvertently, you will become shaped into a whole new person — the person you were always meant to be.

 

7. Your appreciation for your loved ones back home will skyrocket.

We all know the saying, “Absence makes the heart grow stronger.” And, that’s exactly what will happen once you leave your hometown. Whether it takes a few days, weeks, or even months, you will start to miss your loved ones back home, making your appreciation for these adored faces skyrocket.

While leaving your hometown will come with sacrifices — I’ve unfortunately had to miss more family dinners, birthdays, and graduations than I’d like to admit — these life moments will be even more cherished when you do go back home to visit. Because you will be aware of the limited time you together, you will most likely stay focused and present, not somewhere off scrolling on your phone like maybe you once did in the past. And hey, no judgement, we’ve all been guilty of this at one time or another.

 

8. You’ve only got one life to live, so why not?

Forget about FOMO back home. What about FOMO in your own life?

 

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in a different place, I strongly urge you to stop wondering and just do it. Take the leap. Make it happen. Just as my mom always preached to my sisters and me, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” We are all in charge of our own destinies, and with only one life to live, why not make the move?

 

We want to hear about your experiences moving away from home. Start a discussion in the comments!

  • I love this blog post! I’m 21 and also an independent young woman. I started to live in an apartment when I was 16. And last year I moved in Metro Manila. I love the fact that I can live on my own at this age, like I pay bills, laundry, grocery shopping.. I hope everyone who read this, may have courage to move away from their hometown and start to live independently. – thestayhungry.com

  • Emily Koch

    I’d love to see an article like this from the perspective of someone who is from a big city, and the pros and cons of moving (or not moving) to an even bigger city or to a smaller one. Growing up in Houston, I struggle with the decision of moving because I’m already in a city with so many different experiences and opportunities to offer. Does someone from a big city need to move to have the same experience that the author had? Would love to know The Everygirl’s thoughts!

    • Jessica Hall

      Hey! I moved from Chicago to Portland, OR. Definitely from a large city to a smaller one. I’d say that the article is pretty accurate in my experience. Every now and then Portland can feel small but I just push myself to do something that I could not do at home (hiking, wineries within 30 mins, visiting the coast, train local breweries, etc). I’d highly encourage exploring outside of Houston. What made me comfortable with moving was that I know I can always go back home. Chicago will still be there. 🙂

    • skbn113

      Suggestion: move to a different country. Learn their native tongue before you go and just go!

    • Mandla Nkululeko Nkosi

      Miss, I am learning a new language now. I had been living at my hometown or city, that is pretty big with a population of 5 million in total, and I believe you stop growing once you decide not to take risks and get out of your comfort zone. So whether if you choose to move to a bigger city or small town I suggest you do it, but it would be so much better to move to a smaller town just to get a new experience. ) bye

  • Great article! I can’t wait till I move into my own apartment. I’m counting down the days 😀

  • Taste of France

    I would say, why stop with moving outside your hometown? I left the country–to join the Peace Corps in Africa. Everything you said, but times 100. It changed my life, for the better. And improved the lives of many other people in Africa. Let’s hope it doesn’t get killed.

    • Msannie

      Thanks for posting. Our niece just left the southern US yesterday for Comoros Island, Africa to join the Peace Corps.

  • I love that you posted this now. I’m in teetering between mid to late twenties and I feel like my life is stagnant. I decided to start working towards a move just this week. And these little signs along the way help encourage me it’s the right thing to do!

  • Meri J. Thompson

    Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad,
    wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by
    vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
    I moved away from my 2,000 person town in Buffalo, Missouri to Charleston, South Carolina 4 years ago and it was the best and hardest decision of my life. However, I would also suggest to keep moving – uproot yourself, don’t get comfortable in mediocrity, and make intentional efforts to keep exploring and learning new things.

  • My Style 5

    What a great article, loved it! I’m from a smallish city in Romania (not super small but still small enough to have all of my family living there) and when I was 21 I moved to Amsterdam- best decision of my life! It was scary and tough and bumpy at times, but it’s my home and my life now 🙂

  • Leah

    I’m a born and raised New Yorker who moved to Dallas when she was 24 and I refer to it as “a welcome culture shock.” It gave me a completely new perspective on how other parts of the country live and work and, in retrospect, it was probably the best thing for my over stressed, New Yorker self who just assumed everyone works at the pace and urgency of New York. That’s simply not the case. I’ve developed such an appreciation for life and for myself by moving and I encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone and try it! It’s very empowering.

  • skbn113

    I moved to Washington DC in my early 20s and made frequent trips up to New York City Rehobeth anywhere and everywhere and yes my small town vision expanded tremendously through this adventure.
    While a far cry from my 20s now I still grab life by the horns having just moved to both Nicaragua and then Hawaii. Point is ~make this a lifelong thing. Last thing on my Bucket List is to get all of my possessions into one carry-on and go live in Europe for a while!

  • Mandla Nkululeko Nkosi

    Hey, I am a dude. And one thing I noticed about ladies, by observing some of my friends, is that they adjust so easily to knew environment and they make every place they go to their home.
    But as for guys it is hard, especially when it comes to the cooking, and budgeting but moving out surely does bring a knew perspective in life. Before moving out life was dull and everyday the same without its adventure. But now I get to appreciate every moment and every aspect of life I once neglected. Thanks )

  • Liz

    Point number 8 totally resonates with me — it’s why I moved from Ohio to Chicago at 32. I always thought I’d move to a big city in my 20s (fun fact I had a plan to move to NYC at 27 that just never happened). But when the opportunity to move to Chicago presented itself last year I knew I had to give it a real chance! One of the best decisions I have ever made.

  • I wish so much I’ve read this a couple years ago. I moved not only from my hometown, but from my home country when I was 24, but since I graduated when I was 20, it was (and still is) very hard. I’m in a place I’m not a native speaker and I’m not a recent graduate or student to get an intern or traineeship position, and God, it’s hard. I should have moved sooner, but I didn’t have the guts and now I’m in an endless effort to succeed somehow. Your post is important to every people on their early 20s.

  • Meagan Morgan

    Omgsh I was just talking about how I wanted to sit down and write a blog about my move. I grew up in a small town in Florida that sounds just like yours. So small the middle & high school had to join together. When I graduated this past April I packed up that same weekend and moved to Philly for work. I was terrified, still am. But looking back I wouldn’t have it any other way! I have been challenged daily with anything & everything that life could throw at me, but I have gotten stronger as an individual by relying on my relationship with the Lord!

  • Leandra Beabout

    The third point is so true! Venturing out on our own and trying new things FORCES us to be resourceful! It’s scary at first– and I could do a better job of pushing myself on the regular– but rewarding every time. Great article!

  • Christina

    Thank you so much for writing this, I’m 24 and just moved from NJ to Boston. While, it’s not an incredible amount of distance it still does seem like a culture shock. This article helped a great amount.

  • Theresa

    I am graduating college this year and I want to take the plung but im afriad I’ll have no one to live with and not make any friends. Did you move there with a friend or alone?
    https://theresaannk.wordpress.com