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How to Move to a City You Don’t Want to Move to

A guide from a girl who’s literally just done it

By emPublished 21 days ago 4 min read
Top Story - September 2023
How to Move to a City You Don’t Want to Move to
Photo by megan ✌🏼 on Unsplash

Three weeks ago, me and my soulmate moved home. Though sometimes it feels more like a wholesome Air BnB owned by somebody who has pinched all of our belongings and filled it with our existential innards, rather than “home.”

The whole move, the transition process, it sucks. I’ve struggled. Still am. But in the moments of stillness, when my writhing and wrestling soul is having a breather, flannel on its forehead as its opponent — The Big Change — sits and smiles kindly at it, blood pooling on its lips: that’s when I turn to what has helped me through all this. The moments of reprieve that have provided some relief in and amongst all this madness.

Now, the major healer is my Ben — ironically, he’s the reason we moved, too — and at 5pm when his little Brummie face bounds in through our Liverpudlian doors after work, I can breathe again.

But I don’t really want to feel okay for only one moment a day. So here’s what I did to settle myself in the moments I felt, well, un.

  1. I read. And read. And read. In the three weeks we’ve lived here, I’ve read 3 books. In any spare and sacred moment, I reached out for my fantasy novels and immersed myself in the worlds of dragons and enchantments and, dare I say it, “shadow daddies.” When I couldn’t seem to make this place feel like home, I found a home inside them, instead.
  2. Our new fridge isn’t magnetic, but we have with us an oversized whiteboard that is — so I arranged our magnets to exactly replicate the fridge at the old home, so it feels like we’ve copied and pasted a chunk of our first place, into the new place.
  3. I’ve spoiled myself a little. Not enough to break the bank, but enough to make the bank think “ah, she’s just moved to a new city and is a little sad about it.” I’ve bought myself a new pencil ring. A jumper based on my current favourite book. I’ve splashed out on Papier. I’ve even bought a PS5 controller. Now, I’m not particularly an avid shopper, but being here and so far from what I know, I’ve let myself purchase a few creature comfort s— all very storyteller-esque, have you noticed? — that align with what I do know: me.
  4. I’ve decided to foster cats (well, we both have. It’s kind of a dual-decision). When you’re feeling a little lost in all areas of your existence, a great way to ground yourself in your here and now is to find a way to make that here and now a meaningful one. Sure, we can’t travel the globe as freelancers right now. We can’t work from home in any home in the world. But we can make our home a new home for something who desperately needs one. I’m unsure about a lot of things right now, except that I want to do a lot of good for a little thing. I’ve always known I wanted to help cats, with my words, my walls, my wallet, and now that we’re in a static place for a little while — this is my chance.
  5. Played It Takes Two with my soulmate. Played it a lot. Still playing it, actually. We’re getting lost in it and I love it. It’s a new world that’s nothing to do with this one and it’s also a way to spend every moment with Ben that he has to spare. It’silly. Whimsical. Imaginative. It’s all the joy that I’m not fully feeling on my own.

Life isn’t always lemon squeezy

Sometimes life is just bitter. Blinding. Bloody chaotic. You get handed these lemons but you don’t like lemonade, or maybe the lemonade tastes different to the one back home, or maybe the glass shatters at your feet and the shards have embedded into your sole, your soul, until you’re left bleeding out.

Maybe I’m being dramatic — no, no, I know I am — but maybe there are other people out there who are currently living a life they hadn’t planned for, for an unknowable amount of time. It’s difficult, right? When your dreams and your reality are on different flights. Maybe one day their paths will cross, but for now you just have to sit tight, crack open the nuts before you go nuts, and enjoy the journey.

I know it’s hard. But maybe one of those 5 ways will help make it easier. I truly hope so — for us both.

Key takeaways

  1. Distraction tactics. Bring your favourite fantasy novels and live inside of them, instead. Read 3 in two weeks. Let yourself be distracted. When you can’t escape, use this escape.
  2. Homely reminders. Put your magnets on your new fridge exactly like they were at home. You don’t always have to let go of the past. Sometimes you can just stick it on a whiteboard.
  3. Treat yourself. Sure, it’s only instant gratification and the hit will wear off eventually — but right now, all we care about is the moment. In this one, enjoy it.
  4. Find a purpose right where you are. Maybe it’s not what you dreamed it would be. But for now, here, find something that fulfills you. On any scale, as little or as large as you can manage, do something, help somebody, and let yourself feel good.
  5. Make the most of the time you have. Play games you love with the one you love. Stop scrolling on your phone. Look around you. Imagine more. Organise dates. Plan trips. Give yourself things to look forward. Times might have changed, but they can still be arranged.

Remember: home is where the heart is. Love what you do and love who you do it with — and then home is wherever you are.

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About the Creator


I’m a writer, a storyteller, a lunatic. I imagine in a parallel universe I might be a caricaturist or a botanist or somewhere asleep on the moon — but here, I am a writer, turning moments into multiverses and making homes out of them.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (23)

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  • Syed Hussnain ALi Shah8 days ago

    Great piece of writing

  • Beast xD14 days ago

  • Darkos15 days ago

    Congratulations on Topstory !

  • Darkos15 days ago

    I just woke up and saw Your story from real life experience since 7 days I am also in a place where I last wish to be at first I was happy but it's more than hard to live in such a noisy environment even more noisy from where I just arrived but somehow in life not always we have better or great choices to take, books and cats are so helpful the most for so many various reasons also great guides I also stick to practices that helps me to overcome all and love all around even if going out its not so colourful I also tend to visits parks at least one a day and have some magical moments music also helps to be in a different happier state ,! It's so good to read You Qigong and sound healing helps a lot to feel better in new spaces but in my case I am not so free to do all I want and need as I am sharing it with another not a soulmate quite opposite haha where all trouble starts ,3 days ago I wanted to hide in my previous room as I felt like I can't feel my heart and brain walks and lots of healing sessions helped but probably I will need to move from here anyway again I feel like I started to live on Vocal as of it all, and everywhere my mind freely can go and arrived into in this world so hope this can help I also love to discover new things everywhere I go it brings new kind of love and excitements for people in here and love trying new food and getting to know new environment ! letting go of attachments is essential for a new journey new missions in life You will create a new ones in the place You are ! Hope with time Your staying in there will become more and more comfort smooth and beautiful much Love and Hope into Your side ! Greatly written ! 💚

  • Lilly Cooper16 days ago

    Home is where the heart is, bit that doesn't help when you feel like you left your heart somewhere else. I hope you settle in well soon ❤️ and please tell us about your foster furries soon!

  • Sarah D17 days ago

    This is a helpful article regarding moving between cities. The tips were great. Read mine

  • JBaz17 days ago

    They say moving is as stressful as dealing with a death. I personally enjoyed my move but mu wife felt like you. I think she did many similar things as you. I enjoyed this

  • I’m on my 40th house in less years?! This spoke to me! I’m happy you are crafting ways to find your peace… 🥰 From one person in prison to one on the outside? Get out there! Explore ! Walk! Jump! Dance! (Okay, build up to the latter if you must!) … but go be in the world! ❤️✨❤️✨

  • Transition, especially moving, can be challenging. Great suggestions. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Such a heartwarming and relatable story! Loved it

  • Thank you for this survival guide Em ✨

  • Lana V Lynx18 days ago

    As someone who moved her entire house 17 times in my life, I find it easier if I think of a new place as better in some aspect than the old one - a new job, people, pieces of art I find at a thrift store, even a mattress that gives me a better sleep. Otherwise, you are right, it can be really depressing especially if you let Nostalgia run rampant in your mind.

  • Alexander McEvoy18 days ago

    I haven't moved house in nearly 20 years, except to go to university. But I can certainly understand what you're talking about, I love to travel and spending time in the space that is my HOME is unbelievably important for me. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Daniel Godfrey18 days ago

    You will find peace soon❤️❤️

  • Rachel Deeming18 days ago

    As someone who's moved a lot, embrace the adventure. It is hard but can be extremely fulfilling and can show you things about yourself that you may not ever have realised were there. But I sense from your writing that you'll be okay. And I hope that it brings you joy along the way.

  • A really interesting read, moving sucks at the best of times! Congrrats on top story and really good luck with settling in and feeling more ay home! 🤍

  • Zack Graham18 days ago

    You have a great voice that really defines your writing; this was informational but it also had a perfect flow. As someone who's moved all over my country, I admire your advice and give it complete support. Great piece and thanks for sharing!

  • Moving is tough. Good work!

  • Kimmiekins418 days ago

    I really needed this today. My life has been thrown way up in the air and I am having to move back home with my parents for the time being. I have been so stubborn and finding everything wrong because this is just now where I saw myself at 36 years old. But I loved what you said about find a purpose right where you are. I'm always one to live in the future or the past, but no matter what way I slice it this is my present. So I have to make the best of it.

  • Kendall Defoe 18 days ago

    Good luck with the move...and tell us more about the partnership! 🤝

  • Home is indeed what you make of it. May the two of you be blessed (along with your cats), may the adjustment come easier, & may you come to love this new place you have together.

  • Beautiful advice for any transition-struggling soul!!!

  • Donna Renee21 days ago

    Welcome home!! Expecting cat pics soon 😁

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