I never would have imagined how hard, daunting, and scary it is to move out by yourself. However, I also never would have imagined how fun, exhilarating, and rewarding it is! Moving is never an easy task to take on, I can barely rearrange my room, let alone pack up my messy life into a small sedan.

About nine months ago, I picked up everything and dragged it across mountains and desert to the sunny state of California. The idea wasn’t last minute, (hint: nothing should ever be done last minute, except maybe that English paper), two years ago I was unhappy, felt stuck, and the nagging itch to start somewhere fresh was alluring to me. Nonetheless, when it came to leaving two years later I was thoroughly content with my life, I had a great job, close-knit group of friends and a healthy sex life. There were many times leading up to my move date that I just wanted to call it quits and remain in my happy little bubble. Thankfully, my mom urged me to do it anyway, she had reminded me that opportunities like these don’t come often and many times most people don’t have the chance to take them.

Just like that, I knew that I had to take this moment and put forward a brave face to the unknown that was ahead of me. Fast-forward about nine months, and the lessons that I have taken away from moving have been worthwhile. Now, here I am eager to share with fellow potential movers who might need that extra boost of confidence to go ahead and move out.

Here are seven lessons that I have learned from moving. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration from my experience too.

1. “Home is behind, the world ahead…”

Yes, I had to throw in a bit of a geeky quote, from the great J.R.R. Tolkien. (BTW if you don’t know who that is, stop reading this and go read The Hobbit or binge watch The Lord of the Rings movies!) Now, if you know what I’m talking about, mad props to you and continue reading.  I was to forge a new path and journey, but instead of trying to destroy the One Ring To Rule Them All, I was to keep an open mind and take chances on what life might throw my way.

There will be times, many times, where you might want to retreat back home and keep living in that happy bubble, but you can’t, in order to thrive and keep going we all at one point in our lives must take that plunge into the unknown. The world has so much to offer and teach us, so like Bilbo Baggins proclaimed while running through Hobbiton, “I’m going on an Adventure!!!”

2. Put Yourself Out There

When I moved, I naively expected to instantly make friends and to be going out all the time. When in fact, I found myself staying in bed binge watching Netflix. My mistake was assuming I would have people and events come to me. I had expected that my new life would just “fall into place”. When in reality, I had to apply and put myself out there in order to make friends, and start having fun. I had to make the effort and show that I wanted to make friends and get to know the people and places around me.

Some friendly advice: refrain from staying long periods in bed on your tech devices, and get out there! A great way to meet new people are apps like Meetup and even, dare I say it, Tinder! Tinder now has a way where you could use the app to meet friends, instead of just hookups. (I would still be very careful with how you use Tinder though, to make it clear what you’re looking for). Another great way to meet people is Groupon, find a local bootcamp or workout class (bonus: all the classes are cheap), in which not only are you working on that hot bod, but you also are working on making friends with similar interests!

3. Push through Feelings of Isolation

Personally, especially in the beginning, I found myself going partially insane. I was full-time in bed moping and feeling sorry for myself. I was missing home and calling my mom about four times a day. For a good solid two months, I was in a slump. I was over it, pissed off, and questioning why the hell did I leave such a great life behind. It wasn’t until I came to myself, consciously, that I realized I was the only thing standing between my dark place and my happy place. It was then that I had to pick myself up by the bootstraps and take back my life. I still, however, call my mom at least three times a day.

It happens that when our life is suddenly uprooted, we will have those days in the beginning where we might feel down in the dumps and ready to bee-line back home. But you can’t, you must see the goals in front of you and push through the hard times. Find your happy place and believe in yourself.

4. I am Stronger Than I Ever Thought I Could Be

This is a fact! Not stronger in the muscle department, per se, but a stronger soul, stronger willpower ,and a stronger heart. I found that the things that would have bothered me then, don’t bother me anymore since moving out. When the homesickness would creep up, I came to the realization that I can power through any difficult situations that life may give.

In just mere months, you will look back to your life B.M. (‘Before Moving’) and see how much you have grown as a person. Sure, there may be a lot of potholes in the journey ahead, but it will also include a lot of scenic views and wonderful friends you pick up along the way.

5. Family and Friends Will Still Be There

No need to fret about the loved ones back home. Thankfully, through social media advancements, you can snap, Skype, and Facetime anyone from back home at any given time. It sure beats the Little House on the Prairie days when people just held their breath and sent letters that would often take days to weeks to get to their families.

Also, don’t feel bad if you are sucking in the department of ‘checking up on loved ones’. Understand that everyone is busy and the element of time doesn’t affect any true relationship. Remember, when and if you do return home, your loved ones will still be there eagerly awaiting to give tons of hugs and support.

6. It’s Okay to Be Selfish

Now this realization must be used with caution, because there is a real fine line between being selfish to remain sane and being selfish just to be an ass. Like the ‘airplane oxygen mask theory’, you must put your oxygen mask on first before helping others around you. Being selfish when you first move out will come in handy because you are on your own, most likely for the first time, and the need to focus on establishing a new life and who you are is essential. So go ahead and put that mask on first!

7. Just Have Fun With It!

In the end, I wouldn’t trade anything that I have experienced since moving out here to Cali. All that I can pass onto others who will or are going through the same thing is to just have fun with it. Above all else, take the most out of your new adventures and people you will meet. Go ahead and explore your new surroundings, make as many friends as you can, and document the great memories you will forever keep. A great life motto to live by is this: “Rather to live a life with a bunch of ‘oh wells’ than a life of ‘what ifs’.” It’s a scary but rewarding experience, and moving out will always be daunting, but with the right mind-set and attitude, your move will be worthwhile.

Be safe, be smart, and have fun!