*This is a post I first put up over at Shop Wanderlust
Back in September of 2013, I moved from Montreal to Toronto. I had been accepted into graduate school in the big bad city, and at the tender age of 22 I packed my bags and left a city I’d called home my entire life.
It was a terrifying experience.
Montreal is a relatively small city in the grand scheme of well-known Canadian cities. You can travel around pretty easily, and most of the action happens in the same area. If you live close to “downtown”, you’re golden, kid. You can walk around, bike around, or skateboard around if you’re so inclined. All this to say, you won’t have to go too far to see your friends, family, or that spot where you consistently run into someone famous. Beyond that, Montreal is the city I grew up in. It’s where I met my closest pals, it’s where my parents and siblings dwell, and it’s where I found myself.
Moving to Toronto meant a few things. It meant adapting to a much bigger city where it feels like everyone lives in their own smaller city. It meant being on my own in a place I didn’t recognize. It meant having to navigate areas I’d never been to. It meant having to start over.
I’m more settled in now than I was in those first couple of months. But here’s the thing about change; it’s as enlightening as it is debilitating. Change will change you; Moving in particular will force you to re-examine what kind of person you are and who you like to surround yourself with. You will romanticize everything about your hometown when you leave it, and going back here and there will be undeniably fulfilling. And yet, your new city will make you better. It will force you to mature in the right direction. The days or nights where you feel disoriented are the ones in which you will grow the most.
There’s no place like home, but there’s much to learn when you leave it.