6 Tips For Moving To A New City

Before I begin with today’s post, I want to explain why I abruptly took down yesterday’s post and all links to my book. Whilst I can’t say too much right now, I have had some outside interest which means that I need to remove it from my blog. Here’s hoping it’ll be back soon with a shiny, new and polished edition :). If you were hoping to review my book (or in the process of), I will be contacting you in the next day or so.

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6 Tips For Moving To A New City

In every city I have moved to, I have found different people trying to give me different pieces of advice on how to prepare/what to do. Given that Dan and I have now lived in 5 different cities since leaving England, I know (as does everyone else) all of the basic rules you should follow when moving. But what about the not so basic rules? What about the rules that I follow everywhere I go but never talk about?

Well, today I want to share six tips for moving to a new city that are not so mind numbingly obvious (hopefully).

1. Research your area of choice (in the not so obvious way)

I’m not talking about geographically here, I am talking about practicality. Your area of choice may sound great but have you looked into things that might seem a little less obvious? Is there a shop close by for emergency supplies? Is there a park nearby for Sunday walks/exercise? How far away is the closest public transport connection (if you don’t have a car)? Are you possibly paying more money in rent by being close to a main road? These are all things you should consider but a lot of people don’t when moving to a new city, mostly because you don’t know the area.

Something else to consider is how friendly/annoying your neighbours will be. The more residential an area you live in, the more likely you are to encounter neighbour issues. Nobody wants that.

2. Accept your losses

You will lose friends from your old home. It’s sad, but it’s true and it’s likely not anything personal. I have lost touch with so many friends since we left England in 2012 and although I felt bitter about it at first, I have realised it’s just as much my fault as it is theirs (in most instances).

Some people just can not do long distance friendships, however, it’s all down to what kind of relationship you really have with that person. If they can’t do long distance for you, they aren’t a true friend anyway. If you don’t feel like skyping them for 3 hours every other week, chances are you aren’t a true friend either. All of my best friends still live in England and we talk several times a week, which is proof that the people who are worth it will stick around even when you aren’t the easiest friend for them to have.

3. Join a meet up group

As much as you should accept your losses, you should also try to make new friends in your chosen city. Sometimes, this is super easy and other times it’s really not. A lot of it is luck of the draw and how open you can be with others, but you will also develop your own level of comfort with these meet ups the more you attend them.

Facebook is great for finding larger groups of expats/travellers if you are living in a large city, so simply searching for “Expats in (your city here)” or “English speakers in (your city here)” should do the trick. If you don’t have any luck with that, you can always try Couchsurfing or Meet Up, both of which I have had personal and positive experiences with.

4. Pack light

Dan and I spent the first two years of travelling with just a suitcase each. Everything else was left in England for the time we may decide to come back or settle down somewhere else and then ship our stuff over. There is no need to bring your entire life with you to your new city unless you are 100% sure you will stay there forever.

What if you hate it? What if there is a family emergency? What if your job falls through? What if you get offered something great back home? What if, what if, what if? There are way too many ‘what ifs’ when you first move to a new city, as it’s a decision you are usually unsure about for a while, so it’s best to pack light for your initial months there and make a bigger commitment once you’ve seen what your life will be like.

5. Learn how to get to and from your house ASAP

This one is more for when you arrive in your new city. You should make it a priority to know your way to and from your house from various different areas in the city before you venture any further. If you have to go somewhere and are unsure of your way home, do not go. It is crucial for your confidence (and safety) that you have some awareness of how to get home, or you will find yourself 1. lost and 2. feeling like you ‘can’t do this’.

It’s one thing to get a little lost, find your way and feel accomplished. It’s a total other thing to be so far out that you feel helpless, especially if you don’t know anyone. Try to give yourself checkpoints on the way to and from locations to help you find your way and if you are unsure, always bring a map or ask people to assist you. You are new there, after all!

6. Find somewhere that sells cheap and good coffee

I didn’t really want to write this point as I feel it makes me sound like the ultimate hipster, but hear me out before you judge me.

When you are meeting potential new friends (particularly if they are new to the city too) one of you needs to know a good cafe where you can grab a coffee and have ‘the awkward first meeting’. There’s no way out of the fact that this situation is awkward, even if it’s only for five or so minutes before you realise you are destined to be best friends, that moment will still happen at some point.

The best you can make of this situation is going somewhere where they have good coffee, so your small talk can consist of ‘the coffee here is amazing!’ or something of a similar nature. Bonus points if the cafe has anything cool interior wise, as it gives you even more conversation topics to start with. As for the coffee being cheap, this is because you will not only meet cool, new friends at this place, but people who you find weird/awkward and only spend twenty minutes talking to before finding an excuse to leave. If you aren’t going to be friends with this person, rather waste a cheap coffee than an expensive one.

Fellow expats & travellers, got any tips you want to add to the list?
Future expats & travellers, what other tips have you received from people?

5 Things You Should Know About Travelling With Me

5 Things You Should Know About Travelling With Me

Everyone has their own travelling style. Mine has adapted a lot in the last year, something I have discussed here and here, which has led me to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses. I know that most travel/expat bloggers make out like they are seasoned and perfect travellers, but normally that couldn’t be farther from the truth behind the scenes. I don’t want to be one of those people, so here’s 5 things you should know about travelling with me, some of which do not paint me in a fantastic light. But hey, at least I’m honest, right?

I have the memory of a fish

Please don’t expect me to remember anything of importance. I can barely remember someone’s name five minutes after they’ve introduced themselves, let alone anything we may be relying on like street names, directions, etc. The crazy thing about this is, if you say something that pisses me off, I can quote that back to you word for word.

I like tourist attractions just as much as the next guy

Some travellers skip out tourist attractions for a more relaxing holiday, whilst others will freely admit they don’t care for museums, historic grounds, etc. and that’s all cool. I fall under neither category. I used to gladly go along with the wishes of my friends, which resulted in me visiting Amsterdam four times and not getting to the Anne Frank House. The last time I went with friends (who showed little interest in going), I demanded we go and by the end of the tour they were all as moved as I was.

Sometimes it works out great like this, but other times you will be climbing a bunch of stairs with me to walk around the fifth cathedral you’ve seen that day. You can blame my friends from the first year I travelled, they’ve ruined it for the rest of you!

Kate does not wait

If whatever we are doing involves queueing or waiting in any way, I will most likely get bored and want to give up on the idea. In fact I will definitely get bored and want to give up on the waiting. I will also get quite angry and if I see someone I can vent that anger to, I will. I’m great in restaurants because I’m the one who complains that the food was late/cold/shit and gets it removed of the bill. But waiting in line for a museum? Yeah, I’m not so popular then.

I am snap happy

Should we make it into the museum, we will spend 10 minutes just taking pictures of whatever we are looking at before I am happy to move on. You see, I’m a perfectionist (who hates admitting it) and I always feel like I’ve just missed ‘the perfect picture’ unless I have a lot of back up options. Even then, sometimes I am unhappy with all of the pictures and we have to go back. I’m creating memories for life here guys!

I prefer to walk

Fortunately most of my travel buddies (Dan included) enjoy to walk a lot, but I’ve been with the odd one or two who don’t. I really can’t relate to these people too much and I tend to peer pressure them into taking the scenic route with me, because from my experience it’s where you can have some of the most unique experiences of the whole trip!

My second reason for choosing to walk comes from my travel days where I had to budget between getting from A to B or eating. Naturally, I chose to eat and therefore, I walked everywhere. Nowadays, even if I can afford public transport (which is crazy cheap for local travel in Europe – *cough* except England *cough*), I kind of resent spending the money if I can walk. You can’t take the cheap out of a person I guess.

So, do you think you could handle travelling with me? Tell me, what’s one thing I should know about travelling with you? Maybe we have something in common. ;)

The Best Hot Chocolate in Frankfurt

Good Times for Good People in Frankfurt

Whenever anyone comes to visit us in Frankfurt, Good Times for Good People is one of the first places on our agenda in the city. Good Times (as we call it) is actually called ‘Bar ohne Namen’, which is german for ‘bar no name’, but a lot of people use their slogan (good times for good people) as an unofficial name for the cafe/bar.

I will go all out here and state that Good Times has THE BEST hot chocolate in Frankfurt. There is no competition here and believe me, I have done my research! I feel like there must be a secret ingredient in the milk that does the trick, or it could be the fact that what you get is a cup of hot milk with a huge chunk of milk chocolate to stir into it.

The Best Hot Chocolate in Frankfurt

The artist at work, clearly I don’t mess around when it comes to stirring for efficiency.

The interior of Good Times is so relaxed and awesome that when you combine it with the best hot chocolate in Frankfurt, you’ve got yourself the perfect little afternoon. Especially when you sit outside and get to people watch all the people who pass by.

Good Times For Good People in Frankfurt

My favourite seating area outside, made complete with furry blankets!
Good Times For Good People in Frankfurt Good Times For Good People in Frankfurt Good Times For Good People in Frankfurt Good Times for Good People in Frankfurt
The coolest menu ever, right?
It's Dangerous To Go Solo...
Dan’s most favourite thing (probably) ever.

It wasn’t until I had been frequenting Good Times (for their amazing hot chocolate) for a good year or so that I even bothered to look at their food menu. I am a firm believer in ‘why fix something if it isn’t broken?’ and although I was more than happy for my hot chocolate for one order, one day I was a little peckish and their menu got the better of me. So I opted for a ‘Good Karma Chicken Sandwich’ and that was probably one of the best decisions I have made since travelling. Here’s what that order gets you.

Good Karma Chicken from Good Times in Frankfurt Good Karma Chicken from Good Times in Frankfurt

You are seeing two of about 15 different photos that I now have of this sandwich. Believe me, choosing for this post was a real struggle. I ordered this sandwich the first time because ‘banana curry flavoured chicken’ intrigued me and let’s just say, I was more than satisfied with my discoveries.

I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say this is the best sandwich in Frankfurt, but this place does THE hot chocolate to kill for, tasty sandwiches to accompany that and a fantastic view of the city, whilst still being tucked away enough to avoid the huge crowds. What more could you ask for?

Good Times for Good People is close to Eschenheimer Tor U-Bahn station and can be accessed via the U1, U2, U3 or U8. It is also a short walk from Hauptwache station.

P.s. Check out my post on the Best Eats of Frankfurt, including Good Times and more, over at Georgie’s blog.