To New Routines and a New City

Moving somewhere you have never even visited before is scary. I am actually still surprised I did something like this. I packed my life into three suitcases, got on a plane by myself and traveled for 20 hours to a new home. It wasn’t like me to make such a big jump, but I guess that’s why I am even more proud of the decision to go. If you had told 16 year old me, or okay even 24 year old me, that I would do something like this – I would have laughed and said “yeah right”.

But I really did it. I live in Bondi now. A new continent. 17 hours ahead. I kind of feel like I live in the future.

img_20191108_093224

Before this move, I had lived in Illinois my entire life. I grew up in the suburbs, went to school in Champaign and then moved to Chicago after school for four years. I loved it. But I also knew I wanted to live in another place in my twenties. I had no idea I would be in Australia, but here we are.

I essentially closed out a chapter of my life to start a new one. One where I can’t flip ahead and find out what happens. The only person I knew here was Kyle (and thank goodness for that). I am so unbelievably happy we get to share this adventure together. But besides him, I moved not knowing anyone. No family here. Nothing. That’s scary.

In an attempt to find my way around and establish some new routines I had to think about what is important to me. This was actually fun to map out interests and ideas of how to meet people. Getting used to AUS will still take time, but I wanted to share what I have been doing to try my best to lean in.

Take or leave my suggestions. If you’re moving to a new place and feeling unsure, I’d love to chat about our mutual unsure-ness. I am no expert, I feel lost some days and I am kind of making this up as I go, but I want to offer my experience in case it will help anyone else take a leap or make a change.

Things I have done so far or am doing:

  • Joined Classpass
    • Classpass is like a fitness studio Disney World. You can book so many different types of classes and try different studios. I joined Classpass when I first moved to Chicago in 2016. It helped me find Studio Three (the forever home kind of studio). So, I knew I had to try it in AUS too. I did the two week trial and now I’m paying for the monthly membership. I love group fitness classes as a way to meet people! I have not been to a studio I didn’t like yet. They do fitness well here. And the people are so welcoming!

img_20191121_130057img_20191106_105031

 

  • Got a library card
    • Reading has always been important to me. When I’m feeling down, I love to lose myself in a book. So, I knew getting a library card was a must. It was a top priority. The librarian who helped me get my card actually laughed at how excited I was. I am so grateful to have more time to read right now. There’s something really comforting to me about walking into a library and deciding I can learn anything, read anything.

img_20191030_105339

  • Airbnb Experiences
    • I have loved Airbnb Experiences since the early stages. Kyle and I have done a few in Ireland and in Copenhagen. Nothing beats having a local show you a cool part of their city. These are some of my favorite vacation memories and we have met amazing people. AUS Experiences are the same. We did a day hiking trip with people from all over the world last weekend. Over ten hours of hiking, swimming, driving and exploring with a group of 16 and two local guides. I think it’s the best way to see places. And we plan on doing more while we live here!

img_3265

img_20191123_101933

  • Both cooking more and trying new restaurants
    • I heard on a podcast recently that one of the only things you have complete control over is what you put into your body. This hit me hard. It’s true. And when I’m feeding myself garbage, I feel like garbage. So, one of the nicest things I can do for myself right now is eat well. And eating well to me also means eating treats and high quality, high calorie meals. It’s enjoying food! I have been cooking a lot more after not having a kitchen for a month and I am enjoying cooking more than I ever have before. And I am also LOVING all the food options here. The restaurants are truly incredible. I find more places have healthy options, vegan meals are popular, and portion sizes are much more realistic. I will share a blog soon of all my favorite food spots so far!

img_20191122_135501img_20191121_185453

 

  • Joined a running group
    • Running group, duh. I met some of my best friends through running in Chicago. Running is such a bonding experience. I wasn’t looking for a full time group training group, but just a fun run I could do every so often. After some searching, I found the Midnight Runners. They meet in Sydney every Wednesday evening for a 5K or 10K run with multiple “exercise stops” where you do lunges, burpees, etc for the length of a song. The run leaders wear speaker backpacks to lead the 100+ runners who show up. I am loving it. Kyle has been going with me and it is such a fun way to enjoy Sydney and get outside. Oh and the best part? It’s totally free. And welcoming. It can be hard to join a running group that seems like they’ve know each other forever, but this group made me feel welcome from the first minute.

img_20191127_185435

img_20191127_192654img_20191113_190151

  • Encouraging group hangs with Kyle’s friends
    • Since Kyle moved here 5 months before me, he has had longer to make friends. And luckily, he works with some pretty great people. Quite a few other Chicagoans have also come over to Sydney, so I have been able to meet some wives and girlfriends of his friends. We have done a few group hangs and I genuinely really like them all. As an introvert, it can be hard for me to be the one encouraging plans and meeting new people. But I am really glad I have been making an effort. Every hang has been fun. And also who knew I just had to win a few games of beer pong to impress some Aussies? The people here are pretty great.

img_20191108_204631

img_20191026_192037_3

img_20191116_004714.jpg

 

  • Searching for events
    • I have been checking Eventbrite and Facebook Events regularly to find fun stuff to do in the area. Tonight actually I am attending the Almost 30 Podcast event with Jessica Sepel. And I am going ALONE! Crazy right? For me anyways. I am actually excited. I love this podcast and I know it will attract an awesome group of women. Events are a good way to push myself to get out there. If I buy a ticket, I will show up.

 

  • 30 day unlimited yoga trial
    • Yoga always calms me. For this transition period, I really wanted to get back to a regular practice. After trying Power Living on Classpass, I learned they offered a 30 day unlimited yoga trial for $49, so I signed up! I have gone every day this week and it is making a big difference for my mental health. I have also met some of the nicest people. Yoga people are good people. I crave yoga practice and the space to just “be”. Daily practice is really good for me. Going to be sad when the trial is over!

img_20191127_104549

  • Marco Polo
    • I am especially glad I had friends get me on Marco Polo before I moved. It’s basically a video chat app that doesn’t require you to be on at the same time. This is SO helpful with the crazy time change. You can leave a message whenever you want, they’ll watch and respond when they can.  It is helping me stay connected to my people and “see” their faces every day. I miss everyone so much, but Marco Polo helps me feel like we’re still hanging out. You can basically have a group text, but it’s all video messages that don’t disappear. I have friend groups, individual chats and even a family group. My Dad on Marco honestly cracks me up. I love it! Highly recommend this for anyone who lives far away from their people. Very thankful this was invented!
marcopolo.png
Marco Polo is the best.
  • Bumble BFF
    • Another big out of my comfort zone thing: I joined Bumble BFF for friends. As someone who has never online dated, this is funny to me. But I made a profile and have been swiping and having convos with some girls in the area. Hoping this will turn into some fun coffee dates! I know a lot of other people here are in similar situations and honestly making new friends as an adult is HARD. It’s not like I’m trying to pick up friends at bars. So, this seems like a good place to start too. We’ll see how it goes!

This is what is working for me (so far). The introvert in me is proud of my little wins. Going somewhere alone used to freak me out, but now I do it all the time. I already feel like this experience has made me grow as a person and I am excited to see where it takes me.

I won’t lie and say that every day I wake up feeling positive and happy. To be honest, I still don’t have a set routine. I’m not working full time. And I really miss all my people. But I refuse to not make the most of this opportunity (even when I don’t feel like it).

I’m giving myself grace to just be where I am right now. I am not in a hurry to get to the next part. It is actually harder for me to sit and feel content where I am than be working toward a goal, so I am trying to get better at it. I am aiming to be comfortable being relaxed and stress-free. I am doing the things above to give myself some normalcy, meet people and acclimate. It is working, but it is a slow process. And that’s the thing – I can’t be in a rush. I don’t want to do things just to do them. How often do we get the chance to do absolutely only what we want to do? I am grateful I have the chance. And I won’t waste it.

So, while this week is hard being away from family for Thanksgiving and I know Christmas time will be even harder, I am choosing to focus on the good things here. Kyle and I are lucky to live here. We’re having a lot of fun and I also get this time to be selfish and really explore ‘me’. I am loving this city and the adventure. And I have a good feeling about where it will lead.

img_20191123_151124

img_20191116_123105_1

Tips For Sticking To Your Training While Traveling 

Marathon training while traveling isn’t easy, especially when you’re in an entirely different time zone and your body is craving extra sleep and a normal schedule. I went to Ireland for about 10 days this past August when I was in the heart of my training cycle and I made it work.

I was not perfect and definitely made adjustments as the days went, but I did what I could. It is possible to still get the work in while enjoying your vacation, so I thought  I’d share some tips that worked for me with all of you.

I truly think you can make it work, enjoy your vacation, and still hit your goal time at your race!

  • Get a key workout in before you leave

If you are able to switch around your schedule to get in a key workout BEFORE you leave, you should. I was flying out on a Friday afternoon, so I moved my Saturday long run to Friday morning so that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting in 17 miles as soon as I got to Ireland. I obviously wanted to go straight to a pub for a Guinness (and I did – photo below). To make this work I had to start my long run at 4:45 AM since I was still working a half day before my flight. I don’t like getting up this early, but I knew it would be worth it. I had good friends to meet and a sunrise to see. These two things made the early alarm clock worth it. I got my 17 miles in and felt much more at ease about getting on the plane that afternoon. If you have the chance to be flexible and get it done before you leave, I highly recommend it.

Ireland 2

  • Try to find a local race

I knew I would still have to complete one long run on my trip even with moving one up before I left. I could have done this regardless, but I decided to find a race because that would make it more fun. And it just so happened when Kyle had the idea to go on this trip that he knew I’d want to run Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin. I wouldn’t pass up my first chance to run an international race. So, I signed up for the 5K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. I was at ease about getting my running in from the start of the trip because I knew I had these two races planned. Even if I hadn’t run on any other days during this vacation, I would have these 17 miles and that would keep me on track. Being signed up helped me relax about not necessarily running super high mileage. If you’re planning a major trip during your marathon training, search for local races and sign up. It will hold you accountable!

Ireland 4

  • Be adaptable

If you take away one piece of advice from this post, it should be this one. Learn how to adapt. Be willing to change around your schedule. Skip a run. Have a double workout day if you find one day with less of a hectic schedule. I think not putting pressure on yourself during training can be wonderful thing – always, but especially on vacation. You want to be enjoying yourself, so if you are jet lagged and don’t feel like doing your speed workout, then don’t. It’s okay. Swap a scheduled run for a 3 hour hike. Sleep in. Go to a museum and then run easy miles in the afternoon. Do whatever you feel like doing! Adapt your schedule and you’ll be happier!

Ireland 6

  • Run with a buddy

I was lucky enough to have my favorite travel buddy with me on this trip. He’s not a long distance runner, but he’ll run with me for part of my runs. Last November he ran one mile with me over to the Eiffel Tower and then sat and read while I ran laps around for seven miles. I feel less guilty about squeezing in a run if he’s there enjoying the outdoors too, even if he isn’t running. And to be fair he did run 6 miles with me one night in Ireland because he was so obsessed with the area we were running in (and he’s more into running now). We couldn’t get enough and he agreed this was the most efficient way to see as much as we could that evening. Support is everything! If you’re on a solo trip or with people who think going to the park with you while you run laps sounds crazy, there are still things you can do. On Instagram? Ask if anyone in the area you’re traveling to would want to go for a run. This is a fun way to meet people IRL and you’ll be excited to run. Or you can meet up with a local running group. Look them up ahead of time and pick one or two to check out along your trip. If you add it to your schedule, you’ll be less likely to skip the run.

Ireland 1

  • Ask the locals for the best running spots

At most of the pubs I went to, I asked the bartenders or locals the best parks to check out. I didn’t necessarily say running spots, but they had great suggestions. I went to a few spots I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t asked. It’s a fun way to start up conversations with locals and get excited to lace up and explore.

Paris 1

  • Take advantage of the jetlag

One great thing about traveling abroad is that you’ll naturally wake up earlier in the day once you’re there. I was used to waking up early, so even when I “slept in” on vacation I was naturally waking around 6 AM their time. I used that to my advantage a few mornings and took my energy outside to get my run in. I didn’t feel like I was losing out on sleep or “wasting” vacation time because I was up anyways and might as well have taken advantage of it. It helps!

Ireland 3

  • Use your run as an errand

This is a fun way to get in some miles and save some money. Have an errand you have to run? You can literally run it. Last fall Kyle and I wanted to go to a show in London, so we ran from our hotel to the box office first thing one morning. It was about 2 miles away. We ran there, picked up our tickets, ran home, and didn’t spend any money on transportation. It was an effortless way to log some miles while making great use of our time. If you can plan to run to pick something up, you should. Honestly, it’s economical. And don’t worry if your plan said 6 miles and you only run 4 because it worked out better that way. Like I said before, be as flexible as you can and you’ll have more fun.

London 1

  • Make safety a priority

If you aren’t able to find a running buddy, you should still feel empowered to run and explore, but be cautious. Research the areas you’re staying in and look for parks. This is a great reason to use the locals recommendations because they’ll most likely be populated areas. Don’t run in the dark. Map out your routes ahead of time and send them to a friend or family member. It’s so fun to explore new places and it’s okay to deviate from your route a little bit if you find a new fun space to run along the way, but I think it’s really important to let someone know you’re going out for a run and when you’re back home safe. It might seem a little silly, but doing this at least makes me feel more at ease.

Paris 2

  • Have fun!

I honestly believe the best way to see a new place is to explore on foot. Running in new cities or countries is genuinely fun for me. I can’t imagine vacations without it, so I didn’t really consider it “marathon training.” I ran for fun. I ran to see the sights. I ran to pick things up. I ran to spend time with Kyle. This didn’t feel like training. If you focus on the fun in running and less on the scheduled miles, I think you’ll find it easier to get them in. I didn’t have a successful speed workout on this trip and I was definitely a little under mileage, BUT I still got in most of my runs, enjoyed myself, and had great fall marathons. It’s possible. I love marathon training, but I always say I wouldn’t do it if I felt like it took control of my life and caused me to miss out on living. There’s a balance. I work hard and I have fun. I don’t stress about a few missed runs. And I don’t shy away from a trip that will make me get a little out of my comfort zone. You shouldn’t either! Live. Travel. Run. PR. Drink the beer. Order the pasta. Spend quality time with the people you love most. It helps you get a little more life out of your days.

Ireland 5

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑