It happened. My husband and I were sitting on the couch next to each other, and we both knew exactly what was about to happen. It actually wasn’t a surprise, but now it was official.
We were taking a new road in life and moving to Japan. At first glance, it’s something that kind of takes your breath away. Japan was pretty much as far from our close friends and family as we could possible ever get. Outside of moving to Russia, which wasn’t going to happen.
Moving from duty station to duty station, there are times when it will knock the wind out of you after finding out initially. After you arrive, same thing. Breathless. And it’s not the beautiful and amazing breathless type of thing you might be thinking. No. It’s more like I just got sucker punched and I can’t breathe type of thing.
Here’s the thing though, there are several ways you can do to really try to find new roads to travel and enjoy your new duty station, regardless of where you are in the world.
Discovering new roads at your new duty station is all about allowing yourself to get lost. It’s an amazing way to get out of your comfort zone, discover hidden treasures, and find your way around. I’m horrible with directions and I even find ways to misuse a GPS. So the best way to find out where you’re going is really just to get lost and find your way back home.
Plus, if you get lost and need to ask for directions to find your way home, it’s a great way to introduce yourself to another local and meet a potential new friend.
Learn where things are.
Nothing will help you feel at home more than to know where all your essentials are located. Grocery store, drug store, gas station, library, schools, hospital, getting on and off base, etc. Knowing where all your go-to places are will help offer comfort and a sense of home.
Make yourself the friend everyone needs.
Making new friends at your next duty station is essential to enjoying the new roads you are about to travel. But wait! Making new friends is hard. So my best tip for making new friends is always to be the friend everyone needs.
There really is only one way to guarantee that you will have a friend who understands exactly what you’re going through and will be there to offer up all the support in the world…
You must be that great friend yourself.
Do something that makes you uncomfortable.
One of the best ways to stay out of the negative-downward-duty-station-spiral is to get out and do stuff. Staying home all day watching a How I Met Your Mother marathon and drinking too much coffee won’t make you feel very at home in the long run.
Get out in your community and join a local group or even head to a local park or coffee shop. You never know what friendly people you will meet or fun discoveries you will make.
Visit local shops and make a purchase.
Bring your new community into your home using souvenirs, art work or decor from local shops. When we were living in North Carolina, I used to love bringing home beach art work from local vendors and displaying the art in our home. It helped us feel like North Carolina was really a part of us and that we belonged there.
Find that one place.
Seek out and discover a local place to call your own hangout. It could be a restaurant you head to every Thursday night to play Bunco. Or it could be a coffee shop you visit every Saturday morning. Finding one local place to call your own can help you feel a part of your local community.
Take a picture every day.
Yes. Take pictures. Lots of pictures. Creating memories of all the new roads you find from duty station to duty station will make you feel at home today and it will help you create fond memories to look back on years later.
Want more on military life?
- The Real Reason Being a Military Wife is So Hard
- 3 Telltale Signs You’re Friends With an Awesome Military Spouse
- I’m Terrible at Being a Military Spouse
- 10 Things Resilient Military Spouses Do Differently