I’d never been much of a risk taker – which is probably why my family was in shock when I told them I wanted to move far, far away from the state I grew up in.

I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, so small we would refer to it as “The Bubble” because you couldn’t go to the grocery store or the village without seeing someone you knew. Gossip spread like wildfire (imagine that green fire in “Game of Thrones”). By the time I graduated high school, I was SO ready to get out. The senior class voted me “Most likely to move back to Greendale,” and I was not having that.

I went to college about an hour and a half from my hometown, and as much as I loved the change of scenery and the bigger city of Madison, I still felt like it wasn’t big enough or far enough. I wanted to create a name for myself. I didn’t want to be stuck in a town or city where everyone knew every detail of people’s lives.

So after countless interviews and a job I really didn’t want, I finally got a job in Vegas (yay!) and made the decision to move across the country.

I’ve learned a lot throughout this whole process, but here are the top three things I learned from my move from Wisco à Vegas.

  1. Make the most of everything you experience

Since I decided to move a month after I signed the lease on my new apartment in Wisco, the process was complicated to say the least. I had to break my lease and pray that someone rented it ASAP, since I was still responsible for paying for it until someone did. On top of that, I had to pack up all my stuff, find a moving company and then pack as much stuff into my car as I could. Oh, and find someplace to live in Vegas. The 24-hour drive here was actually one of my favorite experiences to date. My mom took off work to help move me down here and we made the most out of it. Even when we were terrified driving through the snowy mountains in Colorado, we still took the time to take lots of photos and laugh at the ridiculous signs along the way. There are going to be times in life that seem stressful and some people let that stress overwhelm and encompass them; but it’s important to stay positive and make the most of every experience. Hike that ridiculously hard trail. Try that weird food. Embrace the 115-degree heat.

  1. There will be some really bad days, but a lot of really good days

Moving is stressful. The process happens so quickly that it’s easy to get wrapped up in it and then all of a sudden one day it’s done and you’re stuck sitting there like, “What just happened?” That’s exactly how I felt when I took my mom to the airport. I felt lost, and for the first time it really hit me: I moved really far. So, that was a bad day. But there have been a lot of good days. My friends and family have already come to visit multiple times. I mean, it’s Vegas, how can they not? Some of my friendships back home have changed and they take a lot more effort than they did before, but it really showed me who my true friends are. One of my biggest concerns was making new friends out here, but I love my Wicked co-workers and it wasn’t long before I felt like I had my own Vegas support system. Everything seemed really scary, but I kept reminding myself of why I moved in the first place – to have a fresh start.

  1. Remember that everything happens for reason

I’m so glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone and took a risk by moving here. My family was not on board at first and didn’t understand why I would want to move so far away, but it’s really helped me grow as a person and embrace my independence. I’ve made quite a few mistakes along the way, and some days I really miss home, but I believe that everything happens for a reason and at the end of the day I know moving here was the right decision.

I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to try new things and expand my horizons. I’ve already learned so much since I moved here eight months ago and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me. Cheers to many more Vegas adventures!