I don't know how many places the average person has lived before 30, but I know I've moved around my fair share. I've enjoyed some locations more than others, but I'm thankful that they've all prepared me in unique ways for my new home: Portland, Maine.

I compiled a list of my previous abodes and their respective assets. See if any feel familiar!

Sandpoint, Idaho 

My life began here. I grew up among northerners who could handle a boat and drive in the snow. They embraced their hunting rifles, took pride in their trucks, and strived to make an honest living outdoors more often than in.

 

Grinnell, Iowa

I attended college among the rolling hills of Iowa and immediately became enamored by the brilliant sunsets, fireflies in the summer, cold beers on porches and Iowans' appreciation for hearty meals.

 

Nantes, France

As the largest small town or the smallest major city in France, Nantes gave me a feel for navigating new neighborhoods and keeping an eye out for hole-in-the-wall finds. Granted, in Portland those hidden gems are a couple years old, and in France it's a couple centuries, but they do feel remarkably similar.

 

Oakland, California

I moved to the Bay Area to study voiceover and was thinking I'd stick around for a while. Turns out, once I got there, I wasn't a big fan. I really missed winter and realized I was not cut out for living in a big city. However, Oakland did prepare me in some ways for Portland - with cool startups left and right, rapidly changing neighborhoods, and hip foodies as far as the eye can see.

 

Boston, Massachusetts

My first year there, Winter Storm Nemo buried cars and streets in a deluge of snow, bringing out the best of locals ganging together to trek to the discount liquor store in Allston. It's an iconic city on the Eastern Seaboard and yet plenty manageable to live in (or just outside of). With college kids and raucous townies frequenting every Irish pub you visit, it can feel intimidating to make new friends.

But what I learned - and hope applies to Portland, too - is that all you really need to do to fit in is embrace the local culture and let the good times roll. Cheers!