Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.

Venturing away from New England

This past weekend, I was a guest at a going-away party in North Hampton, New Hampshire for a couple of friends who are moving to Nashville, Tennessee later this week for a new job. While sources like Realtor.com and Fortune are ranking areas of New England in the Top 10 housing markets in the U.S., there are plenty of New Englanders that are trying their hand at leaving a place they've known their entire lives to try living in another part of the country.

While at the going away party and engaging in conversation, I had a chance to reflect on leaving New England from three different unique viewpoints.

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Viewpoint 1: Watching loved ones leave for the first time

Just over a decade ago, I watched my cousin (who I view as more of a brother) and his now-wife, pack up their entire lives and leave New England for the first time. It's an interesting thing to view from the outside -- watching two people that are closest to you in life, pack up everything they own and prepare to leave the only place they've ever known. It almost seemed surreal -- like at some point they'd back out and just be like, "Yeah, just kidding, we could never leave home."

But they did. Ironically, they moved to Nashville back in 2011 and stayed down there for a few years. On one hand, I selfishly hated them for it. As we go through life, we grow close to people and they become "our person" or "our people," and the two of them were my people. We were attached at the hip every weekend, and in one swift decision, they were over 1,100 miles away.

Thankfully, technology has made it a lot easier to stay in touch with people miles and miles away from you, but regardless of how many texts you send and FaceTimes you hop on, it's not the same.

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Viewpoint 2: Moving away from the only place you've ever known

Shortly after my cousin and his now-wife moved back home to New England, the shoe was on the other foot and I was the one that ended up moving out of the only area I've ever known. Back in the summer of 2018, I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for work. It was pretty similar to when my cousin and his wife moved -- I had no relationship or children I was parenting tying me down to this area, just family and friends I'd miss. But, not to quote Eminem, sometimes in life you only have one shot and one opportunity to seize a moment, and this was mine.

I've always grown up super close to my family (I refer you back to having a cousin and his wife who are like my brother and sister), and we've never lived more than 20 minutes away from one another. It helped having my cousin and his wife back home so they could prep me for what to expect, but there was one glaring difference between their journey and mine -- they had each other, but I was moving 1,600 miles away solo.

19 months later, I ended up back in New England a completely different person -- very much for the better.

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Viewpoint 3: Watching friends move away after living the experience

That brings us back to real time, where my friends will start their road trip down to their new home in Nashville on Wednesday and be at their new apartment by Friday. It was an interesting dynamic, really, thinking back on it now -- sitting in the booth with my buddy and just filling him in on the different ranges of emotions he'll feel as departure day gets closer. And I'll tell you the same thing I told him, and tell any friend who talks about venturing out.

If you get the opportunity to leave New England -- take it. Not because there's anything wrong with this region. There isn't. But because there are few times in life where we get the opportunity to go out there and explore not only what life outside of New England is like, but also what we're made of.

Whether you move with someone or go solo, you're forced to grow and learn so much about yourself that you never knew before. There are times you'll be over-the-top happy with your decision, and times where you'll miss home so much you feel it in your bones. But if you have no strings tying you down and preventing you from taking the leap -- take it.

You'll thank me later.

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