Moving cross country? How to survive and thrive in a new city

A few key things to know before up and moving across the country, or the world.

Whether you're going away to school, moving for a significant other or a job, or just wanted to make a change in your life, moving to a new city definitely has its ups and downs. Let's start with the good: moving to a new city is incredibly exciting. For the first year or so, you feel like a tourist and view everything through an adventurous lens. Suddenly, museums that boast items like the World's Largest Ball of String or arenas for the local minor league sports teams are magnetic, even though in your old city you would have passed them by without a second glance.

Exploring the great outdoors is always enjoyable, especially if you've moved to an area with a climate that's completely different from what you're used to. If you move to a warm area from a cooler one (read: one that gets several feet of snow each winter), depending on your personality, you may be thrilled that you no longer have to mummify yourself to leave the house, or you may be mourning the lack of cold-weather activities. I'm the former - when I moved to Singapore and the locals complained about the heat, I would just smile and wiggle my unencumbered toes in my flip-flops. I often sent photos of my bare feet back to my family (who live in Philadelphia) when they were experiencing yet another brutal snowstorm. Needless to say, these were not well received.

Another great thing about moving to a new city is exploring the local eats. Even cities that don't have a reputation for an exceptional culinary scene will inevitably have some great haunts that dish out reliably delicious grub. When choosing a new restaurant, take recommendations from new acquaintances with a grain of salt. I've been disappointed more than once after getting a hot tip. The key is finding people who share your palate preferences, because what someone else thinks is top-notch, you may find less than appetizing. (Pizza, I'm looking at you.) This is when sites/apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, and others come in handy. Blogs can also be quite informative. My strategy is to Google "best [cuisine] in [city]" and read the blog posts first. Then I cross-reference the ones that sound interesting with their profiles on the aforementioned sites. If the stars align, I'll test it out.

Going to happy hour is great way to dip your toe into the restaurant scene without spending a wad of cash for a so-so meal. I've gotten a great taste (couldn't resist) of what a full experience would be like at a restaurant by dropping by its happy hour. Scope out the dining area as it gets close to 7 pm. Is it filling up, even on a Tuesday evening? Try out a happy hour appetizer or two. Is it what you expected, or better? Ask the bartender if it's a good place for a meal. Their tips don't generally depend on ordering food, so they're more likely to be honest. If all signs point to yes, it's time to take your relationship to the next level.

Cultural activities are another thrilling element of a new city. Sign up for email newsletters on local goings-on from the tourist bureau, or drop by a locally owned grocery store or coffee shop. They usually have cork boards somewhere in the back (generally near the restroom) festooned with posters for 5k charity runs, festivals, and local artist shows. And whatever you do, keep an open mind. Just because axe-throwing doesn't seem like your thing doesn't mean you won't enjoy it.

Take advantage of local museums, art galleries, and other places that offer low-cost or free activities. Tour of a brewery? Don't mind if I do. Sushi demonstration at the neighborhood grocery store? Sign me up. Presentation on corporate depreciation accounting methods at the local college? Uh...I'll get back to you on that one. But you get my drift.

Volunteering to get to know people and your new surroundings is tried and true. You don't have to sign up for a big commitment; there are plenty of opportunities for one-off sessions or even monthly/bi-monthly engagements. Volunteer Match has an incredible database of opportunities from all over the world. You'll often find opportunities posted on the aforementioned cork boards. Take a gander next time you're waiting in line for the loo to see if anything strikes your interest.

Sounds awesome right? Most of what you'll encounter in a new city truly is exciting and stimulating, which is why I recommend doing it at least once in your lifetime. However, like most things in life, there are a couple of caveats.

First, the act of moving is a real bummer. As anyone who has ever moved in their life can attest, it's universally inconceivable how much stuff you accumulate over time. When I moved from a one bedroom house to my new digs, I literally took an oath never to purchase furniture, appliances, or any type of decoration ever again, simply because it was such. a. pain. to pack them all. And this was just from a one bedroom.

When you move to a new city you also have to find all new professionals for your health and personal care. Finding a new primary care doctor, dentist, hairstylist, mechanic….it's exhausting. Not to mention difficult. Again, I have found the combination of referrals and online reviews to be the best way to identify such individuals. Some have less risk than others; a bad haircut is easy (if slow and painful) to resolve, a lousy dentist...not so much.

Another small annoyance is simply not being familiar with the local geography. I honestly don't know how people survived before Google Maps and GPS. The last time I looked at a map was when I was orienteering leader for the day during an Outward Bound trip in college—let's just say it didn't end well. The problem with Google and GPS is that they often take you on a circuitous or downright absurd route, one you would never have chosen for yourself if you were familiar with the area. However, once you make enough wrong turns and familiarize yourself with your new city, navigating once again will become second nature. Pro tip: intentionally get lost somewhere and see if you can navigate your way out. Consistently relying on a computer is a crutch that will ultimately delay your ultimate goal of becoming self-reliant.

You'll most likely experience multiple conflicting emotions when you move to a new city. The key is to embrace the good parts and look at the less than desirable elements as an opportunity for growth. Except for the actual move. That's a nightmare no matter what. Just reward yourself with a big ole glass of wine when it's done and call it a night.

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Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!

Travel Tips

8 of the Best Donut Spots In the United States

Celebrate National Donut Day with our favorite treats across the country.

November 5th marks one of 2020's two National Donut Days.

Occurring in both June and November, National Donut Day allows fans of those delectable yeasty treats to embrace their sweet tooth. But like any niche food group, people often take their donuts very, very seriously, and there are countless places to get your fix.

Below, we've rounded up some of the best donut spots across the country. From coast to coast, these bakeries are sure to impress even the pickiest donut-heads.

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop – Modesto, CA

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop

If you ever find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, it's worth taking a short trek out east towards Modesto for some of California's best donuts. Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop has remained family owned since its opening over 30 years ago, providing both tried-and-true classic donuts as well as experimental flavors and holiday specials. Even their 24-hour service doesn't diminish the line that trails out the door most mornings.

Dough — New York, NY

Dough \u2014 New York, NY

Donuts might not be the first circular, doughy treat you think of when it comes to New York City. If you've had your fair share of bagels, the Big Apple also boasts some spectacular donuts at Dough, a go-to spot for both tourists and locals alike. Here, you'll find a host of Latin American-inspired flavors that are hard to come by anywhere else; their Dulce de Leche flavor is a customer favorite, while the tangy Hibiscus donut is just as good for Instagramming as it is for eating.

Blackbird Doughnuts — Boston, MA

Blackbird Doughnuts \u2014 Boston, MA

Boston's Blackbird Doughnuts is a no-frills donut spot specializing in both brioche "raised" donuts and old-fashioned cake donuts. With a small menu of year-round donuts and a rotating cast of seasonal flavors, Blackbird keeps it simple and classic. Why mess around?

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop — Brooklyn, NY

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop \u2014 Brooklyn, NY

For over 60 years, Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop has been calling the quaint Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint home. Since then, the bakery has remained a popular spot for both regulars and new visitors passing through the area. Here, you won't find uber-trendy decor or gimmicky recipes, just damn good donuts that prove the power of long-standing local businesses.

Pip’s Original — Portland, OR

Pip\u2019s Original \u2014 Portland, OR

In both their mobile catering van and brick-and-mortar locations, Pip's Original is a staple for small, sweet treats in Portland. They're known for their tiny donuts that come in inventive seasonal flavors like marionberry-lavender and mango ghost pepper. But even if you opt for one of the more traditional flavors, Pip's Original proves good things can come in small packages.

Round Rock Donuts — Round Rock, TX

Round Rock Donuts \u2014 Round Rock, TX

Founded in 1926, Round Rock Donuts—located just north of Austin—are impossible to miss. These donuts' distinct yellow-orange color, caused by fresh eggs in the original recipe, make them stand out among the crowd. While this classic outpost can easily churn out hundreds of dozens of donuts a day, they also offer Texas-Sized Donuts, which are just as ginormous as you'd imagine. Round Rock Donuts are not only delicious and easily recognizable, but they're a slice of Lone Star history.

The Holy Donut — Portland, ME

The Holy Donut \u2014 Portland, ME

In Maine's Portland, you might not find tiny donuts or a decked-out catering van, but you will find a slightly healthier alternative. The Holy Donut was founded on the premise of creating tasty donuts that used all-natural ingredients to make a treat you could feel good about eating. The secret ingredient is fresh, mashed Maine potatoes, which make these donuts delectably moist without sacrificing flavor.

Donut Friend — Los Angeles, CA

Donut Friend \u2014 Los Angeles, CA

As expected of a city so focused on entertainment, Los Angeles' Donut Friend puts an edgy spin on their inventive donut flavors. Their year-round menu features donut flavors with names like Green Teagan and Sara, Fudgegazi, and Bacon-182 that are sure to delight the rock music nerds. For everyone else, the delicious donuts speak for themselves.