Two weeks ago I relocated for the first time in my adult life. I imagined the move would be similar to packing up and going to college but I was quickly proven incorrect. Here are all the things I’ve learned since I drove my big old U-Haul away.
1. Moving Trucks are Expensive
I knew that moving wasn’t going to be the cheapest option in the world. There is rent to pay, utilities to set up, and even mail forwarding fees to pay. The expense that caught me off guard the most happened to be the moving truck my travel buddy and I rented. The prices you see emblazoned on trucks driving in and out of cities are local prices. My rental ended up costing a little over 500 dollars. This included the truck rental, mileage, gas refills, and an extension on the rental because three days just wasn’t enough time to load, unload, and pretend my new apartment was home. There are some tips to cut down the cost of your moving truck.
Try renting on Wednesday, a day known for notoriously lower rental prices. It might seem awkward to move on a Wednesday but if you are relocating for a job, your first day is most likely a Monday and this Wednesday time is convenient and gives you time to settle down before you suit up for your first big day. The next tip to lower your costs to is play around with the pickup and drop off locations. I moved from a large city and chose to rent in the suburbs due to the lower pricing. Rental trucks work on supply and demand so you get a deal if you’re helping the company move trucks that would otherwise end up sitting in their parking lot until the weekend. Lastly, work on avoiding hidden fees. Take pictures of your gas mileage, the inside of the truck when you drop it off, and the gas tank. And fill that gas tank up, if you return the truck with less gasoline than they provided you with, you will be hit with fees that make summer gas prices look like a steal.
2. Find Work
My fiancé was offered a once in a lifetime job. One of those jobs you dream of when you’re in high school scooping ice cream from 3-8 after school and playing with a band in your mother’s basement. I made the decision to pick up and move to support him and to add a little bit of flair to my life. I did not wait until I moved into town to find a job, I started searching the day after his successful interview just in case a job offer came floating our way.
I posted my resume on recruiting websites and scoured craigslist, LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and other various job sites. I set a goal to apply to at least 30 positions before we moved. Last week (my first full week in town) I had a face-to-face interview with a company that did a phone interview with me while I still lived in my home city. A couple days later I was offered a job. Needless to say, having a job nailed down your first week in a new city is comforting and rewarding. Also, sleeping in until noon was too reminiscent of my days as a college student and it felt old fashioned to watch my fiancé come to and from work. Move for a job and if you don’t have one try to get some interviews lined up.
If it wasn’t for Twitter, I would be lost in this town. I am following restaurants, local celebrities, bloggers, music venues, city council members, and any account that even mentioned the city I was moving to. The outcome of this is that I am aware of local happenings, where to eat, who to see, and what to avoid. Social media helps build and maintain relationships and not just the human kind. Try building a relationship with the city you’re moving to. Who knows, it might even follow you back.
4. Be the New Kid
Everywhere I go, whether it’s the sandwich place for lunch or my local Starbucks, I make sure to tell people that I am new to the area. Unlike moving to a new High School, no one knows that you’re the new kid on the block. You might feel like you stick out but you’re just another face, another customer, and another blurred face sitting at a stop light. There’s no shame in telling people you don’t have a clue what you’re doing and where you’re going. By telling people that I am new to the area, I have acquired five phone numbers from local girls, recommendations of where to eat from a waiter, and the inside scoop on where I should spend my precious weekend time. Also, tell people your hobbies. I wouldn’t know where the two bike trails I rode this week were if it wasn’t for my unabashed attitude towards moving and being the new girl in town.
5. Call Your Loved Ones… but not TOO much
On my lunch break yesterday, I called three friends from home to see how they were doing and to catch them up on my life. I thought the phone calls would make me feel a part of but they left me feeling empty. Instead of taking my hour break to walk around a local park or chit chat with other hungry workers, I plugged into my phone and escaped from reality. I’ve found that if I call friends and family in moderation I am less apt to feeling lonely. There is something comforting about hearing their voices and learning about their days but it robs me of experiencing reality. Set limits when it comes to talking to people and set goals when it comes to contacting new people you’ve met in town.
6. You’re Going to Feel Lonely
I had a great going away party the day before I packed up my U-Haul. All of my favorite people were in one room and great memories were made. I knew it was going to be hard to leave these people, I just didn’t know how hard it was going to be. The other night I looked at the new floor mat in my bathroom and started to sob because I knew it wasn’t ‘my’ bathroom. I hopped in the shower and sobbed until I realized my neighbor could probably hear me through our thin, shared wall. It’s going to be hard and it might be hard for a long time. I am blessed to have a group of people I love who love me back. Crying because I miss someone isn’t a bad cry. It might result in an epic cry face but it’s not a bad face. Don’t hide in your new living room binge watching OITNB. As comfortable as that might be, it isolates you.
7. Tap into Your Hobbies
What do you love to do that doesn’t revolve around friends and shopping? Those are the things you should be doing on a daily basis. I love to write, run, ride my bike, and cook. Since I moved to this new city, a day hasn’t passed since I did one, if not all, of these activities. Join a gym and chat up the girls in spin class, sign up for cooking classes, or set up a goal to get published on your favorite website or start a new travel blog. I’m finding myself lucky when it comes to things that make me happy. Unless you have a child or a plant that requires constant watering and heat, become extremely selfish and do what you love all the time. Life is too short to be miserable and bored in a new city.
8. Don’t be a Hoarder
My partner and I packed a 20 foot moving truck to the brim but we only brought the things we needed. Between the two us, we threw away old clothes we never wore, magazines we hoarded, and other items we had to blow dust off of to figure what they were. Moving is a great way to start new and figure out what you need, not just what you want. A dear friend of mine is moving to Colorado next month from the east coast and she isn’t even bringing a bed. She told me, “If there is a floor, I figure that I’ll be alright.” Figure out your adventure comfort level and pack accordingly. And don’t feel guilty if you keep the cards your grandmother sent to you ten years ago. We create relationships during this life and it would be a shame to forget about them.
9. Look at it as an Adventure
Everyone told me before I moved that this would be an adventure. I am trying to keep that perspective and not get too tripped up on my own emotions and insecurities. If you’re moving soon, no matter the reason, keep in mind that this is an adventure. All of this is an adventure. I moved countless times a child and it shaped me to be a curious, chatty adult. If you love meeting new people or even you’re just bored of your home town, I recommend moving. If all else fails you’ll have a couple of great stories.