Moving Up - How I Mentally Prepared to Move to a City I’d Never Been To
If you aren’t using to moving like I am, packing up your life to start life over somewhere else can be a stressful and daunting thing. Especially when it comes to moving somewhere you’ve never been before - but life happens, right?
Sometimes we don’t change because the fear of the unknown overpowers our yearnings to explore, but I assure you, moving is not hard when you play by one rule: keep it simple.
Today I’m going to talk about how I moved to cities in the states of North Carolina and Oregon, completely on my own, having never visited the places before. I found these moves exhilarating - I’ve actually found moving to be a way to practice going outside of my comfort zone and prove to myself I can adapt and be independent. I’m passionate about using change as a way to keep myself from getting stuck in routines; to keep myself from living in doubt or fear or uncertainty. Here’s how to keep your move simple by preparing, simplifying what you think you need, and keeping your expenses low.
Why Move? - Ask Your Intuition
The first and most important part of preparing to move is to look inward and get in touch with why you’re moving. If you feel good deep down about the reasons you’re moving, nothing will stop you. You’ll find a way to make it work.
Because my reasons for moving were not based purely on necessity, it’s always important for me to get really clear about the whys and hows of my moves. One thing I know for sure though is that if you’re thinking of a place and can’t get it out of your mind, it’s probably for a reason. Being drawn to a place for seemingly ‘no reason’ doesn’t mean you should ignore that feeling. On the other hand, if you feel you’re being pressured into moving, you’ll only feel stressed about it in the long run and the whole process will be much more difficult. You need, first and foremost, to figure out ‘is this move right for ME?’
For me, this requires time spent in meditation to tune into my own intuition about what is best for you. This is where I get my MOTIVATION to move. You know, to be honest, a lot of my moves have been based on intuition - my gut feelings. I often can’t clearly explain why I feel the need to move from a logical or analytical standpoint, but intuition doesn’t lie and I’ve always found mine leads me right where I need to be.
Moving because you get a “sign” or because you just get a “feeling” may seem scary and irresponsible at first, but you’ll see in hindsight that your intuition always knows what’s best for you.
Know Your Budget
Perhaps the place with the most potential for moving stress is budgeting. You’ll want to calculate your budget fairly early on in your process so you have a clear financial plan. Write down every step of your moving process that you know involves a cost:
- If you’re renting, you need to know how much your rent will be, how much your security deposit is, and the cost of your utilities.
- If you’re moving long distance, how much is the airfare, luggage included? Do you need to apply for a visa, and if so, which one? Do you need a passport, and is your passport up to date? Will you need transportation from the airport to your new home?
- What costs will come up once you’ve arrived in your new home? Do you need to purchase any furniture right away? How will you transport that furniture?
- Plan for miscellaneous costs as well, like food. And be sure to leave wiggle room for unexpected flat tires, delays in travel, or other things you didn’t think of in advance.
It’s great to be spontaneous and follow your heart, but you need to give yourself at least a few months to plan your move properly so your transition will be as smooth as possible and you won’t be left eating peanut butter and bananas for a month to be able to afford to live. Do your research and write out your expenses as accurately as possible. And, make sure you know how much money is coming in and when so that you’re not surprised by a tax bill, a car registration renewal, or a payment for a subscription service. Leave as little room for surprise and error as possible - you’ll thank yourself later.
Keep it Simple - You Don’t Need Much
Once I’ve made at least a mental commitment to the move, I always start getting rid of stuff. My secret to keeping my moves simple is that, by my move-out date, I only have one car’s worth of things. Keeping my lifestyle as minimalistic as possible has served me well for years. Now is a great time to do a full Marie Kondo of everything you own.
Before I move, I sell all my furniture and non-essentials to make money to help cover gas and other moving costs. Selling my furniture saves me from spending hours and hours lifting heaving items and eliminates the need for a U-Haul or other vehicles. Keeping only what you need and learning to detach yourself from things that require so much effort to move and essentially only take up space in your home is one of the more liberating things you can do for yourself mentally.
The longer you spend in one place, the easier it is to acquire nonessential things, so ideally, try to go through your things as often as possible. When packing up your closet, sort the things you don’t wear/can’t sell and donate it all. You’ll feel good about supporting a donation center and you’ll make your move a lot simpler.
Also, remember that you don’t have to spend money on a big place if you don’t have a lot of stuff. Simplifying your living space in terms of furnishings and material items opens up your mental space as well.
Simple Tips for a Simple, Smooth Move:
- Do as much research on your new city, town, apartment, house, job, neighborhood, etc., as you can
- Use bags and boxes you already have to move your things
- Wrap fragile items in blankets or sweaters
- Wear a fun, comfortable outfit the day of the move
- Get delicious, healthy snacks to bring with you, especially if you’re road-tripping
- Plan to take stretch breaks to loosen your body and mind
- Use breathing techniques to manage stress and to face fears
- Practice visualization techniques
- Return to and focus on your intention whenever possible
Moving can be frustrating, scary, anxiety-provoking, and generally an emotional time, but if you do the mental prep work early on, you’ll be able to focus on being proud of doing the right thing for the next step in your personal transformation. It’s often the most difficult experiences that set off the greatest, most important changes of your life, so embrace them, lean into uncertainty, and see what you find around the next corner. You’ve got this!
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