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The Universal Truths of Moving

(…and Why You Need to Make a Major Move When You’re Young)

For someone who never made a major move as a kid – I didn’t change schools in my entire K12 career – I’ve made up for lost time. By the end of next month I’ll have completed what will be my third cross-country move in addition to the many quick and dirty moves that took place while an undergrad. So… This has been on my mind. A lot.

As fun as the act of packing up your stuff and schlepping it elsewhere isn’t, I still highly encourage relocating to somewhere new even if it isn’t very far geographically speaking, for any period of time. Bottom line, moving is one of the richest experiences you can have when you’re young and able to do so.

If you’re planning to move somewhere new, considering an opportunity, or debating a major change, consider that…

Moving is expensive.

Let’s just put it out there. Sometimes I think of all the money I could have saved had I stayed put in western Oregon after I was done with school. I just shelled out $78 to rent a pickup truck for a few hours, and that wasn’t even for the cost of renting and shipping a storage container, which… Let’s just say that was way more. (We’ll be reimbursed for part of these expenses, but not completely.) Then there’s getting yourself wherever you’re going, by plane, car, train, whatever – that ain’t cheap. Let’s also not forget the random crap that comes with moving to a new place once you’re at your destination, however near or far that might be. Shower curtain, random kitchen staples, paper towels: Purchasing these odds and ends adds up.

There’s no formula, other than the farther you go and the more crap you take with you, the more expensive that will be. Budgeting and keeping yourself organized and planning ahead helps as I’ll explore in my next post… But it ain’t cheap.

You can put a price tag on the logistics, but not on the experience that comes with a move.

Is it worth passing up on an opportunity because of the cost of moving? Absolutely not. Staying in one spot when you’re young and don’t need to be in said spot means that you’re missing the opportunity to meet new, different people, do new things, contribute to your career, expand your horizons. These intangible benefits can’t be priced but shouldn’t be missed because of the pricetag alone. Going somewhere new doesn’t mean changing time zones. A new neighborhood, the suburb on the other side of the metro area where you grew up, the next county over (what’s up, country people) all can give you the much-needed change that’s critical to your well being that’s still cheaper than a major move.

It’s going to be hard.

You don’t know anyone in this new place? Uncertain of the fastest route to the grocery store? Unsure of the new office dynamics? (That’s a whole other topic of discussion, obviously.) Intimidated by the new subway to navigate? All of that sucks. But you learn to manage, one way or the other. Maybe you get off on the wrong stop while commuting home via mass transit. Maybe you spend a quiet Saturday night alone rather than in the company of your 10 closest friends. You quickly identify what you need to do in order to be happy and you end up doing it, because when you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re going to work like hell to create yourself a new one. And you do that by learning – by meeting new people, by being aware of your surroundings, by exploring your way to self-assurance. You’ll be better and stronger for this hard work.

You may not have a chance like this again.

I’d like to have a house within the next five years. And once that happens, I’m going to be stuck wherever the hell that place is (TBD) for what I’m hoping will be at least five years. Unless my BF or I happen upon fantastic offers elsewhere, there’s likely to be no more cross-country moves in our future (but who knows). But I’ve got half of my possessions in a storage container en route to the new destination and plans for a road trip and general upheaval because I don’t own property – and because I can up-heave myself and my life. If you have no property, minimal possessions, no dependents, a plan (because you need a plan – more on this later) and even just a shred of an opportunity, just do it.

You can always plan to go back wherever you consider home to be. It can be temporary (short-term assignment, internship, whatever). It’s up to you. But really, do it. Move!

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