Ill be the first to admit it, there’s something very edgy and sexy and daring about planning a cross-country move. Same goes for telling all your friends and family you’re going to be moving across country. You start researching the new climate, the new culture, the shopping, the sports, you name it. There’s an intangible and unexplainable excitement that comes with the opportunity to start a new life in a new place. However, for most people, myself included, the act of actually completing the move across country can become not quite so sexy, but instead super tiring, a whole lotta overwhelming and a little bit of stress-inducing.
If a cross-country move is not in your normal vocabulary, and in the midst of the excitement you’re smart enough to recognize that it’s going to be a tiny bit out of your normal comfort zone, here are a few things you might want to do.
Make the Trip an Adventure
Because it’s such a big deal (and when else do you get to travel across country!?), I suggest making the trip a full on adventure as opposed to simply a “get-there-get-it-done” kind of idea. If you’re hauling U-Hauls, this obviously won’t work, but if you’re meeting your stuff there, or, if like me, you plan to pack up all worldly possessions in the back of your car and just set off, then I hope you plan out a real road trip with exciting stops and opportunities to sight-see. Make an outline of where your friends are around the country and see how many are close enough to your route that you could stop and see. Some extra support and a friendly face or two along the way is always a good thing. Also: take it or leave it, but I suggest not rushing it. You may want to get the drive and the whole move just over with, but there’s nothing worse than arriving somewhere new by yourself and being totally wiped out and exhausted. We tend not to make the brightest ideas when in such a state.
Expect the Worst
When it comes to traveling, expect the worst. Just do. That way you’ll be very pleasantly surprised when you arrive on the other side of the country without a hitch. I suggest getting something like Triple A (let’s face it, there isn’t going to be anyone to come help with that flat tire for awhile) and perhaps even taking out extra insurance. Expect one of your planned hotels to have something go wrong and make sure you’ve got plenty of back ups along the way. Expect to eat some amazing food and expect to eat some that may feel food-poisoning-inducing.
Hold On to the Excitement
Things are bound to get overwhelming, they just are. You’re about to be in a new culture, a new city with 1,000,000 roads you have yet to learn, an unfamiliar home or apartment and a drastic lack of people to greet you compared to the number that just packed you up and sent you off. So, never lose sight of your excitement. Before you get there, have a list of things you are going to do, and as soon as possible upon arriving (this is key), do them! Couldn’t wait to get to San Diego so you could take go drink wine on rooftops while you watched baseball games? DO IT! Don’t wait, just go.
Cover Your Bases
Don’t wait to do stuff like register the car, change your insurance, fill out driver’s license apps, switch your mailing address, etc. Do everything you possibly can of all that tedious paperwork before you move when you have time and your mental state is in mint condition. When you’ve just landed in a foreign world/state and are trying to do the other thousand things suddenly calling for your attention, the last thing you’ll want to do is take a trip down to the DMV and stand in line all day. It simply comes down to making the first week or two as uncomplicated as possible.
Enjoy the Ride & Just Go For It
My cross country move was one of the biggest things I’ve done. Bigger than any of my trips overseas (Africa included!), because it’s got a permanence to it. It’s also one of the best things I ever did. So I encourage you, wholeheartedly, to embrace it. Expect to be overwhelmed, expect to be nervous, expect a flat tire and expect your first apartment will be one that you’ll count the days until you can move out of it. AND, expect to have the time of your life exploring and discovering not only a new place, but a new you. Just remember to let the little stuff go, be absolutely 100% prepared and as over-prepared before you go as you can be, and then just let happen what happens. Chances are pretty good you won’t regret a thing.
Guest Bio: Freelancer Jocelyn Anne has just one cross country move to her name at the moment but would absolutely welcome another. At the moment she’s writing for one of her favorite companies helping promote their portable dishwashers for the perfect way to make small studio living more enjoyable.