Moving is stressful. To some it’s the bane of a young mover’s existence. But moving around is good for you. Most bad habits you develop will disappear with a new location and a “new life”. Monotony? Impossible with different friends. Going out too much? Leave the Capital of 25 Cent Pitchers, College Town USA, and those habits are no longer affordable (or realistic). A new location forces you to put yourself out there and reach further socially and professionally than you ever could.
To some moving out of their town is the only professional option. Some have job offers, some have rotational programs that are paid to be placed in various locales, and some are just looking for that opportunity. An opportunity that will probably not come their way in a town of 1,000 people. This is why moving to metropolitan areas are often the only career moves for many.
In total, I have moved 18 different times in the past four years. This includes five times in Gainesville, Orlando, Washington DC, four times in Los Angeles and Glasgow in Scotland if you count studying abroad. Every move was for an internship or school purpose. What is my advice for the young professional that want to get out?
Craigslist is going to begin listing locations by map. They unfortunately sued every competitor out of existence that did that for them, like Padmapper. Get a hotel or crash at a friends while you scout out locations and meet the landlords (as most landlords from transient cities hate dealing with out-of-towners). Also ask family and friends if they know anyone in the area that might have a place. A couch for a week, anything helps a young mover. Note: The sanity of your roommates is the luck of the draw.
Move without bringing any large furniture. You can find great furniture for free on Craiglist’s Free Section. I found a nice Ikea bed frame, sultan mattress and table for free! All I needed was my truck to pick it up. Bonus: The people I encountered on Craigslist weren’t crazy like everyone says they are.
Get a scooter if you’re in a congested area. In California you can drive between the cars like a maniac. In the NE you can drive closer to the subway stations or even park out of front of your office. If you buy a scooter, get a used named brand scooter since they rarely break down and hold their value ($800 to $2,000). Gas mileage and convenience are important factors for transportation. $5 gas on the West Coast is painful. I physically feel pain everytime I fill up my truck over here. A car is fairly much useless in most NE cities like Washington. Either way, hour commutes all around!
If you’re like me you want a place where you can cook some food. If you are living out of a hotel or similar situation, buy a hot plate. I managed to cook breakfast every morning off a hot plate while I was a broke intern. The hotel I was at had no kitchen sink so I sometimes showered with my kitchen tools to clean them… But we’ll leave that for another installment.
Trader Joe’s is a God send for non-perishables. Dollar Stores have upped their game and now offer some great food. Kroger, Ralph’s, Publix and all of the major supermarkets are great if you’re vigilant about deals. If you’re in a diverse area, you should even try Spanish Bodegas and other ethnic food markets where food can be had cheaper and better. Here’s a great frugal shopping guide.
Arguably the hardest thing about moving to a new area. Try Reddit’s local city meet up page. Or Meetup.com where you can meet career-minded individuals. The average person has hundreds of Facebook friends. It’s very likely you have old friends living near the area you move to. Give an old friend you haven’t spoken to a ring if your now in the same town. Living in new cities has enabled me to rekindle friendships just by reaching out to them and grabbing a drink with them occasionally. Nothing makes a person feel more at home in a new city than having some group of friends to go to. Put yourself out there and say “yes” to everything!
Getting a job offer out of state is extremely hard if your not in the right field. Look towards your college career fairs for companies that will be willing to fly out someone they like for an interview. My recommendation? Build several sources of income. Take up part-time consulting and make some money by working online. You’re ability to travel is only hindered by your imagination. Until you got that job you were dying for, save up and be frugal. Extremely frugal.
Whatever your experience ends up being it will be just that – an experience. After living in the Northeast, I discovered that my thin Floridian skin couldn’t handle the snow. Without going up and there trying it out I never would have found that out. Safe travels!