Are you tired of where you are living now? Do you feel like you don’t belong where you are? Or do you simply need a change?
I know how you feel.
I grew up in New York City but as much as I love it, I always felt like the city was too fast, too loud, and too bright for my introverted soul.
So in 2016, I moved to California all by myself with nothing but a suitcase. I know it sounds crazy if you’ve never moved by yourself before and the question you’re probably wondering is, “HOW?”
Well, I’ll tell ya!
1. Find A Job
Before moving to California, I kept my eyes and ear PEELED for job opportunities there. And when it showed up, I pounced, applied, and got it.
If you’re already working in a field that you like or you know what you want to do, look for similar positions in the place that you’d like to move to. It’s 2018, you can pretty much find anything online.
But what if you don’t know what you want to do?
Then you have to ask yourself how badly do you want to move? If it’s BAD, like you can’t stand another day at where you are, then you’re going to have to be with okay with taking any job. Work at a cafe, a restaurant, a bar, in retail, or anything that is always looking for people just so you can move first then figure the rest out.
All I know is, the longer you wait sometimes, the less likely it’s going to happen.
2. Make Sure You Have Enough Savings
Some people can move without having backup savings which is admirable but in my opinion, I don’t think it’s very smart because anything can happen to you. You can get sick, you can get fired, your car might break down, anything really!
Before moving, I made sure I had several months worth of savings so that if something happened, I wouldn’t have to turn around and go home. If you can’t wait that long, I would suggest having at least one months worth of savings. This should be able to cover a months rent at the place that you’re going to and food.
3. Book the Damn Ticket
Until you have a solid leaving date, it ain’t happening. Too many people tell themselves “someday” and things never happen. If you really want this to happen, you have to COMMIT.
It’s daunting (believe me, I know!) but pick a date, book the ticket, and COMMIT. I promise you, once it’s done, it’ll feel AMAZING.
If you don’t need to fly, pick a date, tell a friend who takes you seriously, and tell them if you’re still here on that day, they can kick you. This will also give you a goal, a focus and keep you motivated. Every time you feel like giving up, you look at that date.
4. Figure Out Exactly Where You’d Like to Live
What city, what town, what neighborhood do you want to live in? Look in Google maps and zoom in. Switch to live view and “walk” through the streets. Do you like what you see?
Try to find someone who lives there and ask them for recommendations. When I told my friends I was moving to San Francisco, several friends connected me with their friends that lived there, which was a big help. They were able to answer a lot of my questions and calm my fears and worries.
Challenge: try to narrow down to at least 3 neighborhoods you’d like to live in.
5. Find Out How Much Housing Will Cost You
Craigslist is a great place to find rent prices. Facebook also has some great housing groups.
Once you know where you’d like to live, look up those neighborhoods on those websites, and get a sense of what rent prices are like there.
Then, add this number up with food costs, transportation costs, and voila! You’ve figured out how much you’ll need to survive there. Add an additional $100 for surprises.
6. Come Up With A Backup Plan
Create a backup plan. I cannot stress this enough.
If you lose your job, if your car breaks down, if you get sick, do you have enough savings to last you until you bounce back? Do you have a friend you can stay with? Can you afford an Airbnb, hostel, or hotel that would allow you to get back on your feet? As the saying goes, “Plan for the best but prepare for the worst.”
7. Figure Out How You’re Going to Get Around
Do you have your own car? Great. If not, how do you plan on getting around?
Even though I have a driver’s license, I don’t really like to drive so I purposely chose to live in areas where I can get around with public transportation. But maybe for you, you prefer to have a car so you’re going to have to look into how much that’ll cost you.
8. Figure Out Where You’re Going to Live the First Month
It might take you two weeks to find housing or it might take you a whole month. You never know and you should be prepared.
You should have enough savings to live in an Airbnb/hotel/hostel for at least a month before you move. Or maybe you can Couchsurf or stay with friends or family if you can.
I didn’t have any close connections when I moved to California so I stayed in an Airbnb, but luckily I was able to find housing within a week.
Pro tip: one week before moving, make appointments to see houses so when you get there, you can go see them right away but don’t book too early because most places will want people who can move in soon.
In the weeks leading up to my move, I was freaking out almost every day and even doubted my decision many, many times. But I stuck to it and when I did move, it felt AMAZING and in the end, everything turned out fine.
I found a home within 2 weeks.
I made new friends.
I had an experience of a lifetime and learned SO MUCH about the world and myself.
And if I can go back and do it again, I would.