How to Move By Yourself

Do you feel like you don’t belong where you grew up or you’re tired of it?

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. I know it sounds crazy if you’ve never moved by yourself before. And the question you’re probably wondering is, “But how??

Here’s how:

1. Find A Job

Before moving to California, I kept my eyes and ear PEELED for a job opportunity there. And when it showed up, I pounced, applied, and got it.

Some people like to tell me, “Well, you got lucky.” Uh, no, the job didn’t land in my arms. I found it.

If you’re already working in a field that you like or you know what you want to do, look for the equivalent of that in the place that you’d like to move to. It’s 2018, you can pretty much find anything online.

The Alternative?

Personally, I am uncomfortable with the idea of moving somewhere new without a job but maybe you’re a bigger risk taker than me.

If this is you, then I’d recommend to at least have several months of savings before you go. 3 months of rent and some emergency cash would make me feel at ease, but it depends on you.

Can’t Wait Anymore?

If you REALLY can’t wait anymore and you NEED to go. Move and take any job that you can find there. Work in a cafe, a restaurant, babysit full time, whatever it takes.

The question is–how badly do you want to move?

2. 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. You are better than that.

Pick a date, book the ticket, and COMMIT. I promise you, once it’s done, you’ll feel great.

If you don’t need to fly, pick a date and tell a friend who takes you seriously. And if you’re still here on that day, ask this friend to ask YOU, “What the hell are you still doing here?”

3. 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.

 4. 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.

5. 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? If not, are you willing to take any job you can to cover the expenses? Is there a friend you can stay with?

As the saying goes, “Plan for the best but prepare for the worst.”

6. 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 have to buy or lease a car once you get there. Look into how much that’ll cost you.

7. 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 funds 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 of those things so I stayed in an Airbnb, but luckily I was able to find housing within a week after I moved.

Pro tip: one week before leaving, make appointments to see houses so when you get there, you already have some prospects lined up. If you book too early, sometimes the owners will not wait on you.

8. Save $$$

I know, this part sucks. It’s not fun but do you want to move then find out you don’t have enough money and then have to move back home?

I think that’s the last thing you’ll want.

If you really want to move, then you have to save. There’s no way around it. But this is why it’s important that you to pick a date for when you’ll move. It’ll give you a goal, a focus and keep you motivated. Every time you feel like giving up, you look at that date.

9. Move!

It’s scary and it’s daunting, I know exactly how you feel. 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, I felt like I grew 10 times. And in the end, I ended up having an extraordinary time. I made tons of wonderful new friends, I learned so much about myself, and if I can go back and do it again, I would.