The big move – strategies for making moving easier.

Have you ever had to move to a new city all by yourself?

Maybe it was for a new job or an internship right after college.  Maybe you felt that you needed a new change of scenery and on a whim up and moved to an entirely new state – or country!

After graduate school, I ended up moving to Rhode Island from Pennsylvania.  I grew up in Pennsylvania and went to undergrad and grad school there also. So, moving to a new state was one of the hardest things I’ve done.  

The whole experience was truly overwhelming.   All my anxious thoughts kept swirling through my mind.  I contemplated about having to make new friends, find and set up my new apartment, learn all the roles of new job, switch over my car registration, etc.  The list was daunting. The transition definitely was NOT easy. I remember having a few panic attacks and getting into a minor accident during the first few weeks after I moved.   

So, my plan for this post is to give you a list of things to do that will make moving easier, especially if you are single and moving to a new place by yourself.  

  1. Negotiate for your company or employer to pay for moving expenses!!   This is so so important. There was no way I would be able to afford moving everything on my own and I definitely didn’t have the space in my car to move it all.  My boss agreed to pay for a moving truck to bring all my possessions to Rhode Island. Getting movers will save you from a lot of stress and anxiety.
  2. Join to find groups in your new area that are having interesting meetups.  When I first moved to RI, I joined the volleyball group and a social club in Rhode Island.  I met some really cool people from going to the events and I had a blast playing on a weekly volleyball team.  Meetup has all sorts of groups you can join, from learning a new language, book clubs, going on weekly hikes, or technology gatherings.  If you are moving to a new city by yourself, you really really have to put yourself out there if you want to find new friends. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but it will be worth it.  And the plus is that you might even learn something new!
  3. If you are religious or spiritual, find a church.  I met many of my still close friends from church. You will start to feel like you are part of a community if you keep attending regularly.   I know for some it’s daunting to meet new people by getting out of your comfort zone. But, think about this:  when you have no plans for Friday and Saturday night, that’s a great motivator to talk to people!
  4. Go to the after hours events at your company.  I was working at Brown University and I would try to attend as many events as possible.  From science seminars, to new student orientations, to joining a volunteer group, I tried as many things as I could.  The benefits of this are many. At the very least, you meet new people. At best, you network with colleagues and build your resume/CV for future career growth.
  5. Explore your city and surrounding areas.  I used to love driving and walking around checking out the neighborhoods when I first moved.  I remember finding fun coffee shops in Wayland square, the Hope street farmer’s market,  India Point Park for a great water view, and the walking path on Blackstone boulevard.

6. Join a dating site.  I’m sure some of you will roll your eyes at this.  But, it’s literally how I met my now husband.  Even if a date sucks or the relationship doesn’t go anywhere romantically, it’s a good way to get out and explore the city and try new restaurants. And trust me, I had some really horrible dates, but I still think they were worth it in the end because they all taught me something about myself.

7. Volunteer!  What a great way to get to know your community and to give back.  When I first moved here I did a habitat for humanity building project and volunteered at a soup kitchen for the homeless.  If you are ever feeling down about yourself or life, giving back to the community has the power to really change your mindset.  When you are able to focus your energy on someone else instead of yourself, it is truly life-giving. and are great websites that can help you find the best volunteer program for your interests.  

8. Think about getting a pet.  This suggestion is not for everyone.  Only get a pet if you will have time to spend with it and the money to care for it.  Getting a pet is a big commitment. But for me, having a pet is one of the greatest parts of life!  Pets can be extremely comforting and bring a lot of joy to their owners. Having a pet is also a great way to focus your mental energy more on something else instead of yourself.  

My dog Elsa!