The idea of living somewhere else can be very enticing, especially if that elsewhere is entirely different than your current surroundings. On the other hand, transplanting to a new location can also be terrifying. If you have lived someplace the majority of your life and are comfortable with set routines, a move to a vastly different location would mean leaving behind that security. However, upon overcoming these fears and striving to create new routines, living somewhere new can greatly enhance the overall life experience. Additionally, it can deliver a sense of satisfaction that you truly do have the strength and tenacity to become a modern-day pioneer.
More than 50 percent of the population lives within a 50 mile radius of their birthplace after graduating from high school. Those that do decide to leave this radius of familiarity usually have a college degree, while those that don’t tend to stay closer to home. While the majority of the population does have a tendency to remain in their native state, Americans are more likely to venture out-of-state nowadays than they were a few decades ago. The only exception to this trend occurs when the economy is suffering.
Before you bust a move
If you have surpassed the whimsical stage of transplanting and are determined to start a life somewhere different, there are a few things you might want to consider further. Living elsewhere can be a negative or a positive experience: by considering each of the following before you arrive at your new destination, you hopefully will be able to achieve the later.
Cost of Living – For starters, you should consider the market of where you are moving to -- ahead of time. If you have recently sold your spacious house in the Midwest for $300,000 and are relocating to the San Francisco Bay area, you are going to have to downscale. Significantly. And if a wage seems much more generous in some other state for a similar job, it could mean a higher cost of living there.
Buy vs. Rent-- The other consideration to have before driving in the stakes and buying a house in the new destination is the possibility you might not like the place a year later and want to move back, or try somewhere else. Owning a house can make things more difficult if you suddenly need to sell it, not to mention the stress that comes with selling a house. Hence, you may want to initially consider renting a house or an apartment until you feel you really have a solid handle on the new area.
Learning the ropes -- If you have lived in a place long enough, you probably have stopped thinking about how to get to places like the grocery store, or your favorite take-out place; driving there has probably become thoughtless and automatic. However, when moving to a new place, getting to a new coffee shop can seem to take all your mental strength. Instead of allowing your mind to go on auto-pilot to reach these destinations, you have to acquire directions and contemplate each turn you make. The first month in a new environment can definitely be overwhelming when it comes driving around town, but in time you will learn your way. Before you know it, you will soon will again be able to zone out when traveling to those routine stops.
Climate and landscape – At first glance, this seems rather obvious: if you like winter skiing, don’t move to Ft. Lauderdale. However, you may want to really think about your new location and how it could affect you and your lifestyle. As a native Michigander who loves the lakes, adjusting to Utah was a bit of a challenge. Fellow Utahns took me to some of their reservoirs, which they deemed as “lakes,” but if you are from Michigan, a reservoir is NOT a lake.
Climate and landscape part 2 – Not only should you consider your new potential surroundings in terms of your personal preferences, but also in terms of your heath. For example, living in the Phoenix area is great for those who fare better in warm weather, but not for those that have Ragweed or Pollen allergy issues.
Great Salt Lake of Utah
Culture – Every place seems to have its own culture, and sometimes it’s difficult to figure this out before settling in. It would be helpful to establish some trusted contacts from the new locale, prior to the time of the move. These contacts would hopefully be able to give you information that would allow you to get a feel for the new place. If you are someone who is used to a fast-place lifestyle, a small Western town may be difficult to adjust to. If you are single and Jewish, relocating to a predominantly Mormon suburb of Salt Lake City can be a very strange and shocking experience.
Network of people – This is arguably the main reason why most won’t leave their home state, and why others who do leave, end up returning to their native land: most just have a hard time separating from family. Aside from automatic companionship, especially around the holidays, many depend on their extended family more than they are aware of. If you have young kids, trying to find a trusting adult to watch your kids can be difficult – for you and them. Life can be much easier for big and little people with a Grandma nearby who loves to be used for nanny duties. However, in a new place there are probably more resources available than you would initially think. Most places have community centers that have a daycare that will watch your kids while you work out, or take a mental breather for a few hours. And many of these places even have “date nights” available once or twice a month, so you can venture out into your new town for a few hours. There are also a myriad of web sites gaining usage across the U.S. such as care.com where you can hopefully find someone worthy of watching your kiddos.
The process of moving is generally not a fun one. And afterwards it can result in an emotional rollercoaster ride of should I stay or should I go as you try to adjust to your setting. And while many inevitably move elsewhere or return to their home base within a year or two, I think there is there is something to be said of trying to make a life in a new location. Not only will you have the satisfaction of knowing that you can make it somewhere else, you will discover the idiosyncrasies of a new place that will transplant their way into your heart. You may discover that your favorite hometown pizza place can no longer take 1st prize in pizza. Or, perhaps you will discover a place where the announcement of spring on the calendar actually does correspond to spring-like weather conditions outdoors. If you can discover that area of the country that has enough nuances that capture your heart, perhaps you will then find a place that you can genuinely call home.