Major life changes: relocating to new state (possibly far) - how’d it go for you?

I’ve been thinking about this for the past year or so, so this is not out of the blue.*

I’ve been considering moving out of my area, and maybe going someplace far away (but still within the continental US). I’ve lived in the DC area for over 15 years and haven’t really been knocking down the doors of life, so I thought I’d move somewhere else and give it a fresh start. I’ve lived many different places, coast to coast, so I’m not afraid of change. I have friends and family in various states across this nation who would be willing (and have in the past) to help me land on my feet until I get my new life set up. Even with the economy being what it is, I figure I can re-establish my part-time non-career type jobs and frugal life in another state. Most of my cross-country moves were made with the benefit of having the military handle most of the decisions for me (change of station moves). This time I get to choose where I want to go. I’ve got some coin saved up, my tax refund is coming soon (ka-ching!) and I can fit everything pretty much in one vehicle. Other than acquaintances, I don’t have a bunch of ties to the local area. So why not?
How did it work for you? How far did you move? I know it’s tough to start new somewhere, and even tougher to just “pick up and go”, but was it good or bad? Were you able to do it on your own, or did you get a lot of help? Feel free to include both horror stories and great successes. But please leave the “look before you leap” comments out of it. Thanks.

  • = (…and including all the usual disclaimers: I’m not on the lam, I haven’t killed anybody, not running from a bad relationship, blah blah blah.)

I sent a few things ahead, but mostly packed everything I owned, plus three cats, into a Jeep Liberty and drove from Ohio to California to get married and go back to school. That was last April and I’m enjoying my new life. I was moving TO someone, though, which makes a big difference. And I don’t like driving in LA at all. But otherwise, I’m pretty damned pleased with life. :slight_smile:

Left 7 years ago, packed everything into a truck and drove from CO to FL with no job and just a place to live. Best decision I ever made.

I did it 16 years ago, on a Greyhound bus, with $150 in my pocket, knowing only my ex and his family. Somehow, I survived!

About 22 years ago I packed up my pregnant self and my 6 month old son (and my ex, that was the mistake part) and moved to Calgary. I loved it and I would have stayed forever except ex left me and moved back to Ontario. He initially won custody because I “worked too much” so I moved back to Toronto as well.

I’m happy I moved back because I wouldn’t otherwise have met my husband but I still miss Calgary.

At the age of 24, I packed a small suitcase and took a Greyhound to NYC, where I arrived with $17 in my pocket. No job, no connections, not even a resume. Got a job and a room at the Y on the first day. A coworker lent me $20 till payday.

I wound up living in (or around) NYC for 25 years. Then came back here to help take care of my parents.

If you really want to relocate, just do it.

I’ve done it twice in the last 10 years, once voluntarily and once in-.

The first time we left DC for rural Ohio to have a better place to raise our kids. We wanted small town life and that’s what we got. Little jobs but Lady Chance was telecommuting and I was freelancing and starting my own shop. It went well and, frankly, I still miss the people I knew and cared for there (it’s only been about 6 months or so and the scab still isn’t healed over).

Last year Lady Chance got promoted and told she needed to relocated in four weeks! Agh. So now we’re in Charleston, SC. About 700 miles from where we were. This one didn’t go so well either moving or sort of emotionally. The kids are old enough that they hated leaving their friends and such and I felt that, too. I’m beginning to integrate into the community here but it’s a larger city and has nowhere near the sense of community that Marietta, OH had.

Still, it works, and we survived. What are you going to do and where are you planning to move to?

I had a job to move to, but nobody in town or in the whole state. I was really lost for about a year; I worked hard to make and keep some friends, and I took a lot of evening classes to fill my time. Finally I decided things were going nowhere, joined an online dating service, and met my husband about six weeks later.

This, except:

No pets. LA to Australia, to get married in a jet, as a Jeep over the Pacific ould have been unworkable. School came later, but it did come.

How do you know until you’ve tried it?

Well, for me; a bit over four years ago I packed up from a temp stay with my folks in Maryland and drove to Idaho. I did have a connection here, an aunt, but otherwise it was kind of nuts. But a good kind of nuts, especially as it turned out I love winter.

I recommend it. A completely fresh start and all that.

It didn’t go badly for me, exactly. But not well, either. It’s been a success fiscally and from a career perspective, but moving away from all my friends turned out badly. I haven’t made new ones (although I haven’t really tried hard, so I know it’s on me). But, I ended up here because I *had *to (I had dropped out of school and didn’t have anywhere else to go), not because I wanted to. I suspect that if I had moved to a place of my own choosing, I would he happier and try harder. For example, if I had the money to do it now, I’d be out of this place in a New York minute.

In 2002, I lost my job (company folded), lost my health insurance (and due to pre-existing was declined by every company in the state).

My wife and I sold most of our stuff and we bought a one-way ticket from Reno, Nevada to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia (former Soviet Union). We could live there on $500/mo and taught English, worked for a newspaper, did voice overs for TV ads and generally improvised.

It was hard… just 4-6 hours of electricity each day and not much heat, but it changed our lives. We now split time between the US, Prague and Dubai. We had quite a bit saved up ($50K+) so we knew we could survive quite a long time or move if we needed to.

I think a major change is well worth it for the experience.

Good point. BRB.

Also, I abuse commas. That was - …to get married, in a jet… We got married in our living room, not a jet, which would have been more fun.

To more fully answer the OP, it was scary and daunting and the most amazing thing I ever did. Go for it. I love to move! I also moved across the US about four times for various reasons. MS to CA, CA to MI, MI to NV as an adult, more ask a kid.

Done it seven times - to different countries. About to do it an eighth. It’s never totally easy but it’s endlessly fascinating and rewarding. Wouldn’t change a thing.

We’ve made about 7 major (changing state or country) moves since getting married. Always for economic reasons. While going over “life lessons” with my kids, I always point to their cars as their best source of economic success in the world. “The gas goes here” [points to fuel door] “and the town without good jobs goes here” [points to rear-view mirror].

New friends, better jobs, better pay each time. I think each move was a win.
Disclaimer: we decided to stay put for awhile when the kids started school, thinking it was better for them in the long run. The last one’s almost thru high school, but we’re not sure we’ll return to being nomads. The walls of our rut are nicely polished, and the furniture’s comfy. :stuck_out_tongue:

I work in a very specific field, but one in which I’m in pretty high demand. As such, whenever I get a new job, odds are it’s not only in another city- it’s likely in another state.

About 9 years ago I moved from Austin to central Oregon. Four years later, I moved from there to Seattle. And then, about two-and-a-half years ago, I moved all the way across the country to Baltimore. I’m lucky in that, when I move, it’s because of a new job- and they pay for my move. Still, though, it can be fairly traumatic.

I’m actually kind of getting the itch to move again. I like exploring new places, learning the local cuisine, and making new friends. I think that moving from here, though, will be the hardest- we’ve made a lot of good friends that we’ll really miss.

I’ve actually done this three times.

  1. Moved about 1,200 miles from Ohio to Florida. Did not have a job first, but had a friend in Florida who let me live with him for about a year. Found a job within 3 days of arrival. Aside from roommate help, I had no help at all.

  2. Moved about 600 miles from Florida to South Carolina. This time, I followed a better paying job. Knew no one when I got there. Hated it and within a couple weeks of moving there, I was already looking to move back out of the state. Ended up being there for two years, hated every moment of it and didn’t really like any of the people I knew there. Didn’t even make any friends to speak of. This was my fault, not anyone else’s; I’m the one who chose to move to a place where I didn’t fit in and had nothing in common with anyone I met.

  3. So, I found a job in another part of Florida and moved back. Again, no help and I didn’t know anyone at the time in the city I now live in. I’ve been here almost 15 years, so I’d say it worked out.

My only advice to anyone considering doing such a thing: It worked out much better when I got a job first, and then moved. Don’t move first and then look for a job.

Moved from New Zealand to the UK in 2006.

***What was easy: ***
Due to customs requirements, the moving company had to do all the packing. So we basically left our house in the morning, and came back to find everything packed on a truck!

***What was hard: ***
Waiting three months for our stuff to come by boat. The day it all arrived was like Christmas Day!
Making new friends is hard and to be completely honest, I haven’t really successfully made any. I rely on the network of friends that my husband has made, that are related to his writing career and are people all over the UK who we mostly communicate with electronically, with occassional meetings throughout the year.
Although, to be fair, I haven’t done much to put myself forward. Our parish newsletter announced an art class starting on Monday nights at our local pub, and I’m thinking of going along to that.
I think making new friends is particularly hard for us because we are both in our 30s but don’t have kids and don’t plan to. People with kids prefer to have friends who also have kids, in my experience.

Thanks, all. This is all reassuring.

jonathan, since you asked: I don’t know where I want to move just yet. I’ve got friends in MS and OK who have said I could stay with them until I land on my feet. Got some family in CA and WA who would (most probably) be willing to help, but I’m not wild about going all the way back to the west coast. A relative in KY says she has the space now that the kids have moved out, so that’s an option as well.

I know that moving to a job is easier than looking once you get there, but like I said I’m not exactly burning the candle at both ends here. I’ve got a part time retail job and a part time restaurant job here, and I still can’t clear 40 hrs a week. I figure I can get those just about anywhere until I get back into a career type job. As long as I’ve got a place to land I figure I can pick up and start anew once I get there.

Keep 'em coming folks. These stories all make me feel better about making this choice. Thanks again!