The following is a guest post from Grace Boyle, a 23 year-old adventurista who lives in Boulder, Colorado and does Business Development for Lijit, a tech startup. Her blog is Small Hands, Big Ideas where she writes about life as a Gen Y in a startup and daily inspirations.
The hours of planning, budgeting, e-mailing and digital networking have led up to this point but all of a sudden the comforts, friends and family you’ve left behind starts to sink in and you find yourself, alone.
That may be just one of the fears running through your head. I’m here to help dissipate the fear and confusion and I’m raising my hand now, only 8 months ago I was in your position.
You’re not alone in your plight: The average American moves 11.7 times in their lifetime. Forty million people relocate each year while 15 million make significant moves of more than 50 or 100 miles, Richard Florida states in Who’s Your City?
Moving and relocating can be scary, but you’re halfway through the battle because you gathered up your wits, took a risk and did it. These are steps that I took to help further acclimate to my new city that I now call, home.
Integrating and folding yourself into the everyday life of your new city is important.
Create a one month event calendar: This isn’t as Type A as it sounds (and if you really are Type A you will love this even more). I created a calendar and wrote down events, concerts and speaking engagements for my first month of arriving. I tried to combine cultural, local, artistic and professional related events so I could get into the mix. After my first month, I started to figure out my niche and which events I would be returning to and which I wouldn’t. Mistakes are to be made, don’t worry about the outcome, just go and explore.
Sign up for a library card: Besides being part of a local “staple” resource, libraries often have interesting public speakers and events.
Join a Gym: Great way to meet like-minded healthy people in your area. Try to check out the classes offered, it’s more intimate and easy to talk with people.
Join A Club or Volunteer: Look for a club or organization that focuses on something you’re interested in. I started working with Ladies Who Launch and volunteering at Colorado Horse Rescue because I have been riding and competing with horses my whole life. I’ve met great people and friends at both.
I believe the best way to understand a new culture or city is to dive in. Visit coffee shops, go to local diners, read the daily newspaper for events, then attend them and take long walks to soak it all in.
Erica Prather, who picked up and moved from New York City to Boulder to escape the daily grind says, “When you move someplace new, it’s important to start doing what you love right away, even if it costs you a little bit of money. You will not only meet friends who share what you enjoy, you will also set yourself up for networking.”
It’s interesting to understand statistics, which also might help you understand rent or housing standards and average annual income.
Helpful Statistical Resources: City-Data.com, Zip Skinny (both data and stats for your new location), Chamber of Commerce (website or visit their building directly) then pick up a relocation package, Search.Twitter (type in your city name to hear the live buzz) and finally, buy or subscribe to your local newspaper.
Finances and Personal Paperwork
Within the first three days of my arrival, I knew that one of the most important things besides moving into my new place and unpacking was to settle up my finances and open new accounts.
Banking: I did personal research for the best banks in the area and picked up pamphlets from each of them. I found some online resources that also outlined how to choose the right bank. Banks are always willing to set you up with a representative and tell you what they’re offering in terms of a checking and savings account. Accessing yourself is important. For Gen Y I think it’s very important to have a checking and savings account. Plan for your future.
Health Care: Depending on your situation, you may have leeway and time before switching over your insurance and license, or you may not. Either way, you should know your options.
Inform your health care company as applicable (start asking around, researching or look for a referral) to select new doctors (this depends on your work situation and health care plan).
License: Check out statewide laws and compliances for registering your car in the new state (i.e. do you need an emission check?) by visiting your local DMV or the nation-wide resource: (http://www.dmv.org/). They will also help you get your new license.
Auto insurance: I asked my prior auto insurance provider to connect with the local branch in Boulder, then I received quotes from multiple providers. Compared the prices and packages and then made my decision. They get these situations daily, be sure you’re informed and do your research.
Prioritize and Find Your Own Pace
This may sound a bit overwhelming. That’s why I broke it up into social, research, and finance paperwork. Take your time. You know yourself best, so access what is most important and then prioritize.
The past two times I relocated have been the best decisions of my life. It was hard, but I was humbled and learned so much. Use the fear you may be feeling as a catalyst to drive you forward and overcome it. We’re creatures of habit, but you should still step outside your comfort zone, so you can break free.
Photo Credit: Photo Mojo
This article is a part of a series of posts on moving out on your own.