Recently, a friend reached out to me via Facebook regarding her desire to chase her dream of moving to NYC. She gave me permission to share her message:
“Jen! Would it sound so corny if I said that I was proud to know someone who followed her dreams and left everything familiar to move across the country just for a chance to make them come true? I think what you’re doing is so amazing and your videos on your site are really inspirational! I also wanted to write you to see if you had any tips on moving to a different city. I’ve wanted to live in NYC for as long as I can remember and I’ve finally given myself a strict timeline to making it happen. So, since my GPS is under construction :-), any feedback you can share would be more than helpful.”
After responding to my friend with some advice on relocating and lessons I’ve learned along my journey, she strongly encouraged me to share these tips with everyone! If fear of relocating is the reason you aren’t chasing your dream, please reach out to me with any questions or even just for the support. You can do it and I’d love to help!
*The following tips and words of advice are based on my personal experience. Please keep in mind, your situation may be different and to simply use these tips as a form of guidance*
– Make sure to save at least 2-3 months worth of rent money before relocating – unless you have job security where you’re moving.
– Create a detailed spreadsheet of what your current expenses are and a forecast of your expenses when you relocate. From personal experience, living in Los Angeles, CA is far more expensive than living in Pittsburgh, PA. Make sure to research the cost of living!
– If you will not have job security when you move, make sure to begin your application process weeks before you move so that you may have interviews lined up upon your arrival. You could also let the employers know that you’re willing to Skype before your move!
– Apply for a credit card that you’ll be able to rely on – just in case! But, I personally, would not touch the credit card unless it’s your absolute LAST resort. It costs a lot to relocate and the last thing you need is to rack up credit card debt along the way.
– I joined a website called Westside Rentals that was referred to me by locals out here in LA. It is actually how I found my current apartment! I think it’s really wise to get a head start on looking for housing and set up a number of appointments for within the first couple days that you get to your destination. It will be tiring, but very worth it.
– This one is important and something not all people will think of ahead of time. Just to save yourself time and money – because you may feel overwhelmed when you first relocate – I would make a bunch of copies of your social security card, driver’s license, and recent pay stubs as proof to provide to the apartment landlords. I had to provide that to every apartment landlord where I applied.
– Look into a couple of banks ahead of time that you’d like to open an account with when you move (unless your current bank will also be where you’re relocating to).
– Take time to research the neighborhoods where you’re considering living, because time is money when you don’t have a place to live yet. You don’t want to waste time driving to a neighborhood for an apartment appointment, only to find out that the neighborhood is very unsafe or far away from where your future job may be located. Research this ahead of time so that you know the neighborhoods you’re scheduling apartment appointments in are located in an area you know you’d be willing to live!
– To piggyback off of the last bullet point, make sure to research the traffic patterns in your future city/town. I was strongly warned to avoid highway 405 here in Los Angeles because it takes “4 or 5 hours” to get to where you’re going – and boy, these locals weren’t kidding! That is critical when deciding where to live because, even if you live 10 miles away from your new job, that may take 2 hours due to high traffic cities.
– If you can, get a P.O. Box address or change your address to a family members’ so that your mail can be forwarded to a location where you know it’s safe and won’t be lost.
Lastly, do not let ANYONE scare you out of your decision to chase your dreams! When you tell people about your plans to relocate or chase big dreams, you’ll get the ones who are super excited for you and then the ones that will express doubt and discouragement – but that’s just THEIR fears speaking! You CAN do it. Just plan as best you can then take the leap! Sure, it will be scary and you will have hard times, but it is the best, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done!