When it came to moving across the country, it felt like I was partaking in the Lewis & Clark Expedition, but 2k17 Abby style. This is mainly because I was moving west and it seemed fitting. I mean, let’s be real, most of my thoughts about moving to Oregon were based upon getting measles while playing Oregon Trail in second grade. I felt like I was going back in history, but with high hopes for the future.
I knew a few things about the Pacific Northwest, mainly that it rains a lot and still nobody uses umbrellas. I also knew it’s the hub for craft breweries, quirkiness and nature. Apart from that, I was basically jumping into the unknown. I was moving to a place I have only graced my eyes upon once. The build up was exciting, yet intimidating, but I had to start somewhere in order to put my idea into action.
With no job, little money and basically knowing no one, here were my steps to move across the country.
- The first step was choosing a date. As Robert Herjevek says, “if it’s a goal without a deadline, it’s just a dream.” The dream I had to move felt intangible because it was a thought I kept in my head and a few close companions. Once I began making it known that I was about to leave, it really gave me that extra kick in the butt to actually do it, and it made other people take me more seriously too. Once I had a date in mind I had to devise the escape plan, *buys Ford Escape.* Seriously, this happened. After this, I could really focus on finding a job, finding shelter, saving money and all the other necessary miscellaneous things you kinda have to do before you move, but setting a date made these next steps seem real.
- An important component of moving without a job is savinnnng monney. Not going to go into much detail about that, if you really want to save money you know what to do, don’t spend money. There are costs you will inevitably need to pay for on your journey; such as gas, food, and shelter. If you want to save even more money consider camping and bringing snacks for the car ride, and it’s a long car ride so I’d highly recommend the snacks. Additionally, there are also costs you need to pay for when you settle into your new home. I’d be prepared for at least a month or two in rent and living expenses, and don’t forget a deposit for your apartment either. Add all these things up then add about $500 for the, “just in case oh crap emergency fund.” Don’t jump the gun if you don’t have enough money, you will be stressing out the whole time. Go when you feel comfortable with your financial stance and it will make the move a lot smoother.
- During my saving money period it was also crucial to do some research. By this I mean find/build any connections you may have in the place you are moving to. An acquaintance from college, an alumna from your school, a parent of an acquaintance from college, an extremely distant family member, your cousins step daughter’s aunt’s niece’s daughter. Whatever it may be, finding one person makes the worlds difference. The first thing I did when I arrived in Portland was I reached out to my one connection on LinkedIn and we had tea together. This made me feel a lot more comfortable and confident in finding my place in a new city, and she gave me tips on what to look forward to in not only job hunting, but in Portland as well. With a slogan like, “keep Portland weird,” this conversation was fairly entertaining. Don’t be intimidated to go on social networks and search for mutual friends or even alumni from your school, they are usually excited to help a youngin find their way in the world, and they may even be in the same position as you and be looking for friends.
- The fourth step I took when I arrived in Portland was I applied to jobs. I walked into places with resume in hand and asked if they were hiring. Sometimes I instantly got rejected and was directed to go to their online website and apply, but the process of putting myself out there and forcing myself to talk with strangers was a scary but great occurrence. I had previous experience waitressing so I felt like that’s the lane I should be in, plus tips right off the bat was a plus. This was a stressful time, but once I finally landed a job, which was basically right away, I could try and relax a little and explore the city beneath the surface level.
- For me, I knew I eventually wanted to find a full time 8-5 for the sake of gaining some appealing job experiences to make my resume a little sexier. I started with finding a part time job and used my free time to apply for what I was really looking for. Use whatever background job experience you have to land that first job, even if it’s not exactly what you are hoping for. It doesn’t have to be permanent. After this you then can use your remaining time to find your dream job.
- Once you have a steadish income, I’d recommend joining a place of community. For me this was a gym. For you it might be a sports league, church, book club or anything that aligns with your interests. Even if you don’t make friends right off the bat, it’s nice to share a fist pump or a, “hello,” with people. You eventually start seeing these people everyday which then turns into a real positive environment. Plus, people who share the same interests with you are the people you probably want to become friends with. So do that.
- Lastly, and maybe most importantly, don’t forget where you came from. Keep in touch with your family and friends you are leaving behind. This will always be your support system, and when things get tough, because they will sometimes, you want people who will love you and will always be there. Also, don’t forget about what has shaped you, don’t try to fit in with the crowd or be someone else. You like what you like and you don’t have to change anything just because you moved to a new city. Own what makes you unique.