Advice to the Mover

Technically speaking I’m not a moving expert. I have, however, logged an ungodly amount of hours packing and moving and unpacking and re-packing. In the six and a half years I’ve been married, I’ve moved at least ten times. Two times completely across the USA. I’ve moved so much I’ve lost count.

Through all the chaos, I’ve amassed a certain amount of wisdom about the plight of cardboard box versus house. I’ve gained both practical and philosophical experiences to share, so here are a few thoughts on what all movers should embrace about moving – especially great moves, crazy moves, untethered moves.

1. Simplicity is the mover’s best friend.

Why buy boxes and packing materials? Someone has free boxes they’re dying to get rid of, and your towels and blankets and clothes must be packed anyway. Put them to good use.

More importantly, moving is the best time to evaluate your material possessions. Everything can and must be reduced. If you’re not convinced that many of your possessions are annoying and unnecessary, put them in storage for a few months. When you unpack (if you ever do), you’ll be embarrassed that you paid money to store so many unnecessary things.

The beauty of moving is change. Change your life by embracing material simplicity.

2. When you’re moving great distances, never merge onto a major highway.

It ought to be against the law to move across country without experiencing any life, without seeing the sights. The highway is the quickest route to road-tripping death. When you move far away, you’re starting over. Completely. You’re erasing so much of what makes you yourself – you leave your environment, your friends and family, your comfort zone, your securities.

You are a blank page.

That’s weighty, hefty stuff. Don’t dismiss the significance of the moment by rushing through it.

Dwell on the change on a back road in the middle of nowhere. Listen to great music. Turn it off and hear the silence. Consider who you want to be when you arrive. Meet odd people and almost run out of gas. Take a random dirt road. Spend half a day trying to find tar again.

A move is nothing if it’s not an adventure.

3. When you arrive, be all there.

This is the most difficult task. Some part of you will immediately regret leaving security behind. If you move somewhere completely new, you’re painfully alone. Meet people. Don’t worry about best friends just yet. Just meet people. Lots of people. If you’re married, enjoy the opportunity to spend lots of time just the two of you. If you’re a family, drink in the rarity of family time. There’s no one else to turn to. But that will change quickly, so don’t waste the moment.

Live like a tourist. You’re not a local yet, so don’t behave like one. Make no apologies for taking an absurd amount of photos and visiting every landmark and scenic view. Make long lists of the things you want to do in the place you just moved. Make the list before your senses have adjusted.

Before you know it, the foreign place you just arrived in will be your home. Home sweet home.

And that’s okay. It was, after all, the point.

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