We’ve all had that thought about moving, “ooh, that looks like a fun place to live!” How many of us actually change that geographic region on their job search agents? In my professional SA career, I have moved across the country 4 times, and I’m confident in saying I have at least a couple more ahead of me. I first moved from Illinois to Washington [state not district of], then to Virginia, then back to Illinois and again back to Washington. This last move was with my partner and an off-campus apartment load of furniture…this complicated things. Early in my career, my cross country moves simply meant “if it doesn’t fit in my car, it’s not coming with me,” and that was okay because I was moving to fully-furnished apartments as a hall director. However, this last move, with grown up furniture and a partner in tow, meant I need to step up my moving game.
Step 1: Recruit help. Odds are you have some pals who haven’t ever road tripped across the country. These are the perfect folks to ask to drive with you, as you may have your moving truck with all of your belongings and then your actual car; an SA caravan if you will. Regardless of whether or not you’re planning to drive through the night – and we’ll get to that later – it’s always helpful to have extra drivers and friends to keep you company. You can swap out folks between the caravan too so you don’t get too annoyed with each other. Talk with your helpers and see how you can make it worth their while. In my last move, my friend drove with us and then we paid for his flight back from our end point.
Step 2: Get that truck locked down. There are several different sizes of moving trucks, if you decide this route. Figure out which will work best for your stuff. We had a full couch, 2 queen sized beds, etc., so we went with the 10 footer and my partner being a Tetris champion certainly helped. Also, make sure you have a large lock to literally lock your truck. If you’re gradually packing the truck instead of in 1 long day, it’s the perfect theft treasure box. Other options out there include paying a moving company to come and drive your stuff to its final destination, or even shipping most of it. This really depends on your budget and what you’ve got to move.
Step 3: Pack. The worst step of all. I was lucky in my moves to be able to have a couple of weeks in between jobs so I had some time to just be home and pack all day. [Tip: I recommend binging through a show on Netflix while you’re packing. It will keep you going with mild distraction, but keep the show light. West Wing was perfect for me.] I read tons of things on Pinterest for this last move since I had way more stuff. This is where your SA organization comes in handy. LABEL EVERYTHING. Don’t overstuff boxes! While we all have a mini SA library, those all shouldn’t be in one box that no human can lift. Spread them out with towels, sheets, etc.
Step 4: Plot your course. If you’re planning to drive through the night, figure out how long each driving shift will be. If you’re stopping along the way, what time each day are you ending? Are there cool things to check out at that stop? On my trip from WA to VA, my bestie and I drove through Yellowstone Park on our way and couch hopped at different universities where I had friends working.
Other Thoughts: Have each driver bring their own playlist for the trip. Bring some healthy snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated. Have some bottles of water within reach. Use your smaller car for the luggage that you’ll need access to along the trip. It can be scary, but embarking on a completely new terrain and adventure is extremely rewarding. I believe it helps to make you a well-rounded professional with ideas from various regions.
Enjoy the ride.