When it comes to traveling, I feel like so many people make it more complicated then it is. Traveling is one of the best ways to have incredible experiences that really open you up to what the world has to offer.
With all of the benefits of traveling, it’s amazing to me how many people never make the move (pun intended) to live somewhere else – even for just a short period of time. My friend Zach suggested I write this post, as recently we were talking about how many people don’t push their cognitive horizon and explore the unknown.
In addition, I’m writing this post as I’m getting ready to move from Boston to LA. I literally leave tomorrow, and I wanted to write this before I leave so I can explain all the steps I took to move across the country without any job or backup plan. If you have any questions about what I mention here, feel free to post a comment!
1. It’s about the Forest – not the Trees
The first step to moving across the country, or pursuing anything in life, is understanding the big picture. It’s easy to get caught up worrying about money, living situations, food, etc, but it’s important to understand what you’re overall objective is. As most of you know, I’m a DJ/Music Producer, and so I make sure that everything I do revolves around the idea of that endeavor. When it comes to traveling, I made sure to focus on all the benefits of LA vs. Boston.
Whatever your dream is, it’s important to focus on the best spot/location for what you want to do. Have this be your “why” of moving – that “why” is what’s going to push you to move more than anything else. That “why” is going to make you take the leap to move and find a way to make it work. I know this is a bit more philosophical than practical, but I’ve found that the mental stresses of traveling are way worse than any logistical stresses.
2. Admit You’re Scared
I’ve had so many people tell me that they’re scared to move, and that makes it harder. Actually, it’s the opposite. Too many people make up BS excuses of why they can’t move – and the truth is, it feels better to them because it takes the responsibility out of their lap. When you ultimately say “I’m scared,” what you’re saying is that you know you can move – it’s just that you’re choosing not to. You’re accepting responsibility of where you are, and once you realize that, you then realize you have complete control to do what you want and move anywhere.
The best way to get over fear is do a worst-case scenario chart, developed by Tim Ferriss in his book Four Hour Work Week. Take a piece of paper and split it into 3 columns. On the first column, right down every you want to do (moving, getting a new job, etc). On the second column, right down the absolute worst-case scenario that could happen if you went for that goal. In the third column, write down how you would bounce back from that worse-case scenario.
After doing this, you’ll see that most of your fear is imaginary – and things are never as bad as they appear to be.
3. SET A DATE
This, above anything, is the most important item on this list. Set a date where you have to move and stick to it no matter what.
4. Take temporary setbacks
My guess is that most people reading this article are looking for practical information for moving. To start, I would suggest reading my posts on 8 Ways To Make Money Traveling, 5 Ways I Make Money Blogging, 8 Cheap, Quick and Health Ways to Eat While Traveling, and How To Make Money On YouTube. All these posts talk about various ways to make money online and save money while traveling – which can help you with your travels.
One of my favorite quotes is “I’ll do what others won’t now so I can be later what others can’t.” The idea is that you have to be willing to take temporary setbacks to help propel you in the future. Be prepared to live frugal, pinch pennies and make your dollar last as much as possible.
5. Focus only on what you need
Whether you’re driving, flying, taking a train, etc, remember to pack as light as possible. This will make the journey a lot easier, especially when you get there too. I find that the biggest problem with people is bringing too many clothes – remember you can always buy clothes once you get out there. My strategy is to only bring one trash bag-size worth of clothes – everything else can wait. I know this is Traveling 101, but I really wanted to mention it because it makes the rest of the process a million times easier.
6. Figure out Foundational Monthly Expenses
Now we’re getting into the meat of this post: Money. That’s usually the biggest hurdle for people – after getting past the philosophical stress and figuring out how you’re getting there, money is an issue a lot of people worry about. Here’s what I do: Calculate what you’re monthly expenses are that you have to pay no matter what. For me, it’s: Car Payment, Car Insurance, Phone Bill. I add those up, and then that amount is my foundational monthly expense – the amount I have to pay no matter what.
Once you have that number, shoot for saving 5x that number. So if you’re foundational monthly expenses are $1,000, I want to save roughly $5,000. This obviously doesn’t include spending money, food, etc, which is why I usually shoot for roughly 5x.
7. Update Job Sites to Reflect New Location
This may depend upon your situation, but what I did before I moved is updated my location on Monster, LinkedIn, Indeed, etc to state that I officially live in LA. At the time of this post, I’ve already gotten numerous calls with job offers. I haven’t accepted any of them, but it puts me in the mindset for the job market (as a backup plan). It’s obviously ideal to have something lined up before you move, but it’s important to move regardless (like I mentioned above).
8. Living Situations
Once you get out there, living situations can get tricky. Reach out to any friends you have in the area and try couch surfing. If not, post on CraigsList beforehand or check out places on CraigsList to set something up – it’s a lot easier doing something unofficial than having to go through an Agent. If worse comes to worse, you could always crash in your car, but be careful as this option might not work for everyone.
9. Let Everyone Know You’re Moving
Last but not least, make sure you tell everyone you’re moving. Not only do you want to see everyone before you officially leave, but you’ll be surprised how many people will recommend contacts, jobs, areas, etc. I’ve already had friends connect me with people out in LA, simply because they heard I was moving and wanted to put me in touch with a good contact. If anything, I would suggest doing this before figuring out logistical situations, as this can make the whole move a million times easier.
Those are the 9 steps I took to move from Boston to LA with no job planned! To finish off this post, I wanted to mention one of my favorite quotes by Harun Yahya: “I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.”