Throughout the past 7 years, I have moved a total of 3 countries, 7 cities, and 21 homes. I also traveled to 15 different countries, graduated from university, and worked 8 jobs. If that doesn’t sound crazy enough, my 100-pound dog, Kaine moved with me to 15 of those 21 homes. Being constantly on the move definitely has its ups and downs. While you are always searching for consistency, there is something special about finding a home in new places. The lessons that I have learned throughout this journey are invaluable ones.
The first being: home doesn’t necessarily mean a physical place. As soon as Kaine and I started to feel settled, it was time to pick up and move. We had no anchor, no one place that we could call ours, and certainly no stability. Home to us instead meant each other, the people we encountered, and the new environment we created for ourselves. We carried with us our feel-good routines everywhere we went and learned how to make every space our own.
The second lesson I learned was: good interactions and impressions are everything. Dealing with multiple landlords, roommates, and neighbors, it was vital to create good relationships — especially when moving with a big (pretty scary looking) dog. Treating every place like it was your own and leaving it in a better condition than how you received it is a good way to make a lasting impression. Building those relationships is imperative, especially when you need a reference or a good word.
The work does not get easier. Finding short-term rentals is hard enough on its own, now add a new city, a furnished requirement, and a 100-pound dog. It almost seems impossible. My advice on this is: do not leave it to the last minute and exhaust every resource available (Reddit, Facebook, Airbnb, Furnished Finder, Rental websites, friends, etc.) Contact as many people as you can, make a good case for yourself and provide references whenever possible.
This lesson is related somewhat to the one above: Sometimes things fall through or don’t work out because there are better things waiting to happen. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should get lazy and not put in the work. It just means that you shouldn’t get discouraged and remain focused. Not rushing decisions or giving in to pressure took me a bit of time to learn but it is very true that there are plenty of opportunities out there as long as you put in the necessary work.
If something is too good to be true, it probably is. ALWAYS read your contracts and try to visit every place beforehand if possible. This was something I learned the hard way. Unfortunately, there are still scammers out there in this world. Make sure you proofread your contract, have someone else go over it, and only sign it when you are 100% certain it is legit.
This was one of the more enlightening lessons I’ve learned: You will always need way less than you think you do, in fact, it is very little you do need. Notice how I said need and not want, even differentiating between that is difficult. The first time I moved, I packed everything I could get my hands on. It seemed impossible to part ways with anything I owned — I somehow found a need for every single thing. By my second move, I was already down to two suitcases. Having to pack, unpack, pack and unpack again every single time is a huge effort. Now having to do that almost 20 times, you really start to learn what’s necessary and what’s not. Being able to live so minimally has taught me a lot about human nature, how adaptable we actually are but how reliant we have become on material things. It has also taught me how to let go and allowed me to focus more on the things that matter most. I’ve learned to find new meanings and live my life based on experiences rather than material possessions.
Lastly, being open-minded and putting yourself out there is extremely important. Developing new relationships is exciting and it is definitely needed when you are in a new place, far from your existing friends and family. Joining different clubs, going to different events, striking conversations, and embedding yourself in the community are all ways you can meet new people. The key here is to always be yourself and do the things you enjoy, that way you are bound to come across like-minded individuals that have similar interests.
Even though it got tiring at times, I was always looking forward to my next adventure, and knowing that it was so doable made it that much more exciting. Moving from one place to the other, I have really learned to appreciate how versatile we are as humans and how valuable it is to explore and enhance that side of us. All in all, moving is not as terrible as it’s made out to be, or at least it wasn’t for Kaine and me.