I know a lot about moving across the country as a single girl and can't say I know many other single girls who've moved across the country as many times as I have (three.) Shoot, if you single girls who've had big moves are out there, come say hi on Instagram! We're a rare breed :)
So, when I say I've moved across the country 3 times, (2016 Update: I've now moved cross country 5 times!) I don't mean I shipped my stuff and flew there. I mean I actually drove. The first time in a car, the second time in a Penske truck with my car on a trailer, and the third time in my new car. And I'm going to be completely honest right now and say that I loved it.
There are few things as fascinating as seeing your country that way. Seeing the change in terrain, the change in culture, in accents, in weather, in food, in landmarks. To be able to drive through those changes. It really makes you think. And... it makes you delirious too :)
Here are my tips for making the move:
1. Do your research on means of transportation:
+Depending on the time of year [and cost of fuel] it might be cheaper to ship all of your belongings rather than rent a U-Haul or Penske truck. Get quotes. Do the numbers. Sell whatever you can. [I sold my bed, box springs and couches to eliminate all of that space and weight] and ended up having ABF pick up my belongings and drop everything off for me in San Diego. It was THE easiest trip out of all three moves.
For details on each of my moves and how ABF works, sign up for my Soul-Centered Moving eCourse! or get a free download taken straight from the course by signing up here!
2. Map your trip:
+This might seem like a given but some people don't do it. I didn't map my route mile by mile per day because I know it's smarter to be a little more flexible. One day you might be absolutely exhausted and can't make the last 100 miles of that leg. Look for nearby towns close to your end "goal" city each day. Then, once you're ready to turn in for the night, you'll be able to pull up hotels that are close by. It's not worth it to push yourself when you're tired!
3. Take care of your pets:
+For those who are curious, yes, Stella made two of the three drives with me. I kept her in her soft carrier the entire trip. Don't chance your cat getting out in the car! When I wasn't driving, I held her carrier on my lap, unzipped the side of it and let her cuddle up to my hand. When we'd stop, I'd take out a little food and water and see if she wanted any. In most cases, she was disinterested until about an hour after settling into the hotel at night. Her litter box was kept in a big bag which made it easy to transport each night.
If you're traveling with pets, BringFido.com is a great resource for pet-friendly accommodations.
4. Find some fun landmarks:
+We didn't turn the cross-country drive into a long vacation, we made it in 3.5 days, but we did find some fun landmarks to visit while we were on the road. Roadside America is one of the best resources to find funky, unique attractions along your route! We stopped by the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ and Winslow, AZ ["Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona..."] to name a few!
5. Be Flexible:
+You never know what's going to happen. If you're traveling during certain parts of the year, weather might unexpectedly become an issue. If you're traveling with a moving truck, something might go wrong with it [Example: Driving down a ridiculously steep grade in West Virginia when my Penske truck's brakes went out. That was fun...] Shoot, you might even realize after being cooped up in a small space for 14 hours everyday day that you are actually allergic to your cat. [Yep, that'd be me.]
This is why being awake and alert is so important. You need to be able to address and assess situations as they come.
6. Take advantage of rest stops:
+Because in areas like the Texas panhandle, you never know when you'll see a bathroom [or signs of life] again. Stretch, splash your face with water, grab a snack or a meal if it's time, snap some shots of the great outdoors. Bet you'd never believe this picture below was taken at a rest stop:
Do the stars give away which state I was in at the time?
7. Bring a travel companion:
+I know it's possible to make a cross country trip alone, but as a single girl, I highly suggest, for your own safety and sanity, to bring along another human being for the ride. Preferably someone you know ;) Bring a family member who's looking for a road trip or maybe there is a friend you can pick up on the way! During my first move, I drove the first leg and picked up a friend in the next state. And on my second and third moves, my dad was able to help!
8. Sleep and Eat
+It's easy to force yourself to drive until midnight but just don't do it. On my most recent move to California [and my longest drive of the three] 8:00pm was probably the latest we stopped. Most nights we would stop, settle into our hotel, and then find a restaurant close by to sit down and grab a bite. You need to decompress and find a little time to relax. I'll never forget how we watched a Redskins game in Oklahoma. And then I watched Pretty Little Liars on my laptop until I fell asleep. Standard.
9. Take the scenic route:
+At least once. At the last minute, we decided to follow the "Scenic Route" sign in Arizona which led us just off the freeway into a little parking area where there were views like these:
+Just take it all in. Not everyone gets the opportunity [or has the desire] to do this! Take a million pictures. Or at least plan to take a few hundred :) Even if it's just out the car window, take pictures of everything you see. Looking back at those pictures still makes me so happy. I also took about 60 different clips of video which one of these days I'll make into a montage.
Moving cross country is stressful and scary and exhausting but I truly mean it when I say I've had three of the most amazing experiences of my life doing it. Get out there. See our country. Do it the hard way. It's worth it :)