Don’t Even Consider Moving Without Answering These Important Questions

As a life coach, the author has helped clients decide if they should move across the country, out of the country, or stay put. Here are the questions she has her clients ask themselves when deciding to make the move.

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Do you know people where you're going?

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Do you have friends or family there? Do your friends have family there or does your family have friends there? Do any of your Facebook friends have contacts there? Simply put: Get the skinny from someone who lives there. Get the inside scoop. Ask what they love about the place, what they wish was different, how it works for families, singles, kids, pets—whatever is important to you. Recently, my husband was contemplating a job change to Baltimore. I found out I knew two people who were living there: a friend from grade school (who I hadn't spoken with in 20 years) and an ex-boyfriend's sister (who I hadn't spoken with in a decade). We connected via Facebook and in days we were having long conversations where I could cut to the chase, get the story on the city from people who knew me—and the city—well.

Are you looking for an adventure?

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Sometimes it's time to mix things up. Perhaps you're living in the same town where you were born and you just want to try something new. Maybe you're in your 20s and ripe for an adventure. Moving isn't easy: New home, new friends, and new job or commute, possibly even a new time zone. That's a lot of new all at once. And if that sounds exhausting...there needs to be another reason for your move. But if it sounds exhilarating and exciting, you're on the right path.

Can you follow your passions there?

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One of my coaching clients is passionate about her salsa dancing. She's lived in London, France, and New Jersey. It is absolutely critical to her that wherever she goes, there's a solid salsa scene. Before you move, make sure that you'll have access to the things that are important to you. On the flip side, I have a client who is passionate about adventure tourism: zip lining, white water kayaking, etc. She lives in New Jersey where adventure tourism isn't that big. So she started researching where the big outfitters are, because if she's going to do it, she wants to go to be around the best of the best. After just a couple coaching sessions, it became clear that New Zealand was the place (and her parent's best friends live there). I just received an enthusiastic email from her: after two months of planning and research, her visa was approved; she heads to New Zealand next month. If you have the flexibility to go anywhere in the world to learn your craft, go where you can learn from the best.

Are you ready to be a "trailing spouse"?

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This one is for those of you who are married, or moving for a partner. In many situations, one part of a couple is offered an opportunity in a new location, while the other is the "trailing spouse". He or she may have to look for a new job, new house, new friends, new schools for the children, etc. (and possibly all of the above). Ideally, if this is a job-related move, the company that moved you will help you find a place to live and get settled. If not, there will be a lot for that trailing spouse to manage: be honest with yourself and your spouse about what you're signing up for when you're moving for your partner's job, and whether you're up for it.

Are you moving toward or away?

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This is subtle, but immensely important. If there's an underlying fundamental problem with you, your job, the way you work with people or your relationships, moving away instead of dealing with the real issues won't solve anything, in fact it will just postpone you having to deal with them. In rehab programs, moving to "make things better" is often referred to as "pulling a geography." As it is said, "you can run, but you can't hide" from yourself. Be honest: is this a move toward something or are you running away?

Are there opportunities there that don't exist locally?

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Two coaching clients of mine, who were living in Queens, recently started a home design, construction and house-flipping company. They were primarily working with clients in New York City, however, there are very few single family homes there as virtually everyone lives in apartments. While that's fine for design, it made it very difficult for them to do the kind of work they wanted to do. After a successful year, they decided they'd be better off working on single family houses in another part of the country. They looked at different cities that were up and coming, and after realizing the importance of proximity to family, they filled up their U-Haul and started driving towards Portland, Oregon.

Could this significantly improve the quality of your life?

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I was recently working with a couple who wanted to buy a home and have more children. They were concerned about the cost of living if they stayed in the New York area, and whether they would be able to get ahead. The husband was working for a Midwestern company while the wife was a stay-at-home mom. Then the opportunity became clear: if they moved closer to corporate headquarters (which was also the epicenter of the industry), the husband would be able to take advantage of more opportunities at the company, and their cost of living would be significantly lower. However, the wife was very close with her family, all of whom lived close by. After extensive conversations and analysis, it became clear that if they wanted to get ahead, buy a house, and grow their family, the best way to do it was to move. For this young family, job opportunities were paramount to their quality of life and it could best be actualized with a move.

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