Submitted by Sharee Lopez
As humans, we have a natural ability to settle down and plant roots. This need within us is what spawned villages, then towns, and eventually the sprawling cities many of us dwell in today. The longer we live somewhere, the deeper the roots grow. We make friends, find a local coffee shop, map out our favorite spots to eat or watch a movie. We collect items to adorn our walls and our shelves, and we turn our barren apartments and houses into homes. As the years go on we amass a collection of items, big and small, that we incorporate into our lifestyle and have become important to our identity and way of life. Our roots reach deep into the ground and we feel we can reach a little higher into the plane of comfort and happiness.
We as humans, however, must sometimes do what trees cannot. We must move ourselves far away and plant our roots elsewhere. Everything we have collected: our cars, our bookcases, beds, and pull out couches. The globe from the flea market, the statue from the cute art store down the street. Though it may seem daunting, we can’t just leave all these items that made our house a home behind; which is when a subtle panic begins to set in. How in the world will we move our whole lives to a new place?
It used to be, before moving businesses and automobiles, you would pack up your carriage and begin the long and treacherous journey towards a better life. Fear of bandits and thieves haunted you in the night; good thing this is the 21st Century. Even so, moving is far from easy. There are countless different aspects to worry about. There are a variety of routes to take. Do I rent a large truck and eat the cost of gas while I stay in hotel after hotel until I finally reach my destination? Do I pay for a moving company to move it all for me? Can I find the ability to trust strangers with my most valuable objects? Of course, those aren’t the only worries that come with moving, especially for a move that is not just across a state but across the entire country.
Many people find themselves in a position where they move somewhere they hardly know anyone at all. Luckily for my parents, when they each moved to California from their respective countries they had the support of family to help them get by. Each had come to America for a fresh start; for new opportunities for themselves and their family. Then one fateful day in an elevator on the fifth floor of the hospital my mother had been working in for years, they found each other. Even with familial support, the move to the U.S. was daunting and terrifying at times and posed a million new challenges. They had to adapt to a new language and culture. They had to hope their skills would transfer over to a new job market. They had no idea if they would enjoy making a living in a culture so different than the one they were born into. Despite all these fears and setbacks, they decided to push forward and make that great move that would change the rest of their lives. Had they let fear get the best of them, they never would have found each other and made the beautiful life together they have today. There are still struggles and hardships and difficult times, but that move will always be one of the best and impactful decisions they have ever made.
If there is anything to be learned from my parents (hint: there is a lot) it is that however daunting and worrisome a huge move may be, growth and opportunity undoubtedly lie on the other side. Now that we know that the hassle of a big move is worth it, let’s go deeper into the strategies for transporting your life somewhere else.
Strategy one: pack it all into whatever car you own and hit the road. My boyfriend’s parents took this route in 1979 as they packed everything that could fit into an old Datsun and made the move from New York to the sunny beaches of California. They stayed in campsites off Route 66 and took sleeping shifts in the car to pull incredibly long stretches of tires on concrete, every inch of burned rubber leaving its mark on the seemingly endless journey to brighter pastures. One of the pairs of them couldn’t drive stick so they would switch places while in gear along the highway (trying this trick not recommended). This long path is not recommended for the weary or the time-constrained; but for the adventurer looking for memories along the way, a good old-fashioned road trip is the best way to go. You’ll tell stories to your kids of the magician you met in the bar in Idaho, or the ventriloquist comedian in a coffee shop hangout down in Texas. When you finally reach your destination on the other side, you’ll be all the wiser for it.
Strategy two: Drop everything and start over. Yes, we tend to make roots where ever we go, but sometimes our lives don’t always turn out the way we wish instead of transplanting our roots elsewhere, we look to make entirely new ones. What does that mean? It means to put the garage sale sign up, the for-sale sign on your car, and get ready to donate because everything is going to have to go and it is much more than you think. That closet that will only take a few hours to unload may take days to sort through, but if you have the time, you’ll eventually get through everything with cash in hand. All that’s left to do is hop on a plane and get ready to embark on the next chapter of your life… or in this case, write a new book.
Strategy 3: Get professional help. I am thinking this strategy is the way to go if you are looking for speed and efficiency, and chances are the cost of moving is less than buying all new furniture, clothes, decorations, and everything else that makes a home. Not to mention the pain of letting go of all those items you may have strong sentimental value for. After all, objects over time become more than pieced together with materials: they store memories and represent a physical manifestation of time you may wish to never forget. The best way to get all those precious belongings far away is to find trusted professionals who can help you on your journey. My boyfriend and I are both from California, and in a few months, we will go to the opposite direction his parents did and move to the east coast, as I will be attending graduate school. For the last year and a half, we have collected everything that makes an apartment a home and rather than goes through the long journey across the country, we’ll take a plane while the professionals make the journey for us. We live in a fantastic time where online resources exist that can help you find the best moving company money can buy so all your belongings make it to your new home. Now instead of starting over, we can simply move our roots… minus the surfboards and bikinis. I’ve heard rumors there are beaches over there, and they actually get sun sometimes, but I’m going to go ahead and say that is a myth.
Whatever you decide, when you know it’s time to move, don’t make the mistake of letting your fears keep your roots in the ground. There are help and support should you choose to seek it, and when you do finally make it across the hills and valleys and oceans in your way, I’m sure you’ll find the life you’ve been searching for waiting for you on the other side.
Submitted by Sharee Lopez
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