Moving is always an adventure, even if it’s just across town. And I’m no stranger to packing up and hauling it half-way across the country. I grew up in New Hampshire, went to college in Massachusetts, and then migrated to Illinois for grad school with a U-Haul full of possessions and a key to my first place. I’d flown out to Chicagoland twice before I moved: once to tour the chemistry department at NIU and once to find an apartment. I didn’t have any friends or family in the Midwest, but I was ready for a change in scenery and the challenge that being completely self-sufficient brought.
What was supposed to be a temporary move to the Midwest became more permanent. I met my husband, graduated, started a career, married, bought a house, had a baby. I left NH thinking I’d return to the East Coast in 5 or so years, and ending up staying in Illinois for over a decade.
Recently, my husband was offered an amazing job opportunity in Southern California, and we made the bold and exciting decision to relocate there. And while I’m embarking on another massive migration west, it’s a bit different this time. I’ve never been to California. We don’t have a place to live when we get there. Before it was just me and my hand-me-down furniture. Now, we have a house to sell and a small menagerie to relocate: a toddler, an elderly cat, and two beagles.
Suddenly, I found myself sorting through books and clothes and boxes, trying to decide what to keep, donate, or toss. I discovered Varagesale. We sold our couch and bed. The inflatable mattress we’d planned on using wouldn’t inflate, so my husband and I slept on patio cushions on the floor -our version of indoor glamping.
We were told that the earliest the movers could get to us was mid-May, so we were more than surprised to get less than a week’s notice that the moving company was coming to pack us up. On Tuesday morning, the movers arrived to bundle up our life. By Thursday, the house was empty of all but dust-bunnies and memories. I walked though the house and cried bittersweet tears. We’d had our first Thanksgiving and Christmas there. My son learned to walk and talk there. Now, the painters are filling in the nail holes and covering the walls in a fresh coat of paint.
My husband starts his new job in May, and the rest of us have temporarily moved in with my father-in-law while we get the house ready to sell and search for a new place to live. The transition won’t be easy. We don’t know how long our family will be separated. And one can only hope that after 3 months of constant phone calls, Comcast will finally hook up Internet to my father-in-law’s house.
I won’t lie. It’s daunting – to decide to leave the familiar for the unknown. But I am ready for a new adventure. I am ready to explore more of the world. I am ready for the great unknown.