What I’ve Learned Recently: Moving Edition

What I’ve Learned Recently: Moving Edition

As much as I enjoy gleaning new information from books, podcasts, and other third-party sources, there is no place like the school of life for amassing serious wisdom, and a big life change provides particularly fertile ground for cultivating new knowledge. For this month’s What I Learned post and linkup, rather than sharing my usual hodgepodge of trivia and random aha moments, I’m reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learned over these past few months of finding a new home and relocating to a brand new state. From painful to exhilarating, these recent revelations have certainly been filling up my wisdom tank!

What I Learned Moving Edition

On our week-long house-hunting trip to Austin, I learned:

  • Flying with a 1-year-old doesn’t have to be a terrible experience! Here are a few things I learned from our experience of flying with a toddler:
    • Wheeling a stroller all the way to the gate, rather than checking it with the rest of the luggage, makes it much easier to navigate an airport.
    • Keeping the car seat with you on the plane guarantees that your family of three will have your own row on a (partially booked Southwest) flight.
    • Should you choose not to bring the car seat into the cabin (as we did on our first flight), nursing your baby in the aisle seat the minute you sit down is another easy way to deter a third passenger from joining your row. (<—While effective, this tactic is not for the easily embarrassed!)
  • It is possible to find “the perfect home” to rent within just a few days; a good realtor definitely helps.
  • Regardless of how much disinfecting you do, no number of antibacterial wipes can completely safeguard your child from catching a cold on the plane.

Flying to Austin

Through the moving process itself, I learned:

  • Boxing up an entire house, especially with a toddler underfoot, is miserable.
  • Saying goodbye is really, really hard. There will be tears involved.
  • Driving across several states in just a couple of days is exhausting. Fueling up on sugar and caffeine makes the I-can’t-possibly-stay-awake-any-longer situation even worse.
  • Hiring movers makes the moving process much more tolerable, but. . .
    • It increases the likelihood of things breaking in the move (our list of casualties included several pieces of my formal dishes, a few vases, an antique dresser, and the walls in our new house’s stairwell).
    • It also may mean that you spend a few weeks in your new home without all of your personal possessions. However. . .
  • Living in an empty house has its perks:
    • You realize how few of your belongings are true necessities.
    • It gives you a chance to become familiar with your new neighborhood before having to deal with unpacking.
    • You buy some time with your house to think about how you will arrange your furniture, organize your pantry, etc., before your items clutter up your living space and your judgment.
Charlie had zero problems living in an empty house; more room for pushing around his beloved trashcan!
Charlie had zero problems living in an empty house; more room for pushing around his beloved trashcan!

During our two months living in Texas, I’ve been learning:

  • Living in a new place is exciting! It’s fun to experience your surroundings through fresh eyes, and a change of scenery allows you to look at the world in an entirely new way.
  • Moving to a state where you know almost nobody can be lonely, even for an introvert.
  • Making new friends is hard, and established groups of mom friends can be very cliquey. However, I am also realizing that:
    • This behavior is probably unintentional.
    • I’ve likely acted similarly in the past.
    • I need to be proactive about being inclusive to newcomers in the future.
  • Creating an entirely toddler-friendly household, complete with bare tabletops, baby gates, and even some totally empty rooms, is inconvenient and visually unappealing, but it allows for much less stress, cleaning up, and child-induced annoyances.
  • Lowering one’s expectations—about a house, a room’s organization, or even the timeline for building new friendships—can exponentially increase personal satisfaction with one’s living situation.
  • Living in an actual house, especially one with two stories, will make you feel like you have finally reached adulthood in a way that even marriage and motherhood were unable to accomplish. (Okay, this one might just be me. But I’ve never felt quite so “adult” as I do climbing up our very own set of stairs.)


A few things I’ve learned about Austin, Texas:

  • All of my preconceived stereotypes about Texas were WRONG! There are no cacti and very few cowboys, and while people do say “y’all,” they mostly do so without a southern accent.
  • Toll roads are confusing, annoying, and apparently unavoidable.
  • HEB is practically the only grocery store, and it’s everywhere. Which is fine, because it happens to be a pretty awesome store.
  • Target, Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, and a number of my other favorite hangouts are exactly the same in Texas as they were in California. Wahoo’s is not. (And yet I still have manged to convince Luke to eat there with me on quite a few occasions.)
  • The acres of bare trees lining the road in February are not the aftermath of a devastating fire but are, in fact, the natural state taken by foliage in places that have seasons.
  • Forget everything you thought you knew about thunderstorms. The storms here prove that everything really is bigger—MUCH BIGGER—in Texas!
  • Spring in Texas is incredible, and you will find yourself saying “it is so GREEN here” at least ten times every day.

Cedar Park Poppies

Have you ever made a cross-country move? What were some things you learned in the process? If you are a fellow Texan, do you have any words of wisdom to offer me as we continue to settle into our new home?

  • Bekah

    I just moved {this month!} for the first time in my adult life and it was quite an adventure! I didn’t move cross country like you did, but I am enjoying exploring my new town and discovered, like you, how little it takes to ACTUALLY survive – when all the extra stuff is still packed up. Having said that, I’m enjoying being in an unpacked home. We still have one room {“the room of horror,” I call it} where all the yet-to-be-homed items reside. It’s the guest room, eventually, so we just pull the door shut and go on. SO sorry to read about all your casualties. YIKES!!!!!!

    • This was my first move too, other than just moving across town. I’ve decided that everyone should do it at least once, just because it is such an eye-opening experience. Glad you are enjoying your new town!

  • sandraj

    I really enjoyed your post…..the ups (your first own home’s staircase!) and the downs (lowering expectations can increase personal satisfaction – love that thought). Blessings to you! Glad we connected at Emily’s today.

  • We made a cross country move last August from Dallas, Texas to North Carolina…it has definitely been extremely difficult as we left family and our community back in TX — however, it’s been a great time of growth and has pushed my husband and I out of our comfort zones. I would say — give yourself a lot of grace and know it takes time to really feel at all “settled”. Sometimes I still feel like we are vacationing and housesitting some other families’ house. 🙂 Also — reach out and get involved in church or the community — because it definitely can feel very isolating (I’m an introvert too and that surprised me a bit!). Best wishes to y’all as you get settled! Enjoyed reading about what you are learning through the challenges!

    • I’m glad your experience has been a positive one. Thanks for the tips! We are doing our best to get involved; we’ve tried 7 churches but haven’t found the best fit yet. We’ve been attending lots of other community activities as well so I’m hopeful that will lead to some deeper connection.