Big Moves

When I graduated college, I really wanted to venture outside of my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Like a vast majority of people in the US, I grew up in one area and eventually ended up going to college there. Out of the colleges I applied for, it was the only one in Ohio and the only one that was really a great, great school for industrial design, my chosen major. I love Cincinnati, and I am incredibly glad that I grew up there, but it just wasn't where I wanted to be anymore. I felt like I could not grow as a person there, but I did overlook one huge, huge thing. I wanted a job and to move somewhere new so badly, I didn't truly understand the things I would miss and sacrifice when I moved to much smaller city in the city of a state that was very different. Here are the things I learned to consider from my own experience when moving to a new area :

welcome to cincinnati my friends

Amount of People and Density
This will differ vastly person to person, but I love the size of cities like Baltimore and Cincinnati - smaller city areas with huge sprawling suburbs with lots of variety from town to town. I couldn't handle a place like New York City, but at the same time, a small city like Harrisburg was just as hard of an adjustment. I chose to keep with a large metro area. Miami/Ft Lauderdale metro is around 5 million, but the cities themselves are actually fairly small. There are tons of things to do in the suburbs/smaller cities all up and down the coast, and everything is close together without being crowded like New York city. This list of the US metro areas has been a huge help for me in research and understanding the general metro areas versus just a city.

Weather and Geography
I love warm weather and hate snow. Hence why Florida is probably the best choice ever, especially South Florida, but that is for me specifically. Wikipedia is immensely helpful in researching a place because they have a climate section. Look at record highs and lows, as well as the type of climate. Did you know that Hawaii and South Florida (Miami corner) both have tropical climates, and the Miami metro is the only part of the contiguous 48 states that has this climate?

Weird Laws
When I moved to Pennsylvania, I had no idea of their alcohol laws. They are very outdated and make it impossible to do something like buy a beer for soup at the grocery store. (Or beer or wine at the grocery store at all. Or in the same store). There were other things too like additional taxes in certain areas that were killer. Be sure to look up laws in your state before moving and make sure something that you are used to at home is OK there.


Try and spend a little time before you move somewhere. If you can't, like I never have been able to, go sit at the same bar/restaurant two nights in a row. You will see the crowd at two different times and see what it is like. Community is a huge thing - some areas have a great sense of community. Some do not. I never met many people out in public (like when I eat at restaurants or take photos) back in Pennsylvania. No one ventured from their known friends very often, and the community wasn't incredibly active. When I visited my new area, there were many more people out who were all very out going and welcoming. It will completely depend on what you are looking for, but you'll know when you feel great somewhere.

Location, Location, Location
I drew a 5ish mile radius around the World of Beer that Jason and I went to to see about the community (like I talked about above) to find a place to live. The location of where you are going it everything - down the exact pinpoint spot you are in and the things around it. Think about things like :

  • What is the area close to? For instance, in addition to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, I can easily get to family in Orlando and friends in Fort Myers!.
  • What does the area have? If you frequent Target like me, a Target nearby is necessary. Don't underestimate leaving behind something you love in your life.
  • Driving Distances? If you hate driving, finding somewhere with less traffic might be important!

Job Market
This one is huge - and something that we really focused on this time. Central Pennsylvania didn't have the greatest market for design jobs, and Jason and I really needed to find a better place to support our careers. Research employment rates surely, but more importantly, see what the area is good for if you are in a specialty career.

Children and Family
Consider your lifestyle! If you plan to have kids, maybe New York City isn't where you want to raise them. For me, I didn't think Central Pennsylvania was where I wanted my future children to grow up. Having family nearby is important to many people as well. I like that I am nearby two airports, about a 3 hour drive from my in-laws place outside of Orlando, and have the ability to fly to Cincinnati easily (or drive for longer trips).

main street washington

This one is weird, but something to consider. Where are airports nearby? We drove to Baltimore to fly out (an hour and half plus drive from our place in Pennsylvania) because Harrisburg was such a small airport. Many hours that drive it just the closest airport. If you need to fly a lot, say to go home or possibly for work, living near airports is pretty huge. Also major highways! Trust me, after living off a state route and not a major interstate (no US interstate goes through Lancaster, or to it), it's not always the best.

These are only a small amount of things that I learned to consider. Moving a long distance is a huge step - and a hard one. I had to use a moving company for the first time this move and HATED it. My large bourbon collection - the only box that didn't make it, most likely stolen. Fun times guys. Please, if you read this and have any questions about my moves, how I handled something, or anything else, let me know! Tweet @corgiscocktails or e-mail me.


  1. Great post! As someone from western Pennsylvania who moved to rural Ohio (and eventually back to Pa.), I can relate. Alcohol in stores was such an awesome novelty to me! And taxes were so much better in Ohio. But as someone who never lived in a small town before, it was a surprisingly difficult cultural adjustment. I had been extremely used to trees, hills, and amenities of a major city, Pittsburgh. And people in their 20s, at least young professionals, don't seem to exist in small towns.

    It's reassuring to see I'm not the only one who's had moving struggles, and glad to know you're happier in Florida now. :)

  2. You paid attention to every detail and I'm sure it's all due to personal experiences in this big move. Florida sounds very much like my country. Hot and humid and the humidity isn't something I like but we deal with it since we grew up here. Someday I would love to visit Florida as I've heard so much about it. Oh, and definitely go to Disneyworld =D

  3. I am jealous of your ability to just pack up and move! Its a great way to explore new places. I moved to Philadelphia and loved it, but had to move back because I couldn't find a job down there. I just moved to an new apartment last weekend, to a place that takes in account pretty much all of this, and its great! :) YA warm weather!

  4. On first reading this, I was thinking, "I'm not sure any of this seems to apply to my experience" till I realized...wait, it was just the scale that was different. Growing up in an unpopulated area such as Wyoming, my hometown, at about 5,000, is considered medium sized, so the idea of a small city versus a large medium one just flies over my head, but when looking at jobs, I often had to look at teaching on reservations or unencorperated towns (just where the jobs for new teachers tend to be...) and I thought about all those things too...

    A very thoughtful and true post!

  5. I've moved many times already but haven't ever ventured very far from central New Jersey, where I grew up. I think you would have had a completely different experience if you had lived closer to Philly (it's definitely more of that small city/big suburbs feel that you speak of), but I'm happy that you've finally found a place you love enough to call home. We're still searching... my recent trip down south has pretty much convinced me that we need to move to South Carolina or Savannah, Georgia... so we'll see where these next few years will take us :)


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