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What It’s Really Like to Move Across the Country

February 20, 2018

I’ll never forget that February Friday night back in 2013. Will came home from work and had barely said “Hi” before spitting out, “What would you think about moving to Sacramento?” Umm….. what?! I really didn’t know what to think, but I do remember I told him that we should seriously consider it. Actually, I’m […]

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I’ll never forget that February Friday night back in 2013. Will came home from work and had barely said “Hi” before spitting out, “What would you think about moving to Sacramento?” Umm….. what?! I really didn’t know what to think, but I do remember I told him that we should seriously consider it. Actually, I’m still pretty surprised that I said that. I’m a homebody at heart and had lived in Illinois my entire life. But I also knew that if we didn’t move at that time in our lives, we never would. So after a few months of visiting the area and lots of discussion, we packed up our lives and moved 2,043 miles away.

Let me just start off by saying that moving that far away from home is HARD. However, one thing that really drew us to be comfortable moving is that I have a few family members that live in the Bay Area and Sonoma (each just over an hour away), so we knew that we could be with family fairly easily. And that’s proven to be true. We love spending holidays with them and being able to see them so much more than when we lived in Illinois. They have welcomed us into their lives with open arms, and that has proven to be invaluable as we have navigated this journey over the last five years.

But other than those few family members outside of Sacramento, we didn’t know a single soul in our new city. And let me be honest – finding friends in a new city is way more difficult when you’re not in school or working. While my husband had a job (the reason that we moved here), I had quit my job as a teacher and was faced with a teaching market that was in a serious crisis. I decided to take time to figure out what I wanted to do, which ultimately meant I spent a lot of time at home and socializing with the Target checkout woman. Not long after we moved, we joined a boot camp class and many of our friends are ones we’ve met through that class. In addition, Will joined an ultimate frisbee league and we met several couples there as well. It’s been a slower process, but after about a year and a half (or even closer to two years), we felt like we really had true, close friends in Sacramento.

While finding friends and our place in the city was difficult, moving also challenged us as a couple in ways we didn’t know we needed. As we met in high school and lived in Chicago near our parents, we had never had a period of time where we were truly on our own. Having to set up an apartment and a life here without any physical support was tough. But we actually had so much fun figuring it out together. We got to explore a whole new city and find new interests. We traveled around Northern California discovering places that we never would have visited had we not lived here. And we found a new trust in each other and ourselves.

It takes a lot to move across the country and away from everything you’ve known your whole life. But I will say without a shadow of a doubt that it was the right decision for us. We told ourselves that we were going to stay for two years so that we could really try and see if we liked it. Well, it’s been almost five years and we are definitely rooted here for the time being.

When we were discussing whether we were going to move, I remember asking Will, “In 15 years when we have kids that are old enough to understand risk and regret, do you want to tell them that we stayed in Chicago because we were comfortable or that we took a chance and tried something out of our comfort zones even if we failed?” All these years later, I’m so proud that we will be able to tell Henry that we took the risk.

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I'm Kathleen, your new friend, storyteller, and cheerleader.

Once upon a time, I was a classroom teacher. But after moving from Chicago to California, I switched gears and turned my love of photography into a business! Now I'm combining the two and loving every second of it!

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