Moving Cross Country: What I’ve Learned

Obviously I’m not the first person to move across the country, but I figured I’d share my infinite wisdom some stuff I learned and random things I’m dealing with with those of you who may be moving. Or trying to decide if you should move. Our situation was different in that we had about 2 days to make a decision and a week until we (well, Brendan) had to be here, so it was a crazy whirlwind of time in which I had little-to-no time to make a plan of attack.

When you move from the east coast to California:

  • Don’t forget to pack a box of stuff you’ll need as soon as you get there. (This is probably common knowledge but I totally didn’t prepare.) Bring it in your car (or luggage) AKA NOT the moving truck, because the moving truck takes 6 freaking weeks to get here. Don’t be an idiot like me and have to go buy new towels just to shower. Thankfully my Mom sent us some shiny new pots and pans (thanks Mom!) or we would have been eating out every night (or spending money unnecessarily). Recommended items: towels, cooking supplies, an air mattress with sheets, coffee machine, bottle opener. The necessities.

The glorious day our stuff was delivered. (Play your cards right and you can eat on real plates THE WHOLE TIME you’re waiting.) And yes, that is “Friends” seasons 1-10 in the background.

  • The drive is absolutely gorgeous. Stop in cities you’ve wanted to visit and enjoy your time there. Very rarely does one decide to fly to Utah and drive west through the middle-of-nowhere mountains (or maybe people do, who knows) so it truly was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I would absolutely never have seen what we saw  if we hadn’t done this drive.
driving through utah

This doesn’t even do it justice. Just go get in your car now and drive to Utah.

  • I’m still constantly calculating the time difference between here and there. I think about what I would be doing if I were back there. I have serious FOMO about EVERYYYYTHING. (Even watching the Today Show makes me feel like I’m missing out. IT’S NOT LIVE IN CALIFORNIA. And neither was the New Year’s Eve ball drop. WTF.)
  • Everything I do feels SO BRAND NEW. There are MOUNTAINS. And the beach. And 17 different weather forecasts for one city.
big bear lake

Snow in the mountains, 75 degrees in the valley. 65 degrees on the coast. I CAN’T KEEP UP.

  • I’ve begun taking my tolerance for cold as a badge of honor. I may or may not occasionally taunt someone who calls 50 degrees cold. I laugh in the face of the people wearing earmuffs to run in 60 degree weather. (I REALLY SAW THIS. I only laughed internally though, I’m not that malicious.) Still, I get excited when I can wear jackets and sweaters because it’s like a whole new world-robe. (HAHA THAT WAS AN ALADDIN JOKE WITH A PLAY ON “WARDROBE” DO YOU GET IT? NO? Okay.)
  • Some friends who are enduring winter weather yell at me because of my abundance of sunshine.  As in, how dare I say I miss New Jersey because it’s WARM WHERE I LIVE. (Does that sound bratty? I’MSORRYILOVEYOU!) But FYI a wise man named David J. Matthews once sang “it’s not where but who you’re with that really matters. Even though we’re in the sunshine that doesn’t take away the pain of missing our family and friends. With that being said, thank GOD I’m here with Brendan. Just please allow me to share my feelings without the accusation of not appreciating what I have. (But really I’ll let it slide, I know winter makes people rage-y. We can be friends again in June when everyone is happy.) Thank you, the end.
marina del rey boats

I’m sorry I post beachy pictures while you’re freezing. This is just my way of telling you to come visit.

  • I love that people here wear workout clothes as real clothes. This is my favorite thing about California because hello, workout-clothes-as-real-clothes is my jam. (It’s in my Twitter profile for heaven’s sake.) If you’re coming here, stock up on yoga pants.
  • On that note, I often wonder who the people are that are taking yoga classes at 9:30 AM on a Tuesday. What do they do in life because I also want to be taking yoga classes at 9:30 AM on a Tuesday. Althoughhhh…I now have a job that allows me to do that on some days and my mind is blown because I am now that person.
  • And lastly, the answer to the question I’m sure you’re all asking: NO the traffic is definitely not as bad as they say it is in LA. (Well, if you’re coming from NYC…if you’re coming from Iowa then that might be a different story because our traffic was just tractors.) Someone once told me Los Angeles people (Angelenos?) complain about the traffic because they don’t have the weather to complain about. Who knows.


I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. January 8, 2015 / 8:00 pm

    I really like your tips! Some of them apply no matter where you’re moving. We moved to another city in our state but having the “essentials” box really helped- the box that we had in our car and opened first because it took 2 weeks for us to get around to unpacking EVERYTHING.

    I’m with you on 9:30 AM yoga. A lot of the studios here have classes then and my gym has group fitness then- and at first I always wondered who went. Supposedly a lot of the people are stay at home moms whose kids are in school or mother’s morning out, and they can drop the kids off and head there. But for me, it has to be early in the morning before work or either after work.

    • Lindsey Smith
      January 8, 2015 / 8:05 pm

      I just love you to pieces. Kara with a “K”

  2. January 9, 2015 / 2:32 am

    So awesome!!! I laugh at the people that have big jackets on here when it is 50 degrees. 50 degrees I think is the perfect running weather!! :) I can’t believe you guys had to wait 6 weeks for your moving van….what the hell could have taken so long!!!!

  3. January 11, 2015 / 3:36 am

    When we moved to Austin, I packed our pillows wayyy in the back (or I guess front…), either way, they were buried deep so we had to run to Walmart to get pillows… otherwise no sleep for us. Hahah.

    I can’t help but roll my eyes at people who complain about “cold” weather. Sorry, but it’s not cold until you have to walk ALL DAY in -35 degree weather.

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