Welcome! I'm Katie Toomey, a freelance video editor living here in Los Angeles, CA. I started this “Get Moving” interview series in what feels like a long overdue fashion. After having many approach me about my own moving blog and how helpful it was to have another experience to read about or relate to, it sparked me to interview others in our industry who have made a move somewhere for their own work.
My aim is to help broaden the reach to share these stories for others out there, like me, who wanted to hear more perspectives to help build confidence, to relate to planning worries and execution woes, and to understand the struggles and even successes more fully.
This series will hopefully help you gain wisdom to be better informed when and if taking that risk and leap for yourself.
I myself have made a rather large move (the biggest I've ever done to date) moving from the East coast in NC to the West coast to LA just last year. I wrote my “East to West Coast Moving Adventure” on Creative Cow very soon afterwards to document the process. I've been living in LA ever since. All these experiences will combine to make a collective resource that anyone can access - from any where, at any time. If you don’t know anyone who’s done this sort of thing, it can feel very isolating and impossible to manage on your own. You shouldn’t have to face this alone - and now, you won’t have to.
Ravi Kiran // Assistant Editor, Vertical Networks // @RavingtonPost
Ravi was born in NY, and when he was 2 or 3 years old, his family moved to Dallas, TX, where he grew up. Next, he moved to LA about two years ago. He’s currently an assistant editor, but also has one foot in the production world, and he enjoys going back and forth. Ravi is also a comedian, and says “Please don’t ask me to tell you a joke.”
MAIN MOVING BACKGROUND
Three days. One car filled with stuff. Lots of snacks.
Katie: What event or situation sparked the move?
Ravi: There wasn’t a specific event. I grew in in Dallas and wanted to move to LA for a while, so when I was able to move, I figured it was now or never.
Can you tell us some of the ways that the new area(s) differs from some of the other places you've lived or the last place you lived? What is similar and different for you? What do you like and dislike about your new area?
The weather is much better in LA! It doesn’t typically get as hot or as cold as back home. Things are more expensive out here, especially rent. I had my own place back home, and now I have a roommate. And I hate the traffic here, though it could be pretty bad back home too.
The areas I’ve lived in in LA are way more walk-able than where I grew up. I like being able to see the mountains or go to the beach. And there are so many incredible things to do here. Tons of great events going on here all the time.
How did you begin to prepare for the move?
I got rid of a lot of stuff, and I lived at my mom’s place for a few months before moving.
What did you use to help plan your route? Did you fly, drive, or otherwise teleport to your new location?
I drove. I used Google Maps. I printed my driving directions in case I ran into spotty cell phone service on the road. I knew I wanted to stop in Albuquerque and at the Grand Canyon, so I planned my trip accordingly, then booked my hotel online.
Do you have any packing tips and tricks for us?
Using clothes to pack breakables is a great tip! I’m stealing that for my next move.
(Editor’s Note: Cheeky! I include this tip in my line of questioning because a) it’s awesome and 3) it never struck me before it was pointed out to do it — thus I deliver this packing hack to your brilliant little minds. Pack your breakables in leftover sweaters, pajamas, shirts, use socks rolled into balls as “fillers”, etc.)
I downsized my clothes and movies/books/music as much as possible. I brought the bare amount of dishes and silverware I thought I’d need, and I figured I could buy more locally, if I needed it. I only brought the essentials at the time, and I started bringing other things on subsequent trips. One tip is to not be like me and have a gigantic collection of movies, music, and books! Nothing will make you want to throw your possessions into a dumpster like moving.
What sort of challenges did you face trying to save or come up with the budget needed?
All my moving costs were on me. I stayed for a few months before my move, so I could save up a little more money. And I stayed with a friend when I got to LA. I contributed to the rent, but it was less than what real rent would have been.
Thankfully I didn’t have any major unexpected expenses around the time I moved.
What would you -not- recommend cutting costs on when considering a move?
If you are driving long distances, do yourself a favor and look for a quality hotel. You don’t have to stay at the Ritz Carlton, but if you have stuff in your car you want to feel safe parking your car there, and you will want to have a good night’s sleep on your way. (Editor’s Note: Hard agree. Experienced the other side of this, it wasn’t worth it.)
If you are using movers, you may have to pay a little more for the assurance that your stuff will get to your destination intact, or at all. Which is not to say that you can’t alternately use services like Bus Freighter, which are cheaper than traditional moving companies or PODS. Do your research and make sure they’re the right fit for you and your stuff.
What were some of the advantages/disadvantages to working within your time and budget limits? Did you have a long time to plan out or did you have to move fast?
I didn’t have a deadline imposed on me, so I had to pick a time to move. Working within a budget helps you realize what you need and don’t need to spend money on. I kind of wish I had saved up a little more, but I reached a point where I just wanted to move already, and I’d saved enough.
If budget was no limit, what conveniences would you have liked to use or were you able to incorporate into your move that you would suggest others try using, if they can?
I might have shipped my car and used a moving service to move stuff, so I could fly out. Then I enjoyed the drive, so maybe I’d still do it.
How did you mentally prepare for the move?
I visited LA a few months before I moved there. I talked to friends who were in LA about what life really was like there, what the current and past job market was like, and even spent time in LA to make sure I wanted to move there first.
Sometimes, an area seems right for you on paper or by other experiences, but it is good if you have an opportunity to visit the place you’re moving to and assess if it’s right for your lifestyle. In the mean time while back at my job, I organized things and made sure everything was ready to be handed over to someone else.
What is something you absolutely could not live without in the new area/place? Your hard line of "I'm not moving unless..." moment.
I don’t know if I had any deal breakers, but I really did not want to worry about parking in my new neighborhood. And thankfully it (mostly) worked out that way, where I first lived when I got here.
Did you ever find yourself at a low point and feeling like giving up or saying no the opportunity? Were there any times that people tried to talk you out of it or alternately were they supportive and helped you stay focused/encouraged?
Nobody specifically tried to talk me out of moving. Even if they didn’t want me to go, they were supportive and understood why I had to go.
How does managing all this have an effect on your sleeping, physical health, and your mental health, do you think?
I was sleeping on a friend’s couch for most of my time here so far, so the sleep I was getting wasn’t amazing. But I did try to make time for fun and to hang out with friends, and to generally explore the city. Also, I started exercising more. I had one or two really dark moments, which I got through by telling myself that everyone goes through a tough time in this city, and that things will be okay.
It was a HUGE help that some of my best friends already live here, and that I had some more friends who moved here only a few weeks before I did. We could all adjust to being in a new city together. Having that support network laid out made all the difference in encouraging good mental health.
How do you know the difference between moving worries that can be researched or worked through or a generally bad decision/bad outcome risk? Can you even know that difference?
There are concrete factors that you can research, but there are some things you have to experience for yourself, either through a visit to the new city (if possible), or through living there for a little while. Everyone has different tolerances for what they’ll put up with in a city. Know your own.
THE MOVE ITSELF
I stopped at the Grand Canyon on the way, and it’s stunning.
Overall I enjoyed the drive from Dallas to LA. It was nice to just drive and listen to all sorts of music and podcasts, without any specific timelines or responsibilities.
AFTER THE MOVE
How long did it take to settle into your new place in your new area? In new job duties?
I was living in a friend’s living room, so I had much less space than before that I needed to adjust to.
My schedule varied wildly for a little while. I occasionally had some freelance work from my previous job, but that wasn’t full-time. I spent a lot of time applying for jobs! The job hunt itself can fill your days until something comes through.
What's your unpacking and getting situated process like?
There wasn’t much unpacking. I was essentially living out of a couple of suitcases.
Did you feel homesick ever or miss your old town? If so, how do you deal with those feels?
I didn’t miss my old town, but I did miss my family and close friends. I talked with some people from back home on the phone pretty regularly, and others I kept in touch with on Facebook.
if you arrived 'hot' to town without a job, how did you manage to find work? -OR- If you came to your new area with a job in tow, how did that go?
I had a little bit of freelance work occasionally coming in from my previous job back home. I saved up enough so that I wasn’t completely screwed if I didn’t immediately find work.
Networking was absolutely crucial for me. I’ve gotten quite a bit of work (including my current job) through someone I met at Blue Collar Post Collective. I’ve also made friends through networking events and whatnot, so networking isn’t just for trying to get work.
What opportunities do you have available to you now? Do you find you have less work opportunities?
I’ve gotten opportunities to work on some really cool projects that I wouldn’t have gotten to work on back home. And there are so many great panel discussions, classes, mixers, screenings, etc. out here. I’m learning so much.
How has moving changed your life, for better or worse or in-between/uncertain?
Moving has definitely changed my life for the better. It’s been a huge learning experience, and I feel like I’m pushing myself personally and professionally. Now I know I can adjust to a new city, in a new environment. And I didn’t want to ever regret not trying it, nor did I want to stay in my hometown my whole life.
Research as much as possible, but allow for the fact that you can’t research everything. Know that it will definitely be a major adjustment. It might take a year or two to feel at home.
Remember that it’s an adventure! Even if you’re nervous or have worries about find a job, etc. make time to explore the city and to have fun.