We Moved Out of State! – May 2017
Boy did we learn a lot. This experience has taught me so much about relationships and expectations and real world big kid stuff. I’m excited to share our travel journal with you.
A Little Backstory:
I’m currently 23 years old and I was born and raised in the beautiful foothills of Colorado! I earned my degree in political science from Colorado State University in Fort Collins last year. My boyfriend of two and a half years, Stephen, moved to Fort Collins from Austin to attend CSU and complete his History degree in the fall of 2013. We moved in together last May and the transition felt incredibly easy and right and we haven’t looked back since.
As the end of our lease loomed in the coming months we decided we needed to make a decision about our future and where we wanted to end up. Our thoughts were pretty much the same: either move to Denver because of the larger job market compared to Fort Collins, or move states completely to a bigger city with more opportunity. We decided on the latter. Our friends had all graduated and were starting to move on to better jobs in different states and we were feeling a little stuck and monotonous doing the same thing day after day. I’m lucky enough to have a job that allows me to work from home, so I can be flexible when big decisions like moving across the country come up. Stephen however, had to do some job hunting…
After weeks of applying for jobs all around the country in cities we were interested in, Charleston, Asheville, Portland, Seattle, Stephen finally got a call back from The Courtyard by Marriott in Pioneer Square Seattle. They asked him for a phone interview the next week, which he nailed, and just like that, we had found our new city.
In the weeks that came after that we began to look at places to rent and areas that we might want to live. This is where things got a little difficult.
As I’m sure some of you have heard, finding rent in a big urban area is notoriously difficult, but Seattle is right up there with New York price-wise and demand-wise. There are tooooons of places for rent but we encountered scam after scam after scam. As two post grad kids with a limited budget and living in another state, we were the perfect targets for sketchy landlords and property companies. We would find a place, love it, inquire, and then get sheisty responses asking us to fill out a personal check for a “deposit” or “application fee” and send it in the mail??? Like?? Luckily we were on the lookout for sketchy requests like this and offers that seemed too good to be true, so we were fortunate enough to not lose money on any scams.
That being said, finding a good place that was real that we liked got harder and harder as the time passed. We were only two weeks away from Stephen’s start date at his new job and we still didn’t have a place to live. We were worried we might not end up getting to move at all if we couldn’t get out there in time, and then on top of that not even have a place to live in Fort Collins as our lease was ending soon. As you can guess I started to have a little bit of panic and began just kicking myself for not being more on top of putting applications (which cost around $40-$60 per occupant that are non refundable which adds up insanely after putting so many in).
One afternoon after I had voiced my fears to Stephen and broken down a bit, he emailed me a link to a loft building in West Seattle that had around 6 studio vacancies. I immediately applied and heard back that our application was accepted THE SAME DAY. I just about threw a party. I was so relieved. A one bedroom would have been our ideal situation just to have more space but our budget was too tight. So we started wrapping our heads around moving into a studio and started getting ready for the move!
How would we get there? That became our number one issue as the date grew closer and closer. We thought, maybe we’ll sell our cars and buy one and drive the new one out there. But after dropping so much money on a place, getting a new or even a used car that would be reliable enough to get us across five states just wasn’t in the cards for us. Especially with such limited time in front of us. So we thought about flying and having our stuff shipped, but that was even more of a hassle to take care of between the two of having so much crap. So, my lovely mother suggested we rent a van and just stuff it and then buy a car later in Washington after we’ve lived there a while. We rented a van for a pretty penny but it was worth it to have our belongings safe and then being car-free upon arrival.
This was a lot harder for me than it was for Stephen. I’m a nester – like on the verge of being a hoarder. I had an entire shipping box full of old tests and papers from freshman year of college. What baffled me most was the fact that that box had made it through four different moves and I somehow didn’t get rid of it?? I threw away So. Much. Stuff. After stuffing the car Stephen still needed to fit his bike and I had to get rid of even more stuff. I ended up leaving behind an entire 60 gallon trash bag of clothes to have it shipped later. Lol. A girl’s gotta have outfit options amiright??
After all the logistical stuff was taken care of with our apartment and our car, we had to actually make the 20 hour trek across the western U.S. to get to our new home. There are three main routes you can take from Colorado to Washington and we chose the less scenic route since we decided to drive through the night. This is when everything started to feel real. We were saying our final goodbyes in the days before the trip and hitting our favorite food spots in Fort Collins before we left. This is when we sat down and discussed how we wanted to approach the move as a couple. Stephen had a big cross country move under his belt from when he moved from Austin to FoCo; so he had a good idea bout how much stuff to bring and how to pack, but neither of us had taken such a big step with a S.O. yet. But we agreed we would roll with the punches and be as communicative as possible so could avoid frustration and arguments during such a stressful time.
When it was my turn to drive we were a little less than halfway through Wyoming. That’s when it started to snow. The sun was going down, flakes were starting to fall, and we were at a complete stand still on i80 in the middle of nowhere Wyoming. At first we took it in stride and giggled about what a silly situation we were in, especially after everything else we’d been through so far. But then, a half hour turned into an hour…then two…and finally after turning off the engine and sitting there for a little over two hours I started o panic. It was already 10pm and we weren’t even out of Wyoming yet. I was worried about driving so late in the snow and wondered if we should get a room for the night. But finally after almost 3 hours of waiting for the accident to clear that had caused the highway closure, cars were starting to move. We were elated, got a second wind and were prepped with our Red Bulls ready to take on the drive through the night. But not even 15 miles down the road there was ANOTHER FUCKING ACCIDENT. I almost lost it. I didn’t think we were ever going to make it to Seattle, it seemed so far off and just impossible. But after another half hour or so of waiting we got out of Wyoming and cruised through the rest of our trek without any hiccups.
Our good friends Nick and Kai live in Portland right now which is amazing for us to have some good humans close by. Nick came up to Seattle to help us unpack the car and see our place. Let me tell you, getting off that elevator and walking into 322 square feet is jarring if you’ve never seen a living space that small. I immediately knew we had too much stuff. The weight of our situation came crashing down on all of us. We were exhausted from driving all night, sleep deprived, hungry, and irritable. So we dumped our shit and did what any sane human being would do. We got wasted.
Stephen, Nick and I decided lunch and beer was in order immediately. We walked down our block, purchased a couple joints from the dispensary (thank gods for legal marijuana) and strolled to the bar. Stephen and I adjusted to how many drinks it takes to catch a buzz at sea level, and explored our neighborhood. We stumbled upon a rock and gem show, hit Pike’s Place Market at snacked our way through the city. By the time we got back the task of unpacking in front us seemed far more doable once we had a chance to distance ourselves from the crap we had been stuffed into a van with for 20 hours previously.
We ended up throwing a lot of stuff out and donating a bunch of stuff we didn’t need. In a space so small you want all your belongings “high and away” so on our second day we immediately bought some shelves and other storage while we still had the rental car. We’ve learned that creating space is essential for studio living. And the sigh of relief we both took when everything was organized and off the floor was huge. We are currently still waiting on a bed to be delivered, and have been sleeping on sleeping pads and sleeping bags until it comes later this week. My back will definitely be thankful for the break.
Looking back now, there are many things we have agreed to differently. Every step in life this big is a learning experience and although parts of it were tough, I am immensely proud of myself and Stephen for how we’ve kept our cool and allowed ourselves to see the silver lining in every aspect of this. Next time I will start house hunting MUCH earlier, we will have our own car, and we will allow ourselves time to see the place we are living before arrive. The city has been incredible to us and our neighborhood in West Seattle is the funkiest, cutest place that we could have ended up at (picture Nashville, Denver, and Austin all mixed into one). So it seems like everything fell into place right where it was supposed to.
I know in 20 years wherever we are in the world we will look back on our “first place in Seattle” and have nothing but happy memories of this huge change in our lives.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post you deserve a fucking trophy. Feel free to follow along our adventures in the PNW on my Instagram @druzyveins