Your search for the right place to move is like the TV adventure show Treasure Quest. The show follows a team of treasure hunters through remote and treacherous terrain on their search for lost Inca gold. Because their expedition is so perilous, they are accompanied by a local guide who helps them to safely navigate the hidden pitfalls on their path – from teeming schools of hungry piranha to deadly venomous snakes and tarantulas.
While you don’t have to worry about getting eaten by piranha (fortunately!) the threats lying in wait on your path can still sidetrack and even derail your search for place to move if you’re not careful. Like the local guide, I can help you avoid these pesky pitfalls so you can smoothly and confidently navigate your search and find the place you’re meant to be.
There are 3 hidden pitfalls lurking along your search path. But, they are only dangerous so long as they remain hidden. By shining the spotlight on them here, you’ll know the perils to watch for and how to keep them from sabotaging your search.
Pitfall #1: Confusing assumptions with fact
Making assumptions can be detrimental to your search for a place to move. This is particularly easy to do when you’re thinking about moving to place that’s vastly different from what you’re used to – like moving from the country to a suburb or from a big city to a small town. It’s natural to make assumptions. You just want to be careful not to act on them before double-checking their accuracy. The success of your move rides on it!
I speak from experience. A life-long city girl, I made a lot of wildly-unfounded assumptions about what small town life was like. I blanketly assumed small towns were more affordable, safe, friendly, and quiet than cities. When I imagined living in a small town, I envisioned a (fictional) place like Mayberry or Bedford Falls.
I blindly embraced the romanticized ideal of life in a small town without stopping to consider the realities that, as a city person, are pretty stark. The total lack of anonymity. The cliquishness. The high cost of basic services like water and garbage. The need to drive everywhere. Limited food and entertainment options.
Looking back, I see how mixed up my thinking was. But I was so convinced my assumptions were right at the time, I didn’t bother fact-checking or meaningfully vetting the town we’d picked out. By the time we realized we’d made a life-altering decision based on shaky assumptions, it was too late.
When you rely on assumptions to guide where to decide to move, it’s like building a skyscraper on quicksand. The key to building a solid foundation for a successful search is to focus on factual information and first-hand observations and experiences, which is exactly what the Find Your Happy Place program helps you do.
Pitfall #2: Relying too heavily on outside sources
We’re able to find the answers to so many of our questions online. Breaking news? Check. Movie trivia? Check. The definition of a word? Check. And the list goes on. So, it’s understandable that our first impulse is to consult the internet with the question, “Where should I move?”.
The problem is, you might as well consult a Magic 8 ball. That’s because you won’t find the right answers by listening to other people. It doesn’t matter if they are strangers online or close friends and family members.
Rather than looking outside yourself, start by turning inward. That’s where you’ll find the answers that will lead you to the place you’re meant to be. The right time to venture online is after you’ve articulated and prioritized the features you need a place to have, because you then have the criteria you need to anchor and focus your research.
As your guide, I help you gather and organize your search criteria and focus your online research on sites that will give you just the facts. By taking a deliberate, pro-active approach to your online research, you’ll be able to breeze through it all and avoid getting caught up in the rampant noise and distractions that can pull your search off-course.
Pitfall #3: Pulling the wool over your own eyes
Self-awareness is your best friend as you search for a place to move. This sounds simple enough, but it requires a surprising amount of discipline and vigilance to stay true to yourself as you navigate your search. And, like making assumptions, your mind is especially apt to play tricks on you when you’re contemplating a drastic move.
It’s easy to romanticize about life in the country when you’re dealing with gnarly big-city traffic and high costs of living. But, if city life is all you’ve ever known, you’ll want to focus on the realities of country life. Will your needs be met living in the country? Are you suited to that lifestyle? Could you live comfortably and happily without easy access to GrubHub, or high-speed internet, or live entertainment?
Ask yourself what features a place needs to have to support the life you want. What’s negotiable? What’s non-negotiable? What do you value most of all? Your honest answers to these questions will help to put your search on the path to success.
Each of these pitfalls is a subtle variation on the same theme. When you don’t take time for introspection and instead charge full-speed ahead with your search, you put the integrity of your search at risk and open up the possibility of making a move you’ll regret. But when you allow time for reflection, you know your decision will be in line with your priorities, so you can move forward with purpose and certainty.
Have you encountered any of these hidden pitfalls in your search? Have you had other difficulties with your search that aren’t mentioned here? What are they and how have you managed them? Please share your search experiences in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org