California Dreamin’ – My Tips on Keeping your Sanity while Moving

You may have noticed a little break in this blog for the past three weeks.  Let me show you why:

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To answer your questions:

1) Yes, that is a 20 foot container and yes, that is my husband and I packing it ourselves.  Oh, and yes, it is five feet off the ground with no ramp.  Thanks for asking.

2) Yes, that is our daughter climbing into one of the many boxes we were packing and yes, she is chewing on I don’t know what while in the airport at midnight trying to get to our rental car.

3) Yes, those are our boxes in our new house in La Jolla, waiting to be unpacked.  We were in two vacation rentals while waiting for our house to be ready.  Our container arrived a month ago but was at the dock sitting while we were waiting on our house.

4)  Yes, we are exhausted but extremely happy and excited!  Home is truly where your heart is.


On April 1 we moved from Hawaii to San Diego.  Let me rephrase that…On April 1 we got on a plane and flew from Hawaii to San Diego with no return ticket.  The actual moving had been a six week process before April 1, and has been a six week process since then.  For those of you who move often for work or with the military – I have so much respect for you and what you do!  It’s quite the process!

We chose to make the move to be closer to family while Fiona is young.  It was a very difficult choice because we love Hawaii and have so many wonderful friends and colleagues there.  It will always be a second home to us, and we plan on spending as much time there as possible.  With Harmony having two locations in Hawaii, I will always be back and forth quite a bit!  I’m learning quickly how wonderful San Diego is as well.  I’m pretty sure I’ve chosen the two most beautiful places in the US to spend my time!

I’ve made two huge moves in the last ten years – the first to Hawaii from Denver, the second from Hawaii to San Diego.  In both cases I knew no more than a handful of people and hadn’t visited more than five times.  I had to jump in with both feet – which is kind of how I like to do things anyway 🙂  I am far from a professional mover and don’t have much advice on how to pack boxes, organize for a move or live out of a suitcase.  What I have picked up are some tips on how to make the most out of being in a new place and finding your footing while there:

1) Get magazine and blog subscriptions for your new city a few months before moving there

Most major cities have their own magazine or publication that talks about monthly events, new restaurant openings, community organizations, etc…There are also a lot of blogs now that discuss the same thing.  I ordered San Diego magazine four months before we moved so we could receive it in Hawaii.  It allowed me to start to get to know the community and mark some things I wanted to do when we got here.  It also lets you become familiar geographically with the city and the “personality” of the area you are moving to.  Avoid the travel websites and books.  They are marketing to tourists.  You are NOT a tourist – you are a local 🙂  Learn what the locals know.

2) Connect with anyone you might know there – or anyone you know who might know someone there!

This is not the time to be shy or self-conscious.  There is one thing we needed pretty quickly when we moved here – a pediatrician.  I really didn’t want to pick one out of  phone book.  I want personal recommendations.  So many friends in Hawaii said, “Oh my _____ lives there!  I’ll send you her info!” before we left.  Well, I took them up on it.  I introduced myself by text and email and asked for recommendations.  When we met people in the park with kids I asked who their pediatrician was.  I reached out to clients from Harmony who moved here in the past couple years and let them know we were here.  The conversation starts with the recommendations, and usually moves into other areas.  Before you know it, you are learning about a new awesome bar down the street or free jazz at the beach on Saturdays!  It might not be your cup of tea or in your comfort zone, but make yourself do it.  You don’t have to commit to dinner and a movie – you are just starting a conversation 🙂

3) Prioritize what you need to feel comfortable

I am a creature of habit and I like to have a schedule.  I like to know what to expect and to be in control.  Coming to a new city, with a young daughter, running a business from home, while in a short term rental without any of our things – this does not define control for me.  I missed Hawaii and our community there a lot the first two weeks, and a big part of that was because it was comfortable.  It’s what I knew.  So as quickly as possible I became familiar with three things I personally need to feel stable and balanced:

I learned the local grocery stores and farmer’s markets.  One of my greatest priorities is having good and healthy food for myself and our family.  I got tired of take out really quickly!  Once I knew where I could get our favorite coffee creamer, where the best avocados were and who had the humanely raised eggs, I felt like this place was more my home.

I walked…a lot.  Fiona and I walk every morning together.  In Hawaii we had a certain route and walked it every day.  She still wanted to walk, so I wanted to find a great path we could take that had views and felt safe for a stroller.  It gave me normalcy to do our daily walk, and allowed me to start to find hidden parks and playgrounds along the way.  I felt more ownership over our neighborhood and learned the street names.  I still get lost, but not as much!

I created my workout space.  From day one, my husband and I discussed who would work out when during the day.  I had my scheduled time, and figured out either the closest gym or fitness class for the day.  If I’m constantly questioning where I will work out, I won’t do it.  I need to have a plan and place ahead of time so I can just throw on my shoes and go.  Some days that meant just going into the next room and onto my mat.  It didn’t matter as long as I had that time.

Your priorities might be different.  Maybe you need to find a daycare or the right school for your kids.  Maybe live music is important and you need to find the best venue.  Or who has the best sushi (found that one already :), or the best beers on tap, or the best beaches.  Pick a few things that feel like YOU and get them set up for yourself.

There are a lot of logistics and emotions involved with moving.  I miss Hawaii every day, and that’s ok.  It doesn’t mean I wish we were back there or that I’m not excited to be here.  It means we had a great eight years there and it’s time for our next adventure!  Each day I find something else I love about our new location.  Be patient with yourself and your family during the transition.  You will be comfortable in your new surroundings, but it might take a little time.  Be open to new things, while also sticking to the things that are important to you in your routine.

Thank you for being patient with me during this time!  Now that we are settled (and I have my computer from the container and dock jail) I’ll be back online 🙂

Be Healthy,




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