Moving away from home has never been something I’ve particularly worried about. I love my family and we’re very close, but I never really get homesick. When I went to university I was a three-hour drive away, so I’d visit every seven weeks and that was fine.
When the time came to apply for jobs following graduation and my journalism exams, the topic of location wasn’t something I thought about.
I already feel incredibly lucky to have got a job through a pandemic, so I wasn’t going to limit my chances by being picky with location. You have to go where the work is – and that’s exactly what I’ve done.
Rewind back to August, I get the call that I’ve been offered a job in Eastbourne – that’s a five-and-a-half-hour drive away, or four hours on the train. It didn’t bother me though, I was just over the moon to have got a job as a reporter, it didn’t matter where it was.
I handed in my notice at the restaurant, and so began the four weeks of prep.
Now I love a list, so of course, the first thing I did was make a list of everything I needed to do before the big move.
Luckily, I managed to move a couple of things around and get two days to go house viewing. Naively, at first, I thought I could get a house sorted all online, but I soon realised (and through my parents telling me) that for a house that I’m spending hundreds on per month, I need to see it in person and get it right. Plus, it was also a good opportunity to see Eastbourne.
I used SpareRoom to find somewhere – showing me a mix of private landlords and agencies.
My priorities for the house were:
- Budget of £550 per month, with all bills included
- Location – Central to town, a nice street
- Bathrooms – I’ve never been someone that demands an en suite, but I didn’t want to end up in a house of six people with just one bathroom, so it just needed enough bathrooms/toilets for people never to be clashing
- Housemates – Similar age to me, a mix of boys and girls, all working
What I learnt from the searching and viewing process was that if you can – go with a private landlord. This isn’t to slate agencies, but my personal experience wasn’t good.
At the end of the day, the private landlord cares more because it is their property. Plus, you have a point of contact should you ever need help with anything – much easier than dealing with a business.
I ended up in a house of six, and within that, there’s a group of four of us that are all a similar age. The house is well kept, and I couldn’t ask for better landlords.
The standout for this house was that it had a living room. So rather than it being converted to another bedroom (which a lot of houses were) I can eat my meals and relax in a room other than my bedroom. When you’re working from home sometimes too – having a change of scenery is a big luxury.
That was obviously the biggest preparation sorted. But here was the rest of my list, covering lots of little tasks that you can forget/avoid.
- Update driving license address
- Car insurance change of address (it is illegal if you don’t change this)
- Sort through my stuff – What I did and didn’t need so that I was only taking what I actually wanted.
- Shopping for work clothes – I have been overdressed before for various placements. I got a clear idea from meeting my boss what I could wear and therefore what I needed.
- Research the area and be ready for the job
- Gym + Dance classes – Get signed up
Then to the actual moving process – what I realised from this was that I hate packing.
I had a big panic of whether I needed a man with a van too. When I laid everything out all packed up and ready to go, it did not look like it would fit in my tiny car. With the determination of my mum though, and the loss of my rear-view mirror – it all fitted!
If I were to do it again, I would invest in some good vacuum packing bags. My issue was that I have a lot of jumpers and coats, so they took up SO MUCH SPACE.
The drive was fine, only one situation of being in the wrong lane and being beeped at. I arrived about 4 pm, met with my landlady to sign final bits of paperwork, and then began the mammoth task of moving it all into my room.
Fast-forward to the next evening. Everything was in its place, I’d done a supermarket shop, and run along the seafront – how scenic!
The next challenge to come was the job itself, and actually setting up a life here – but I’ll save all that for another post.