Tips for Settling In After a PCS Move
How exciting! It’s time for new places and new experiences. It’s time to reinvent yourself and to make the most of living in a new place. It’s time to explore what your new home has to offer you and your family.
So, let’s talk about settling into a new area after a PCS and how to make the most of it.
Be a Tourist in Your New City
I don’t know about you, but my mindset when I am living in a place is a little different from when I am visiting a city or state for a limited period of time. Especially when you’re waiting for household goods to arrive, take the opportunity to approach your new area as if you were a tourist.
Visit a local Visitor’s center or Chamber of Commerce to pick up copies of maps and ask about coupons and discounts – it’s a great way to find out about the local attractions and homegrown businesses. Be intentional about visiting local museums and galleries (even the smallest town seems to have something like this) before life takes over. Even if you don’t get to everything in the first few months, by visiting some of the local gems, you will know where to take visitors and find out about upcoming events!
Meet Your Neighbors
Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Not only is this a great way to figure out your bearings, there’s something about approaching a new place with a sense of curiosity and maybe even a little bit of wonder. Ask neighbors about neighborhood social media groups or where to find out what’s happening locally.
One of our new neighbors brought over a fruit plate when we moved in to our latest house – it was an awesome variation on the “baked goods” plate! In many communities, it doesn’t hurt to hang out on your front porch or garden in the afternoons and meet your neighbors with a hello and a handshake. Being friendly, even if you’re introvert, can go a long way to building relationships!
Join a Local Service Organization
One of the reasons I recommend military families consider joining an international service organization (including Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, and other organizations) is that you have a great way to connect with the leaders of the local community wherever you go.
It’s also a great way of finding where you can get plugged in and find out about local happenings. Seriously, I have found an accountant, a hair dresser, a dentist, and a Realtor through visiting a service organization meeting shortly after arrival!
Be Brave and Try New Things
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had time? Moving to a new area can provide you with a great opportunity to reset your expectations and time commitments. Maybe there’s something in your new area that you’ve never been able to see or try before! Step out and be brave!
Compile a Bucket List
One way to help you move beyond overwhelm into a place of curiosity and adventure is to create a bucket list of experiences, attractions, places to visit, and things you want to achieve during this assignment.
This is an activity that kids can be involved in, and you can look further afield than the city where you find yourself and perhaps look at the state (or country if OCONUS) where you find yourself. There’s something awesome about crossing things off a bucket list! It can also help you stay focused on fun things when life is at full steam.
Give Yourself Time
Finally, moving and settling into a new area is a point of stress. Change can be great, but it is still change. It’s okay to take time to settle in, to grieve the things you loved about your previous base or post and surrounding areas, and to take some time to find your bearing getting around your new area.
Most of all, it’s okay to be excited and approach your new area with enthusiasm and a sense of wonder.
About the author: Anna Blanch Rabe, founder of Anna Blanch Rabe & Associates, is a military spouse, a writer, and a (non-practicing) attorney with a bad case of wanderlust.