I love where I live. I know it's not the most spacious or the most economical place to live, but I love it. I love how dense my neighborhood is, I love walking to the park several times a week, and heck, I love walking to pretty much everything I need. Is my 600 square foot one bedroom flat palatial? No, but it's perfect.
So why move? Well, I've been offered two amazing opportunities, both of which are located in very different cities. How do you know when it's time to leave where you love to live?
The decision to move from a cherished home to a new location comes down to more than just a fiscal decision. To help me decide whether a move was really in my best interest, I went beyond the usual pros and cons list and used a myriad of tech tools: Google Drive, Evernote, Pocket and Unstuck. These tools helped me gather/list information about new potential neighborhoods, alongside address the emotional aspect of possibly moving on. Here's how I've been using each app:
Google Drive: I created a spreadsheet for each important city factor: rent prices, transportation, nearby culture, etc. I broke down each by city, including the one where I currently live. I also created a spreadsheet for each of the two new locations breaking down various aspects of each neighborhood. Google Drive works across my computers and iOS and Android mobile devices, so I was able to bring along and access these spreadsheets while actually touring the cities. I also included links to custom Google Maps I created using data from friends about specific locations to refer to within each spreadsheets.
Evernote: an app perfect for creating scrapbooks dedicated to my potential two new homes, Evernote is what I've been using to collect information given by friends about info related to living in each city. I've tagged categories such as neighborhoods, rent, and culture, for easy reference. Evernote has become my big one stop shop for everything I find offline, alongside the resource where I keep photos I snap of potential rentals.
Pocket: online information about nearly anything, especially cities, is available in overwhelming abundance, but it can be tricky keeping the multitude of relevant info together. I use Pocket as a content aggregator; it's private, easily searchable, and accessible offline. While online, I use the bookmarklet to add any relevant info I want to save and refer to later, whether it's an apartment listing or crime stats. By using tags it's easy to find what I'm looking for later by specific city. The beauty is Pocket has apps for every device that I need and is accessible offline so that I can peruse everything even when underground on the subway.
Unstuck: This iPad app was supposedly designed for solving the dilemma I face today: to help people through a tough decision, professionally and personally. While I did find value in going through each of the questions and answering honestly about my feelings, I did not find their suggested tools to be all that helpful. The app definitely has value, but I wouldn't say it's anywhere near a replacement for professional help.
Have I reached a place yet where I am happy to consider leaving behind my current address? No, but I am able to look at it with a bit more clarity using the resources listed above (and a small army of post-it notes).
What helped you make the decision to relocate?
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)