Thursday, March 3, 2011

Settle Into a New Location With These 10 Questions

We are currently traveling for a year or so until we decide #1 where to live, and #2 what to do (I have plenty of business ideas percolating right now and will eventually settle on one or two to pursue). As we hop around the country now, then later the world, there is a short period of settling in required at each stop. Here are the ten questions I ask myself at each location:
  1. Where are we (as in address, town/city, county, state)? Then pull out a map and see where you are in relation to major cities/towns/etc.
  2. What are the major threats (natural disasters, man-made problems) in the area? This relates to number one above. This past week we had just settled in to our new temporary location and the next day, tornado warnings started racing across the TV screen. Having no one to ask since we were new in town, it was a little confusing as to where exactly we were in relation to the areas that were in the storm warning area (that's why #1 is important) and how seriously to take the warnings (I called up a friend from Kentucky who is used to such occurrences and he said "very" so down we went to the basement for about an hour until the storm passed).
  3. Take a walk around the neighborhood you are staying in to ascertain: escape routes (there should be more than one way to enter and exit where you are at), water sources (there is currently a small river down the street from where we are), any apparent dangers (in a storm, the small river could become a danger), possible food sources, etc.
  4. Where is the local: hospital, grocery store, post office, bank, pharmacy, subway/bus stop, etc.
  5. Do you have any contacts in the area? Information, a back up, help in an emergency...having contacts can be quite beneficial.
  6. What's going on in the community? This is important to know both for reference, in case you are looking for something to do, and practically (ie: if your driveway will be blocked for an entire afternoon because you live along a parade route, you want to know this ahead of time).
  7. What can you learn? There is always something to learn both officially (the local university may have a regular lecture schedule) and unofficially (I have learned how to bake a killer cornbread from the lady next door...we happen to be in the deep south this month).
  8. What is the culture like? Even in your own country, the culture changes from place to place. I nearly fell off my chair the other day when the couple who live next door came by and on more than one occasion mentioned something about "colored" people. I seriously hadn't heard that word since I read a Mark Twain book decades ago. So it's a good idea to find out how people are before you start spouting what may or may not be considered your liberal/radical beliefs.
  9. If there is a SHTF situation, what would you do? This could be anything from an earthquake to a total government shut down to a wildfire that is coming your way. You need to have a plan, or a variety of plans, ahead of time.
  10. What can you take away from your experience? There's always many take-aways from your travels. You may find a good place to bug out to in the future. You may run across some unique training opportunities. You may make friends for life.

The bottom line is to situate yourself as quickly as possible by asking the right questions and getting up to speed on all of the things you need to know sooner, rather than later.


  1. If on the weekends or after school you see lots of kids out playing together in the neighborhood, the people in the neighborhood are more likely to know each other and act as a community. Little kids are by far the best introducers in a neighborhood.

  2. Sounds like you are in Nashville. If so, welcome. I know you probably prefer to stay on the DL (Don't blame you), but if you ARE in the Nashville and want a coffee and/or a tour, email me. If not, enjoy the South and thanks many times over for the blog.

  3. Russell--thanks, a good piece of advice.
    Jason--thanks for the invite. I'm hopping between Atlanta and Miami but may head to Memphis sometime because when I asked my friend where the closest place to get a good rack of ribs was he said Memphis!

  4. I lived in Memphis for 5 years.

    1) Be careful. I am surprised I made it out without any attempted robberies.

    2) I am assuming you'll be hitting up Rendezvous. I am now jealous. I am probably going to Memphis the last weekend of March to see a good friend who is in from Afghanistan. I MIGHT have to make my way to the Rendezvous.

    Have fun and be safe, sir.