5 Reasons to Move Around A Lot (and All Over) While You’re Young

In spite of mounting evidence that Americans are waiting longer and longer to settle down, shack up and start having kids, most of us still feel like we have to actively start working toward those things as soon as we leave school. Many people still feel that the sooner they get the future locked down, the better off they will be.

It’s true that some things–like saving for the future and trying to find a job you love–are best jumped on right away. Other ideas, though, like the one that says you should have met your spouse while you were still an undergrad are old and outdated. In fact, taking the old-fashioned route could actively work against you since many employers (and future partners) are hoping to find someone who has some real world experience under his or her belt.

That is just one reason why you should move around and try to see and experience as much as possible while you are still young. Here are five more:

#1. It’s Easy to Recover While You’re Young

When you are young, it is easier to recover–physically, mentally, emotionally, financially–from mistakes or emergencies than when you are older and you have a family. If you move to a city and you find that it isn’t a great fit, you can simply save up for a few months and then move somewhere new. As you get older and start to accrue (lovely and absolutely wanted) baggage, this gets much harder. You’ll have to consider things like school schedules, your spouse’s employment situation, family obligations that are and aren’t your own, etc.

Moreover, if you go broke in your 20s, you will have decades to recover and still build a solid financial future for yourself. This is much harder when you’re in your 40s or 50s (or later).

#2. Nomadic Life is Only Cute When You’re Young

After the age of 30, sleeping on the floor in the corner of a friend’s bedroom with six other people stops feeling cute and/or adventurous and starts feeling annoying. You’ll find that living as a nomad in your 30s and later also makes it harder to find work–unless you’re cool with part time barista-ing–and harder to attract a partner. You’ll also have a harder time finding places to live! When you’re in your twenties, though, crushing eight people into an apartment in New York City is a rite of passage and one that you’ll love telling stories about when you’re older.

#3. Seeing is Believing

You can read tons of books and articles and watch every documentary ever made on a place, but until you spend real time in a place, you can’t know what it is like. You have to actually walk the streets and talk to the people who live there. You have to shop in their stores and check out their libraries. You can do a little bit of that on a weekend trip but to really get a feel for a place, you need to spend real time there, which leads us to…

#4. It Takes Months to Stop Being a Tourist

Spending a couple of weeks in a place will not make you feel like an authority on that place. It certainly won’t earn you the right to be accepted as an authority on a place. You need to spend at least a few months somewhere, preferably six or more–so that you can try working there and living as the locals do–to figure out what makes a city or town tick. This is why tossing all of your stuff into an RV and driving around for a year or two seems romantic but leaves many people feeling like they didn’t really experience much in the way of real life (though you should totally try that RV trip, too).

#5. It’s Easier to Pack Up and Move

As you age and you settle in to a place, you start to accumulate a great deal of stuff. It happens almost without knowing it. When you’re young and you move around, though, you probably won’t accumulate much so packing up and moving won’t be too much of a hassle. And because you won’t have a ton of stuff, paying for cross country movers (which is much better than trying to cram everything into the back of your Prius) is much more affordable now than it will be after you’ve settled into a place for a few years.

This is probably the only time in your life when you can say “I just want to try living in [insert city here] for a while” and have that be acceptable. Why not take advantage of it?

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