Pack Your Bags! Five Stories About Why and Where We Move

Photo: TheMuuj

Last week, I became Someone Who Lives in Sin with Her Boyfriend in a Downtown Apartment, whereas before I was Someone Who Chose to Do a Service Year in Baltimore and Therefore Lives with Her Parents Long After. Luckily, my parents live 20 minutes away; circumstance leads me to move in spurts, a box here, a shelf there. My new place is lovely—third floor, historic, quirky—and frustrating, but it is mine (ours), and no one else’s, and there is power in something coming true that I thought, in my darkest moments, might never happen. Moving is on my mind, so here are five essays about relocating, repacking, and rearranging.

1. “Moving For Love: The Modern Relationship Milestone.” (Ann Friedman, The Cut, April 2014)

From Mars to Madison, Wisconsin, “following” your partner across town or across the country can foster resentment or strengthen your relationship. Ann Friedman, one of my favorite journalists, explains how shifting societal norms and evolving technology encourage folks to take the plunge or remain long-distance.

2. “Do the Most Hipster Thing Possible: Move to Des Moines.” (Matt Vasilogambros & Mauro Whiteman, National Journal, October 2014)

Low cost of living, strong sense of community, and a flourishing start-up culture? Buy your plane ticket before everyone else catches on.

3. “On Packing.” (Molly Beer, Vela, March 2013)

Here is one of the finest essays I’ve read this year, an author’s poetic examination of her packing habits and the relationship of journey to object: It is best to use a well-made bed or the floor, so long as you have a large, smooth, clear surface, a canvas, if you will. It is best to start early, to take your time, to mentally map out (a maze of nerves like tangled alleys, footpaths, avenues) the possibilities, the contingencies. You must have time to ask the questions: Will I get lost? Will I be loved? Shunned? Will I make it home again?

4. “On Leaving Brooklyn After 18 Years of Rent-Stabilized Bliss.” (Judy McGuire, Brooklyn Based, September 2014)

Like many non-New Yorkers, I’m a sucker for anything written about the city. The headline doesn’t lie–Judy McGuire had unbelievable luck of the rent in pre-bougie Brooklyn. Don’t worry–she’s now happily ensconced in a home in Queens.

5. “Where Does the Creative Class Move?” (Richard Florida, CityLab, October 2014)

The “creative class” includes artists, doctors, and engineers of all ages. The graphics in CityLab chart their movements from city to city (goodbye, NYC! Hello, DC!). Some of these patterns might surprise you–I, for one, expected more out of Portland.