Lessons from moving

It’s already been about two months since I moved to Montreal, and I’ve learned a lot about myself during this time. In this post I share some things I’ve learned after moving to a new city for the first time.

I own too much shit

Before the move to Montreal I got rid of as many possessions as possible. I sold anything that was collecting dust, including my XBOX 360, one of my unused bass guitars, air conditioner, etc. I also donated four garbage bags full of old clothes.

Even with all of this effort, I was shocked at how much stuff I had to load into the U-Haul on moving day. I just barely fit everything into the truck, and I was pretty disappointed about this.

Ever since, I’ve been more conscious about buying anything that would take up space in my apartment. When I want to buy something, I ask myself the following:

Asking myself these questions on a constant basis should hopefully prevent me from hoarding unnecessary junk. Having less things will make future moves so much easier.

I need to do a better job tracking my spendings

Moving to a new city got me thinking about how much I pay for rent, utilities, and other necessities; and that triggered me into thinking about how much money I spend on non-essential items.

I started using an app called Wally, and it’s fantastic. It’s really simple; you enter in your monthly income, and every time you spend money you just punch in an amount and a category. The app then gives you an idea of what you’re spending on and how much money you have left for the month.

wally mobile app

There are more automated solutions such as Mint, but I actually prefer Wally’s manual approach. Manual input makes me think more about every dollar I spend, and it’s nice to see how much money I have left in the month. It almost gamifies the process and encourages me to save more.

Writing tasks down helps me destress

While planning the move, I often stressed myself out thinking about all of the stuff I needed to do. Switching my insurance, transferring my driver’s license and health card… and so on. I’d toss and turn in bed worrying that I’d forgotten or overlooked something important.

To remedy this, I started writing down tasks in my handy dandy notebook. Writing tasks down helped me better retain them in my head. Even if there wasn’t anything I could do about an upcoming task at a given point in time, I took comfort in knowing that I’d be reminded of it by my notebook when certain prerequisites were met.

Notebook snapshot

I tried using one of many to-do apps for this, but I much prefer notebooks. This might sounds odd, but the feeling of physically crossing something off a list is insanely satisfying to me. Tapping a checkbox just doesn’t do it.

Hobbies are dope and I need more of them in my life

More than ever I feel a deep appreciation for activities outside of work. This is probably because I’m looking for ways to meet new people.

For example, I love playing soccer. I played in various leagues with my friends and coworkers back in Ottawa, and was jonesin’ to find new people to play with. A few Saturdays ago a couple of coworkers and I biked down to Parc Jeanne Mance to play pick-up soccer with a bunch of random dudes. After the game we introduced ourselves to some of the other players, and we’re now part of a WhatsApp group of 50+ dudes that get together at the park to play soccer.

A couple of weeks ago, I reached out to a guy on Kijiji looking for a jazz bassist for jazz jams. I’ve been working on my upright bass chops for a while now and have been looking for jazz musicians to jam with. I’ve since been to several jazz jams at La Brassette and was able to meet some really cool musicians. It’s a great opportunity to learn what I need to work on too; for example, I learned that my bass soloing skills still need a lot of work.

Moving to a new city has also been a great opportunity to discover new hobbies. As it turns out there’s a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym right across from my place, so I’ve been training there for a few weeks now. I made friends with some people who were also just getting started, and we’re going to be getting together at the gym weekly to train. I hope to get to a level where I won’t always get my ass handed to me during sparring drills.

After Montreal, I’d love to move to a new country

I love everything about Montreal so far. But let’s face it, it’s not exactly that far from my hometown Ottawa. I still have this itch to live somewhere totally different.

I’m happy that I moved away from Ottawa, but my move is pretty bush league compared to my friends and coworkers who have moved halfway across the world. I don’t really know where I’d want to live after Montreal. Go back to my roots, in Japan? New Zealand seems pretty cool. France seems pretty rad, too. For now I’m going to enjoy the crap out of Montreal.


Thanks for reading! If you’re in Montreal and want to meet up for a drink, give me a shout 🍻

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