We decided to move to Vancouver. It seems like only a week ago Aaron and I were driving 12 hours in an SUV stuffed full of our apartment, coffees in our hand, wondering what the fuck we had done. Now, over seven months later, I can say Vancouver finally feels like home.
Living in Vancouver has been one of the most insane, nerve-racking, rewarding experiences ever. From having a two hour meltdown in a whole foods parking lot to finally feeling like we’re killin it, Van has not been short of emotions. All the fuss to move to Vancouver though has been completely worth it. Moving anywhere might seem like the most daunting thing ever but that’s all it is – daunting. Moving cities seems a lot harder than it is, all you really need is to commit to your plan and take the necessary steps. Here’s how Aaron and I moved cities:
Don’t let anyone talk you out of it – this is my number one because oh ma gawd, trying to find anyone supportive of our decision to move was insane. Everyone’s first reactions was “it’s too expensive” “you’ll never find a job” “gas is crazy there” “there’s so many scams” etc. Aaron and I had very cozy, good paying jobs that allowed us to travel for 4 years, I mean it was hard in a sense to say goodbye to that comfort but I didn’t need literally everyone else telling me that lol. So if no one supports you and it’s what you want start saying “I’m not worried about it.” It’s to the point, it ends the conversation and it’s saying shut up without being rude.
Plan ahead of time – This might seem like a no brainer but Aaron and I had the idea of moving around December 2017, but we didn’t make the official “let’s do it” till February 2018, before we drove there March 27. A month to plan your life and leave another isn’t a whole lot of time. I mean I was up for the challenge, but time moves fast when you’re stressed haha.
Find an apartment in advance – Another no brainer but Vancouver apartments go fast. Like really fast. And then once you find one there will be 13 other people competing for your apartment so you need to find a couple that you like and apply with references and good credit. I recommend using hollyburn.com and then craigslist. It’s super weird in Vancouver, in Edmonton we use kijiji to sell all our junk and lease things but in Vancouver, Craigslist is a goldmine. That’s where I found my apartment.
- yes, there are a lot of scumbags that can rip you off when apartment hunting but use your brain and you’ll be fine. Before we moved to Vancouver everyone under the sun kept telling us “Oh there’s a lot of apartment scams in Vancouver, they just take your deposits and leave!” Yes, this happens, but you should be able to read the signs pretty easily of scams. If it’s too good to be true it probably is. Never give money without seeing the apartment, no “oh I’m in the States right now just send the money and I’ll give you a key”
- Having parking included will be a huge asset to you. Parking is pricy in downtown Vancouver so look for apartments with parking included, preferably underground or in a secure location.
- I wouldn’t recommend Gastown to move to. It’s a gorgeoussss area of the city, my favourite, but Vancouver has a bit of a drug problem and Gastown and Chinatown seems to be where the crazies go. It’s not dangerous but just to keep it real with you guys at night you can hear a lot of yelling and it’s not a clean area of town so just keep that in mind when choosing a place to live.
Create a BC Hydro account – In Edmonton we have a power bill but in Vancouver they have this as their water, power and heat. Hot water is usually included in your apartment bill but most places you have to pay your own perks. It’s surprisingly cheap, like $25 for Aaron and I to have power and water for a month.
Get tenant insurance – a basic thing to do but you have 30 days to get your insurance up. One thing to note is in Vancouver earthquake insurance is none negotiable. Doesn’t make a huge difference but it’s good to note.
Healthcare – I live in Canada, the land of free health care. In Alberta you don’t need to pay a monthly fee to see the doctors, in BC you do. I didn’t think we pay for healthcare anywhere in Canada but when we moved to Vancouver we had three months to get it. It works out to be about $35 a month which is completely reasonable to be taken care of but I wasn’t expecting that.
Making Friends – When I moved here I wasn’t worried about making friends. I’m an introvert and prefer being by myself so let me tell you first hand I never thought I could get lonely. But a few months in I started to feel the isolation. I work from home so it’s not like I could make friends at work. So my tips for making friends is going Facebook and going groups with the same hobbies as you. I joined photography and hiking groups and this way you can feel people out (and yes, internet stalk them to see if they’re real). Next to that is searched for hashtags on Instagram (I did #vancouverbloggers & #vancouverphotographers) to find people. This way I could reach out (and they could reach out to me) and we could work on our hobbies together so it’s not a forced interaction at first.
Hope you found this post helpful and insightful! Moving is one of the best things I’ve ever done.
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