The goal of this step is to get a mapped outline of potential areas that can fulfill the lifestyle priorities that you identified in the previous step.. The first part of that is to understand what is possible, and orientate yourself to your new surroundings. the second part is not committing too many of your waking hours to commuting – especially during the early days, the more time you have to spend together as a family, the more support you are able to offer one another.
- Review country information (see Links page)
- Buy or download a large-scale map
- Label work location
- Use Google maps to estimate commute times to neighboring locations
- Identify traffic or security issues that may affect the route
- Research other transport options.
- Draw perimeter for detailed neighborhood search
- Make a list of neighborhoods that fall within the area outlined
With a little creativity and an internet connection, you can become well-informed without leaving the house, so once you have the tools that you need, you can get out your colored crayons, relax with a coffee, and begin..
Where Can I Live?
Firstly, let’s cover the essentials. You need to understand the country and culture that you are moving to. The US Department of State has a brilliant website, and for those of you with a smartphone, an even better app, which gives you up-to-date information on every country in the world (excellent for browsing in airport departure lounges) including security issues, while the Lonely Planet guides give a more personal view, and advice on culture and appropriate behavior.
Buy a map. Or two, if your new work or school location is within a couple of miles of the outer edge of the map coverage. Now, mark in your daytime destination(s), and using this as your end reference point, track all possible routes to and from, along with the travel times that the journey will take. It’s a good idea to use a range of travel methods too – you may plan on driving in every day, but being open to alternative means of transportation allows you a greater reliability and flexibility when your car won’t start / fuel prices hit record highs (again) / the bus driver bears a striking resemblance to George Clooney. Or you simply want to go out for drinks after work and not be worried about where to leave the car.
You might also want to check with your new HR department to find if there are any routes to avoid, either for security or traffic reasons, and what the parking situation is like at your destination. Once you have all this information, it shouldn’t take you too long to outline a perimeter for your search area, depending on how long a commute you are willing to commit to, and what your transport budget looks like. Don’t be worried about the finer details at this point; we’re looking for a very simple search area, that will inform not only where you will live, but who are the best people to help you search.
Once you have your perimeter outlined, look at the geographical features of the area. Do you want to live in an urban or rural environment? Do you value easy access to major towns, roads or airports, or do you prefer being away from it all? Simply by studying the features on the map, you can start narrowing down to a list of potential neighborhoods according to your lifestyle preferences. Now it’s a matter of hitting the internet to find out what sort of amenities and accommodation are on offer in the locations within your search area. But that’s step 3..