On Moving (blog below)
I've become a professional nomad. I run away every weekend, but this past weekend I chose to run "Home". Santa Monica holds a very dear place in my heart not just because of the ocean but because of the memories it keeps. Although my heart ached for sunshine, the rain met me where I was and created a dreamy rainy Sunday. I wanted to explore a part of Santa Monica I had forgotten about. Armed with the Boy and Birkenstocks we traveled down the coastline as I reminisced on my first move to Los Angeles. I actually wrote this post on my old blog, but wanted to share it here.
Here are my SIX tips on moving to LA.
1. Start Reading the News.
Before I moved to LA, I started following Los Angeles news organizations, socialites, event companies, and even politicians (I'm just trying to be best friends with everyone ok?) Knowing what was going on in the LA area helped me have a better understanding of city culture when I made my move. Here are some of my favorites to follow.
Venice 311: LAPD Scanner Tweets. Voted Best Police Blog by LA Weekly
The LA Scene: Shares the Best of LA in Comedy, Culture, Film, Fests, etc:
Los Angeles Magazine: Great Guide to LA
89.3 KPCC: Southern California Public Radio
Eventbrite LA: LA events and ticket promotions
LAist: “Best Los Angeles Blog on the internet”
“How much is rent?” is one of the most common questions I get from my friends moving. I know you are going to hate this answer, but rent prices really depend on the street. I have friends who can throw a rock and hit Santa Monica, but technically live in “West LA”- and it’s thousands of dollars cheaper. Honestly, I suggest subleasing until you figure out what area you REALLY want to live in. It’s not worth throwing money at a sub-par apartment 35 minutes away from the closest In-N-Out. I don’t necessarily suggest living with 5 random people in a two bedroom condo with no air conditioning.…but that’s what I did. It worked. During the two months I spent in Westwood I explored and found an incredible apartment with two bedrooms and bathrooms, parking, and get this….even AIR CONDITIONING. (Yes, air conditioning is actually a hot commodity on the West Side.
3 Avoid The Housing Juggernaut That Is “Westside Rentals”
Westside Rentals: the housing juggernaut that think they own everything west of the 405.
Swerve. Just avoid at all costs. West Side Rentals will pressure you into buying a $60 dollar 60 day membership to their 2001 themed housing platform. You can find their terrible red and white yard signs all over town, but don’t be fooled. Properties listed on Westside rentals are usually not listed anywhere else, so if you want to rent one of their properties you can ONLY go through them…. Or at least that’s what they want you to think. If you want the information to one of their properties, simply call the direct manager for the property. You can usually find manager’s contact information at the call box of the unit. There is no reason to pay Westside rentals $60 dollars just for property contact information. Give me a break. We know how to use Google.
4.Community Boards (Finding Roommates)
Finding the right roommate(s) is key to enjoying your first year in LA. Most of us had that one roommate in college that just ruined shared housing forever. You know, the one who ate Taco Bell under their sheets at night… no? ok me neither. Unfortunately, housing costs are extremely high in LA, and most people have to find roommates to live in a safe area of town. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve heard great success stories from craigslist rooming situations, but I found my roommate from the Reality LA community board.. I basically googled “Churches in LA” and the first one to come up was Reality LA. Through Reality’s “Marketplace” I found my incredible roommate, Christa. (Chris and Christa- cute right?) If you don’t go to church, I would still encourage finding a roommate in a similar fashion. If you are interested in cycling, find community boards dedicated to cycling and post that you are looking for a roommate. You will probably have a better living experience with someone who shares similar interests.
5. Go Out
Go out. Go out everywhere. Seriously do it even if you think you won’t have a good time. My first couple of months in LA, I said yes to every invitation that got me out of the house. LA is a melting pot of creative, interesting people and I wanted to meet them all. I even reached out to people (and still do) via Twitter and Instagram. Through my random encounters and awkward “friend of friend” coffees, I began to create a community of people I actually wanted to hang out with. Don’t get too comfortable in the change.
6. Stay In
I’m the opposite of a homebody. I enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and would rather spend my “alone time” in a crowded coffee shop. Yet, there is something to be said about relaxing in your own place. After all, you did beat the housing juggernaut to rent it. Get to know your space. For us, that included a very empty space. I slept on an air mattress for a solid 3 months before getting a bed. It’s alright. Moving is a transitional period and everything doesn’t have to be perfect. (At least that’s what I told myself haha) Unwind and welcome yourself to the City of Angels. Revel in the uncertainties because at the end of the day… you made it!