I posted a video on tiktok a few weeks ago and it got a lot of attention. At first I thought "this is so awesome, I've found my peoeple! Yay!" However, it kept gaining traction and with more views it brought in a bunch of bitter folk. A lot of people started leaving rude comments telling me "go back to LA" or "your parents must be rich" or "there's no way shes single." Hellooooo? It's 2023, you think a woman needs a man in her life in order to create a life shes proud of and happy about? "Go back to LA"....? If people who commented that took 4 min to look at other comment replies or any of my other videos they'd know I actually grew up not far away from HERE & only moved to LA for a few years for work. "Your parents must be rich" -- 1) my rent here is actually cheaper than it was in LA 2) I'm not a preteen, I can proudly say I've supported myself since the day I graduated school. I ended up turning off the comments because one morning I woke up to over 100 comments on that post and my mental health started going down the drain feeling like I needed to prove myself to these strangers who were taking something so purely wonderful, new and joyful and turning it into something that made me feel really icky.
All that aside, there were also some lovely people who did leave comments as well on that post, and who have since followed up on my follow up post and in my DMs. I have gotten a LOT of messages and comments asking me "how did you find your cottage????" The quick answer, lots of patience and luck.
I searched the apartment listing sites (craigslist, apartments.com, FB housing, etc) twice daily for about 4 months until I found my current spot. When I found it I immediately reached out and sent all the paperwork that was requested because I knew it wouldnt last. I drove up from LA to Seaside within 2 days to see the spot IRL and meet the landlord. He told me he needed an answer by the end of the night, and the rest is history!
I've moved many many times, and this time was most definitely the most challenging. I had a super specific vision in mind, so I journaled, painted mental pictures, and saved videos of other people living the life I wanted as proof that it could happen for me too.
As far as giving away any other tips, I'll share some things that might be helpful if you are also looking to leave a city and move to a smaller town:
Budget is obviously huge. Some of you know that I quit my corporate job a few months ago and I have since been freelancing, selling my art, and I plan to get a local job in the new year. I live pretty frugally and have always been good about saving, so I had enough saved up to feel solid about this move before doing so. When looking for new spots to live I set my budget for rent much lower than what I was paying in LA. Talking numbers? Rent in LA $2215, and that didn't include utilities, car insurance, groceries, etc. Rent here is $1750 and includes all utilities except wifi which is $50/month. I looked at a lot of places and I for sure scored with my rent, but I was also really patient and downsized in space A LOT.
I really didn’t go by neighborhood, but more so by the physical apartment because I knew that mattered a little more to me especially when living somewhere that’s smaller and things are a very quick drive away (vs LA where it’s a hassle to get around). This was my personal preference, but your preference may be the other way around, just get sure on what you're looking for so you can easily narrow down. I looked all up and down the coast, didn’t just look in Monterey County. I grew up around here and knew the mid/northern coastline pretty well so I had a general idea of what life would be like. If you don’t know the area you're looking at moving to, I would suggest a long road trip to check out all the towns nearby as well so you don't trap yourself into just one area. The lifestyle you’re looking for will also factor into the neighborhoods you should look in for sure!
Something I didn't think about really was laundry, maybe because it wasn't a top priority, but my spot doesn't have laundry so I do have to go to a laundromat, but that's not a dealbreaker for me, it may be for you.
Another thing I was crossing fingers for was an ADU/back house vs bigger apartment complex, so that's something to think about and figure out if that matter for you or not.
Last thing I can think of is if living somewhere thats privately owned (someone who's renting out their home/property) vs renting through agency/complex matters to you!
The other thing I'll add is that I looked at a few places (made multiple drives from LA up to mid/northern California) and I really thought I was going to live somewhere else (you can see past blogs on this), but I'm SO glad I didnt end up there (wasn't approved since I dont have FT job). I didn't know it at the time but something much better was in store for me. I'm happier and healthier than I have been in a longgggg time. I share that to say, if you had your heart set on something and it doesn't work out, or you're having trouble finding your next spot, just keep looking, keep waiting, it's out there and when it finds you its going to be better than you could imagine.
The last thing I want to add is something my sister told me. I felt like I just needed to get out of LA so I could start living the life I was yearning for, my goal was to leave before my 29th birthday (less than one week from today, ayoooo we did it!). She told me "it doesn't have to be THE spot, it just has to be A spot. It doesnt have to be forever, it can just be for now." So if you also just need a stepping stone, let this be your permission. You don't have to have your next place be your forever space. It can be a for now space. And let there be beauty and comfort in that.
xx until next time,