This is what I like to do when we get a new assignment. I hope it will help some of you plan your next adventure.
- Plan out the drive:
It is always great to know where you are going and how you will get there. You have fun opportunities to see attractions, amusement parks, and friends and family along the way.
- The sports teams:
Wherever you’re moving, you probably want to find out what the sports fanbase is. You might not want to show up in Boston with a Yankees shirt on (or maybe you do!). In the middle of nowhere with no teams? Look for smaller teams, like the Minot Minotauros or the new Minot Hot Tots!
- Living on base:
If you will be living on base, do some research and see if there’s bowling, a library, movie theater, a teen center or different food options near your home. Sometimes you can have some more freedom to bike and walk places maybe you couldn’t if you lived off base.
- School and clubs:
Most bases have schools on base. Figure out how far away you are from the school and look for clubs you can join. Maybe you want to try a new sport, or even start a club at your new school if you don’t see something that interests you.
- Historical sites:
Sometimes you can get lucky and land an assignment right next to a historical site. Places like Massachusetts and Virginia are great, as they are in the heart of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Sometimes you can discover local history you never knew about. I’ve gotten extremely lucky and had a house less then a mile away from Paul Revere’s capture site!
- National Parks:
National Parks and State Parks are easy to find, but sometimes you have to dig around to find the hidden ones. If you’re looking for spectacular sites, hopefully you’ll get an assignment in the Pacific Northwest or the West. Wildlife and nature preserves can be beautiful, even if they are a lot smaller than a national park. During COVID, we visited a new park or trail almost every weekend!
- Look at the weather and PREPARE:
Some of the largest changes when moving can be the weather. If you go from Arizona or Guam to New York or Boston, the cold can be shocking, which is why you should plan. For instance, we are moved from Virginia to North Dakota, and the weather one day in ND for February was a real feel of NEGATIVE 29o (F), with a warning of SEVERE FROSTBITE. Meanwhile, in Virginia, the temperature that same day was 29o (F)!
- Do friends from past assignments live nearby?
When this happens, it is one of the best feelings in the world. This can be rare, but this has probably happened to at least one of you or your military friends. I got so lucky that one of my old friends and I accidently got houses that share the same backyard fence, and it wasn’t even on base! I literally could hop my fence into his yard. Talk about a coincidence! Just think about the odds…
- Anything to do nearby?
Figure out what you can do for entertainment off base. While it may seem that there is nothing to do, you’ll be surprised at how many things you can find! Who knows, maybe your right next to Canada, or a short drive to Disneyland. Research famous historical sites, or search for odd attractions. You never know what you may find! Ask locals for their favorite spots as well.
- Map it:
Ask your Mom or Dad for the layout of your new house or look on a map to see the neighborhood. Start thinking about where you would put your stuff and claim rooms for your own. Start planning now, and try to enjoy the time you have left before the next adventure begins.