1. What are your priorities?
If you think beer is a good thing, consider Asheville, North Carolina.
Are you looking for a small-town feeling? An I-may-have-slept-with-everyone-in-this-bar-but-I-can’t-tell-because-that-guy-grew-a-beard vibe? Portland, Maine, sounds like your jam.
How important, on a scale of 1 to 10, is meeting a model who’s also a dubstep DJ, who’s also a vegan? 11? Put Brooklyn on your list. Actually, just move to Brooklyn. Stay there please. Thank you.
2. Are people going to be nice to you?
Were you booed off the stage at five different open mic nights in the same city? It could mean you suck at the ukulele. It could also mean you don’t jive well with the local mentality. And nobody wants to hear your ridiculous ukulele playing.
3. What’s the money scene like?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a successful carpenter in New England makes somewhere between $36k and $68k annually. Down South, they might get 10 bucks an hour and a free t-shirt.
If working in your craft is important to you, make sure your skill set is actually valuable at your next destination.
4. Where’re ya gonna live?!
In a rented room that’s also a screened-in porch with three other people? In a suburban bungalow in a hip, new neighborhood with five community gardens? In your 1983 Volvo in a parking lot behind the 7-Eleven? So many options!
5. How are you going to fulfill yourself? / How are you going to not be depressed?
According to research conducted by The Huffington Post and Prevention.com, San Jose, California, is the happiest city in America because they have a lot of organic vegetables. (Sunshine + organic produce = happy. Duh.)
Salt Lake City came in second because they don’t have cancer. Mormonism means no drinking and smoking, which means no cancer, which obviously means happy. Sober happy happiness.
6. Can a girl get a burrito in this joint without having to proposition someone?
The South: Mouth-watering and impressively affordable BBQ. Mexican available at every roadside convenience store.
The North: Second mortgages required for most guacamole add-ons.
7. What if your cousin Natasha needs bail again? And other family-related concerns.
Being away from family can be hard. It can also not be hard.
8. What are the local politics?
Do you prefer to smoke your marijuana freely in the fresh air? Where your patchouli-scented sun-streaked locks can be gently tousled in a whispering breeze? Where the birds can happily chirp in conversation as they eat sunflower seeds from your open palm? Try Colorado.
Do you believe that women’s bodies are equivalent to baby-storing Tupperware containers and should be kept under the constant supervision of male politicians? Consider North Dakota, your one-stop medieval paradise destination.
9. Do any of these questions matter?
Maybe. I have no idea. The best advice someone gave me: If you’re ready for a big move, then you’re ready for a big change. Life is always going to be unpredictable in a new place, so just dive in.