When real life strikes…

…bloggers crumble. Aaaauugghh *die*

If you follow me on twitter or have been paying attention at all, you should know that I’m going to be crazy busy for the next week… month… hell, forever. I’m going down to Purdue for one last visit from Thursday to Saturday. Going to see a bunch of my friends now that classes are back in session since I have no idea when I’ll see them again. Why?

Because I’m finally moving to Seattle, wooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Yes, in a week the “trapped in Indiana” part of my bio will no longer be true. But as you can imagine, I’m going a little crazy. Moving to college was easy – Purdue is only an hour and a half away from my home, and I barely had a car full of stuff to take down there. Now I’ve had four years to accumulate shit, and I get to move 2,000 miles instead of 100. The extra fun part?

I’m driving.

It was about Plan T, but Plans A through S fell through. It’ll be…interesting. Thankfully my friend Mark is coming with me, so I won’t go totally insane (you may know him as ElGatoCello on twitter). Just to show you how awesome Mark is, we’re leaving on September 9th, which is his freaking birthday. This is a good test of who your true friends are – ask them to cram into a crowded car and drive through Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho for three days while listening to you sing along poorly to your “Gay Dance Mix!!” playlist. …Ok, I may still go insane, but I’m bringing him down with me. What this really means is there will always be one person able to livetweet our mutual insanity.

But yeah, it’s a 34 hour drive through the middle of nowhere. The directions are basically “Get on I-90 and drive 2,000 miles.” I’m sure it’ll be pretty, but I’ll definitely be stocking up on podcasts and caffeine before I go. The longest road trip I made before this was a 24 drive to Utah a couple years ago, but I only had to drive 7 hours on the way back because I was traveling with two guys who were trying to out-macho each other with their driving endurance. We drove straight through. That will not be happening on this trip.

So after I come back from Purdue, I get to play Car Tetris and see how much stuff I can cram in. I think it should be okay, since I basically just have my clothes, some electronics (computer / Wii / PS3), some dishes and cooking utensils, and then as many books as I can shove into the car. I gave all my furniture away since it wasn’t worth the hassle. Heck, I originally got it all through dumpster diving anyway.

Even once I get there, my insanity isn’t over. One, I need to find a bed – the plan is to order one so it arrives soon after I get there. Two, I’ll need to at least minimally furnish the rest of my apartment. I know myself – if I leave stuff in boxes, it’ll be that way five years later. And three, I actually have to get ready for graduate school. This extra long summer has made me forget I’m kind of starting my PhD. No biggy, right?


So the blog will be on autopost more often than not between the 2nd and 12th. Like always, if you have blogging inspiration or random questions to ask me, feel free to email me or go over to formspring.me*.

Oh, and moving tips are welcome. How’d you survive any cross country relocations? Best way to furnish an apartment on the cheap without getting raped by creepy craigslist people? Seattle specific tricks? Best car games to play while driving through Montana?


  1. says

    I think after about hour 12 you just start to make shit up and virtually EVERYTHING is hilarious… I moved last year from Chicago, by way of Indy to Denver… but we had two giant u-hauls and a tiny car, we also had 4 adults, 1 teenager, 3 kids and 2 dogs… but it was only a 20 drive… loldone the denver/chicago trip many a times and keep apples in the car to snack on and don’t forget to stock up on the 5 hour energy shots! :) good luck!!!

  2. says

    It sounds like you have been doing much driving lately. You should already know to take breaks driving, stay hydrated and don’t ever get drowsy at the wheel. You’ll do fine… Just look how far you have come already! =)

  3. nobody says

    Look around student housing, whether or not you’re living in it. At my school there was accepted practice of leaving stuff you didn’t want in the loading zone near the dumpsters or in the laundry rooms or mail rooms with signs saying it was available for free. Especially look at grad student housing whether or not you got into it, since grad students don’t tend to graduate neatly on schedule and will be moving out at odd times throughout the year. Best pickings from the undergrad housing would obviously have been in June, but with grad housing, you should be able to find the odd couch, desk, or bookshelf pretty much any time if you’re lucky. Try to be the one driving through Montana. No speed limit = fun.I’m not sure I survived my cross country relocation, but then I moved from someplace cool to someplace insufferably lame, which is exactly the opposite of your move. But try to establish community in your new location, and don’t make that community entirely out of your cohort of incoming students. Your first year it will all be fun bonding and you’ll hang out a lot, then everyone will get caught up in their work and you can get isolated if you aren’t careful. You want a healthy mix of fellow academics and locals. Locals who aren’t grad students will know all the cool things to do in town and as an added bonus they will not disappear from your life when they’re qualifying or running tests all night for a few months.

  4. Screamer77 says

    I moved from Europe, so no crazy road trip, but even crazier flight across the ocean.I’d say plan a few stops, have lots of music, keep your camera close…. on road trips I stop often to take pictures. Once you’re settled in Seattle… well, you could come visit me in Portland! :DAlso, about craigslist, as far as I know it should be safe enough around here… just in case you can always bring a friend with you (possibly a big guy to do the heavy lifting).

  5. says

    When trying to furnish anything on a college student’s (or other limited) budget, I find that thrift stores are very useful. It’s often hit or miss, but they’re usually inexpensive and sometimes have very random, very interesting stuff. And this handy-dandy site has a remarkably thorough (for the regions I’ve checked) directory of charity thrift stores: http://www.thethriftshopper.co… Plus, thrift store shopping is always kind of an exciting adventure, so that’s a bonus. Bringing a friend for lifting assistance is a good plan for thrifting as well as for dire craigslist adventures. Good luck with your big move!

  6. says

    I think your worst state will be South Dakota, and the best thing you can do to fight off the insanity is take turns sleeping! Until you get to the Badlands, of course.

  7. says

    You don’t need to take everything with you, Jen. Just throw some things into a box, and take it to Fedex or UPS, and have them ship some of that stuff. That will help save some space in your car for other stuff you may need for the trip itself.And if you’re feeling somewhat ambitious (although it’s probably more just interesting than useful right now), you might want to check out FactVsReligion’s road tripping video for ideas:

  8. Tkpruitt says

    A few times through the alphabet with the dirty words game is good: “A” is for “Asshole”; “B” is for “Balls”, “C” is for…etc. Take turns. Score points for originality and difficulty.

  9. says

    Ikea is shockingly your friend when it comes to cheap and fuck me well made shit.I just got a sofabed and a big bookshelf for like, less then 150$ there. Other then that. Bleh, All the shit I own can fit into two and a half suitcases so I live light.

  10. Lola says

    Craigslist in major cities is generally at a surprisingly low creepy level. If you decide to pick something up from there (and I would say yes! Yes! Do!), ask them to put it outside. If they won’t or say that they can’t, move on. There’s plenty of free floral wicker crap to choose from. I hope it’s not creepy that I’m excited for you!

  11. says

    Indiana to Seattle is a little bit boring. There isn’t much to see between these two cities, so I suggest you to take a detour if you have the time and money.Many years ago, I drove from PA to Vancouver. Instead of driving the boring I-90 between Chicago to Seattle, I took a more southern route, going thru the Yellow Stone, San Francisco, Route 101 coast high way, etc… It was great.You might think it costs more money but there are ways to save money. You can save $35-50 a day by sleeping in the car and using diaper wipes to clean yourself instead of staying in a hotel; $20 a day by buying canned foods in grocery stores instead of going to restaurants; etc etc etc…

  12. says

    Oh, I forgot to mention that Grand Teton Nation Park is close to your route to Seattle. Teton means large tit. The Teton mountains will be considered the holy land of the Boobquakism. Can you go there, please? As a boobquakologist, I’d like to know if going there will cause more boobquakes.

  13. Anon says

    this is a good game. a slight variant game is to come up with dirty phrases for letters from license plate…. e.g. if you pass a car with license plate with letter xhd in it you would say “extremely hang dude” or something like that… taking turns of course

  14. LS says

    I spent 5 weekends in a row going to garage sales all Saturday long, and passed up on *tons* of very nice, cheap furniture, because I already have everything. And now it is no longer garage sale season. I seriously passed on a $35 couch. >.<http://s54.photobucket.com/alb…¤t=DSCF2328.jpg

  15. says

    Your packing list sounds like you’ve got the right idea. You want to bring as little as possible, essentials only. As for acquiring things you need, I furnished my first apartment entirely on used furniture, much of it free, but these days I would recommend against used furniture. Bed bugs are making a come back, and you really, really, really don’t want them in your new home. Any piece of furniture could be occupied, and if it has eggs you’ll never know it. Seattle is bound to have an IKEA, Original Mattress Factory is pretty cheap for beds, then of course there’s the futon, so you get two pieces of furniture in one. I know, lots of people hate them, but I think they’re great.

  16. Toadslick says

    I’d literally die on the road without audiobooks. They inspire me to be awake and attentive when all I want to do is fall asleep. If you wanna bone up on your atheist literature, download a bunch of audiobooks from http://atheistmovies.blogspot….

  17. says

    Wait for Estate sales on Craigslist and grab stuff from them.I furnished several bedrooms and got a complete matching set of dinnerware for about $100 at one estate sale.

  18. John Sherman says

    Traveling for a long time with someone can be difficult, even if that person is a great friend. I once took a very long car trip across India with Ghandi. At the end of the trip, he spat in my face and said he’d kill me if he ever saw me again. I replied, “Not if I see you first, My Hat Ma!” (Umm. That was a lie.) Here is my real tip: When you stop for food (and by all means stop. Don’t just go to a drive through and eat in the car. You’ll go mad!) get a separate table from your friend. You each get a little alone time, maybe read a book or a newspaper. It can also help recharge your conversation batteries for when you’re back in the car. ALso, I hear Powell’s is a great bookshop in Seattle.

  19. jkmiami89 says

    Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me podcasts, This American Life podcasts, and ACDC is all that gets me through 17hr drives to school

  20. says

    Yes, IKEA is great, and if it’s not totally convenient to go or haul something back, their delivery charge is reasonable if you’re getting several pieces. If you CAN physically go to an IKEA, though, I HIGHLY recommend the as-is department. I got my bed (minus mattress) for $28 that way.

  21. says

    So, other than the IKEA and Craigslist suggestions, you could also check out the Freecycle groups for your area and see if anyone is looking to offload some furniture. Usually, you can find couches and bookshelves on there at a minimum and occasionally tables, desks and beds.Another thing you could do is try to find a place that comes pre-furnished (if you don’t already have an apartment sorted out) that the landlord will give you the flexibility to move pieces out as you get your own stuff. (I’m in transition with a move halfway across the country, and I’m currently living in two cities 850 miles apart. Finding a pre-furnished apartment in my destination city really helped, as the landlord is letting me move her furniture out as I’m able to get my furniture there. It’s saved me so many headaches.)

  22. says

    When I drove from New Orleans to Riverside, CA with my friend Greg in two days, by the time we crossed the CA state line we were kind of delirious. We started singing Beatles songs and replacing the word “love” with “lube”. Every time we thought of a new one it cracked us up. I tried doing it with a non-Beatles song. Crickets.

  23. Rhino_of_Steel says

    If you have trouble finding a bed you could grab an air mattress. Now that camping season is coming to a close you can often find them on sale. I grabbed one last week for $40 Canadian. Even if it is just an interim bed while you wait on the real one to arrive it will be there for guests if you need it.

  24. BonnieBeth says

    My qualifications: Detroit to New Orleans, by myself, with a cat. Then back to Detroit with two cats. Back to New Orleans again with two cats, then New Orleans to Champaign with two cats in a caravan with boy driving moving van. All within three years.I recommend podcasts… lots of podcasts. I’ve found that talking/conversation makes the time pass FAR quicker than music for some reason; even when you’re alone, just having to follow a conversation (or Eddie Izzard) just works. That said, any music you want to sing obnoxiously along with is always fun, and I SWEAR by any sort of loud/angry/whatever gets you pumped up music for those stretches that you just. can’t. stay. focused. but you know you’re not tired enough to pull off and nap. KMFDM has pushed me through more stretches of I-55 than I care to think about.I second the comment about watching out for bedbugs. They freak me out.

  25. anne says

    IKEA…..look it up, they have a site, go with a knowledgeable friend, hit their sale area first, you might find everything you want in that section. Ikea prices are cheap, their sale area………more like garage sale prices. I found a $169 mattress for $75 ’cause it had 1/4 inch scratch on it that I haven’t even bothered to mend. And, Welcome to my corner of the country.

  26. says

    When I moved to Austin from the SF bay area for grad school I also drove. My sanity saver was stopping at all the crazy weird “points of interest” and national and state parks along the way (note: there are many more of these along the 40 than the 10). I also lucked out that my then boyfriend (now husband) drove which meant it was my responsibility to read aloud the entire way – our book of choice the current Harry Potter (don’t judge).As for moving, I lucked out since the house I moved into had been inhabited by grad students for 10 years (that can be good and bad) and they left a lot of kitchen stuff behind. I bought the bed and desk off the guy moving out and then my roommates and I scoured craigslist and our landlady’s friends garage sales for the rest. I also shipped a lot of my linens and clothes via UPS. It helped save on room in the car, was relatively light and so cheap to mail, and since I wear cheap stuff if it was lost forever it would be no big deal. I did the same thing on the way back and miraculously none of my stuff was lost.

  27. says

    I’ve made the Seattle to/from the Midwest trip three times now…my recs:– If you have a lot of books/dvds/notebooks, take advantage of the post office’s media mail rates…I shipped eight huge, heavy boxes from Seattle to Indiana a couple years ago for $76. — Make sure you stock up on whatever you deem essential (for me, decent coffee) before you cross the Minnesota/South Dakota border. After that, you are facing a whole lotta nothing (except crappy coffee) until you hit Bozeman. I learned this the hard way. It was a low point in my life.– Yes to loud mix cds and loads of podcasts…you can never have too many.– Stop at Wall Drug and ride the jackalope. Once in Seattle, definitely hit IKEA…it’s just a bit south of the city in Renton. You can get a lot of solid basics there for very, very cheap. Plus, Swedish meatballs. Yes. Also, in terms of general Seattleness, it abounds with cool places, but do, if you get the chance, cross the bridge to West Seattle every once in a while. West 5 and Easy Street Cafe are two of my personal favs.Say hi to my hometown for me! I’m stuck in Indiana for another 9 months…ugh.

  28. says

    (Firstly, this is not Jen…clearly…but I don’t know how to log-off from my dear sis-in-law’s blog on my laptop from her NYC sojourn for commenting purposes so just call me “No Jen from Brooklyn” until I eventually figure it out over this holiday weekend). Okay, No. 1: Have a ridiculous amount of music at your disposal and, particularly, music you might not normally find yourself attracted towards but that people might recommend. I have put Gram Parsons, Son Volt and The Jayhawks on mixtapes (okay, yeah, yeah…mixtapes…I’m old) for people on cross-country trips for years and, amazingly enough, it CAN make the difference, particularly when on long stretches in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. It just fits (and I can make one for ya’ before you take off if you need something). No. 2: Taking what my family calls “The Northern Route.” I-80 from Illinois through the bulk of the West is a pretty darn entertaining way to go. Jolly Green Giant, Corn Palace, Spam Museum, Mayo Clinic, Badlands? The entertainment is non-stop. No. 3: Know your limits (which, given your Florida roadtrip and your incredible summer travel itinerary, is something of which you have a good sense). No. 4: Check out Serious Eats, E-Gullet, Chow.com (nee Chowhound.com) and LTH Forum for food destinations. Chris and I are notorious for going on what we call “death marches” when we are incredibly starved and yet refuse to stop at a Subway, Burger King, et al. It is a good trick to pull you through more miles than you anticipated traveling in a day and does keep you excited and awake. No. 5: When tired, stop at random roadside attractions. You will have the greatest refrigerator magnet collection ever if you pick-up a magnet at every random attraction you visit (and get a good chance to rest, re-set your brain to the latest Hawking news and get some hydration). Next Christmas, we shall treat you to the tail of “Prairie Dog Town” in northwestern Kansas. :) Love, E & C (and Turnip and Zelda and Ted Allen and Senor Colbert)…

  29. ME says

    Welcome to the NW. However in your living in Seattle dont forget about how cool Portland is. We have a Unicorn Burial Ground, (thats what makes us better than Seattle) Hope you like the rain!

  30. Haley says

    I just moved into my first apartment in Berkeley, CA. I don’t know where they came from, but I’ve been attacked by bedbugs and it’s making my life miserable. I got a lot of used furniture, and some of my stuff was in storage for a while before I got it so just be wary. get one of those full mattress encasements that completely zip around the mattress and get new bedding and pillows. On a happier note, I like to play the alphabet game when I’m on a road trip. You have to find a word written out that begins with the letter you’re looking for, eg Acura, Box, California. If you play competitively, no two people can use the same instance of the word. (we play that if you find the same word, but somewhere else, it counts. Other purists insist it must be a different word.) Names of companies (Xerox, Xtra) count but initials don’t (XYZ towing or whatever)

  31. Katy says

    this is a great strategy for books… ones that you don’t need right away you can mail to yourself at the book rate. it takes a couple weeks, but it’s pretty inexpensive. if you’re headed for a life of academia, you can’t just get rid of those books, you need them for your library!

  32. Sarah says

    I second (or third?) on the podcasts. Take breaks and walk around when you see something interesting. Watch out for South Dakota: in Sioux Falls I was threatened and harassed for having a small rainbow sticker on my car (not a good feeling for a young woman driving alone). A good rest area is your friend. Stay hydrated, though it will increase the frequency of your bathroom breaks.– a veteran road tripper (Georgia to Alaska and back is my longest)

  33. says

    Seattle furniture tips: First try Freecycle, then Craigslist, then the big Goodwill at Rainier and Dearborn, and then go through Ikea backwards. There’s not always good stuff, but you can get very lucky. (For everything else, especially clothes, there is Capitol Hill Value Village.) I like to make my own bookshelves from 1x6s since I mostly have mass-market paperbacks and small trades. Oh, and if you want a wooden queen-sized frame with slats for that bed you’re ordering, let me know soon, as I’m about to try to get rid of one.Personally, I think the Gay Dance Mix sounds like a great strategy for staying amused on road trips! Good luck; I’ve never driven that far myself, and your friend sounds like a hero for coming along.

  34. BrianSchaan says

    I just did almost the exact mirror image of what you’re about to do; going from West to East and North of the border. I’m starting my masters at University of Waterloo having come from University of Northern (hah! It’s located almost at the centre of the province) British Columbia. I packed pretty much everything I own into four suitcases (weighing under 200 lbs), a backpack and a guitar case. I was able to get onto the plane without paying any extra fees (two of my suitcases checked in by my father, the guitar case stowed away as carry-on). I’d suggest getting something (anything–whether expensive or cheap) that is comfortable and familiar that will also take your mind off things. It’s far more overwhelming than I thought realizing that you’ll be living across a country from pretty much everyone you know. For me, I got a comfy couch and a nice TV and it’s worked reasonably well for me so far.

  35. Rystefn says

    When I moved to Seattle from Houston, I came by car, and it awesome… but I loves me a long road trip. We did it sans podcasts, road games, or anything like that. Apparently, on long road trips, I become the most entertaining person in the world, and gain the ability to talk for three days nonstop. I am of the opinion that everyone else on the trip was giddy with lack of sleep, because a hyperbolic claim that Texas invented the cow does not generally cause ten minutes of laughter.

  36. Rystefn says

    Oh, and don’t listen to the hype about the rain. Houston gets more inches and more days of rain per year than Seattle, and in the slightly more than a year I’ve been here, it’s only really rained three times. There’s a lot of days where there’s this week half-asses pretend rain all day that’s not really enough to even form puddles, but they count it anyway.

  37. BrianSchaan says

    I forgot to add: we used to play a car game when I was younger where we’d name a place (city, country, ocean, river etc.) and the next person had to name one (that hadn’t been said before) starting with the last letter of the previous one. You could substitute geography with any topic you both know something about, and I expect it would make it more interesting.

  38. Cmc1217 says

    Try signing up for freecycle and you may find some furniture. Not necessarily anything great, but um FREEcycle.

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