What I Learned Moving Across the Country and Filming One Second A Day

Taken on January 14th in Asilomar, California

The past 365 days have been particularly trying for me. That, of course, is to be expected when one decides to completely uproot their life and move.
Across the country.
From a decade of living in cities (DC, Chicago, Philadelphia), to moving into the suburbs of Silicon Valley.
Without a car.
And without really knowing any one.

Things understandably get complicated, difficult, confusing, and exciting. But honestly, isn’t that life? A series of unexpected twists, turns, and adjustments?

I believe it is, and that belief was perfectly illustrated and experienced by me in this past year — and I’m so delighted I documented it all, one second each day.

3,000 miles later, with a cast of new friends and old friends, lost loved ones and new family members, and locations from coast to coast, here are the lessons I learned and saw in the past year that may help others going through the same situation.

Prepare for an Adjustment
The first and most important lesson is to understand that life will change, likely dramatically. You’ll find yourself in unfamiliar territory and immersed in new experiences, which is good, because it’s outside of your comfort zone. You’ll be forced to proactively find things to do, make new friends, and go to places you’ve never been. Embrace the shock of the new and just go with it. It’s good for the soul.

Also, if you’re moving to Silicon Valley, get ready to see more adults riding Razor scooters than ever before.

Keep in Touch
You’re moving away from the friendships you’ve developed over the years, and chances are you’ll be in a situation where you kind of have to ‘start over’. Although you may be miles and miles away from friends and family, technology has made connecting with each other remarkably simple. Don’t lose touch. FaceTime is your friend. Sending handwritten letters is also a nice and rather therapeutic way to keep in touch. Try it out.

Swallow Your Pride
Going from living alone in a nice one bedroom in the Center City Philadelphia to a house in the suburbs you share with complete strangers (it turns out rent in Silicon Valley is pretty expensive — who knew!?) is a humbling experience. Humble pie is a very common dish for those who take a chance on a unique opportunity. You have to make some sacrifices. Humbling experiences like this won’t kill you. Learn from them, remember why you’re there, and keep pushing forward.

Prepare to Swipe — and Drink Alone
So. Much. Swiping.

At 29, meeting new people is not as easy as it was in college. Prepare to swipe. There will a fair deal of awkwardness, so get used to it. Hopefully though, one of those swipes works out right.

If you’re not keen on swiping, you could head to a local bar alone and try to meet people. I hate doing it, but it does put you in situation where you must leave your comfort zone and strike up conversations with people in real life. Weird, I know, but the ability to comfortably talk to people in person is a good skill to have.

Explore Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Explore the area. Get active and just go for a walk and discover interesting places nearby. Check Facebook Events near you. This desire to leave my comfort zone allowed me to kayak with sea otters in Monterey, eat alligator and ostrich in Reno, accidentally climb a mountain in Park City, Utah, and even get TJ Miller to yell at me — then kindly provide me with beard grooming tips.

Get Involved in Sports Clubs
One of the best decisions I made was joining a kickball league. It’s something I did when I moved to Philadelphia without knowing many people, and it’s the first thing I did when I decided to move to California. It’s easy to make friends and bond with folks when you’re playing recess games like kickball as adults.

Find New Hobbies
There will be prolonged periods of being alone, so fill that time with activities you enjoy. For me, I turned to reading (I have many recommendations if you, the reader, are interested) and creating videos. The video production process has always been a source of fascination for me and a skill I wanted to learn. So I did, and I’m so glad I made that decision.

Document Your Journey
I’ve been filming one second of every day for the past four years (Year 1, Year 2, Year 3). Perhaps the best effect this decision has had on me is that it forces me to go out and try new things and truly capture new moments. My videos would get incredibly dull and staid if they continuously showed me experiencing the world from my couch. There’s always something just outside your doorstep.

I’m not saying you need to film one second a day, but doing adhering to a similar practice (daily journaling is good) helps you reflect on what you’ve done, adding valuable perspective to the beautiful events you experienced, and provide ideas for things you want to do in the next year. Plus, if I’m lucky, sometime VERY far off in the future, I’ll be able to share these experiences with my children.

The past 365 days were incredibly challenging, but I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything. For anyone else going through a similar situation, I hope you find this helpful. If you’re wrestling with a decision like this, feel free to reach out to me at @KevinOlivieri (Twitter, Instagram, Medium). Here’s to the next year and all the wonderful moments we’ll experience!

And of course, here’s what my past year looked like, one second each day:

Cast

Old Friends

New Friends

Lost Loved Ones

New Family Members

Special Guests — see if you can spot them

TJ Miller

Luis Suarez

Locations

San Francisco Bay Area

Silicon Valley

Monterey

Carmel

Park City, Utah

Grand Canyon

Scottsdale

Austin

Washington, DC

Philadelphia

Asbury Park

Atlantic Ocean

Pacific Ocean

Song

Beautiful You by The Pain of Being Pure at Heart