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How I Survived Moving To Los Angeles With Less Than $200

I’m a pretty daring and creative individual. Though I do have fears, I’ve turned my weaknesses into strengths as I fumble through life, and share how I’ve managed to survive so many of life’s inconsistencies on my women’s empowerment blog.

What’s the best way to empower women? I think that it is important to show them how to handle life’s messiest and scariest circumstances.

Instead of telling women, “You can do it,” I show them how to handle the obstacles in their paths by allowing them to watch me grow through my own.

A little more than two years ago, I decided to create a project to teach others how to move to a new city and start over in life.

I decided to teach this by doing it, and allowed my readers and Youtube viewers to follow along and watch me move to a new city to see what happened.

I hoped it would take away some of my readers’ fears of moving forward into the unknown. I know it sounds dramatic and maybe even a little fake, but I assure you there was nothing phony about this process.

I allowed the women of my blog, My Savvy Sisters, to vote on a city for me to move to and I promised to move there with no questions asked and document my journey in video. To my surprise, they chose Los Angeles, a city I had never even visited before.

Living in South Florida at the time, I was a little nervous, but I knew I could handle the transition and I set out to conquer a city that was more than 3,000 miles away from everyone I knew.

Guess what happened? I am still here in Los Angeles after two years. In fact, through my own will and determination, I have managed to make a home for myself here with a business of my own and a pretty cozy existence.

How did I manage to do all of this when I moved to Los Angeles with less than $200, no friends or family here, no car and never visiting the city before? Well, it’s quite a long story that actually begins a few years ago during The Rebuild Your Life Project.

During this project, I gave away everything I owned and became homeless on purpose to overcome my fear of extreme failure and to teach how to stand back up after losing everything.

During the Rebuild Your Life Project, I learned so much about the mental and practical strategies needed to survive an extreme life transition, and these lessons served me well when I moved to Los Angeles to film the next leg of my journey, The Rebuild Your Life Project: Los Angeles.

Since moving to LA, I’ve literally had 80-plus roommates, lived in eight different parts of Los Angeles County, became temporarily disabled, had to change careers and fell flat on my face. I explored the worlds of dating, fitness and chasing inner peace, all while in a city where I have no one I can trust.

How did I manage to survive all of that? Well, I couldn’t begin to fit everything into one article, but I can share six of my biggest survival strategies here; the rest you’ll have to see for yourself.

1. You have to develop a skill you can use in any city before you move.

My skill is serving; I had been a waitress off and on for nearly four years back where I’m from in Miami. Besides truly enjoying being a server, I knew this was a skill I could take with me anywhere and always find work.

I actually transferred with my same restaurant so that I would have a job as soon as I arrived in LA. Within 24 hours, I was already making money.

If you are trying to make a transition with limited funds, you better develop a skill that creates quick cash.

All you have to do is become proficient at a skill that is needed all around the world and you will never be too far away from earning your first handful of cash — no matter where you decide to move.


2. You have to minimize your lifestyle.

Nothing is permanent. Keep this in mind when you are preparing to move to your new city. This means that it may be time to give away most of your clothes so that everything fits into one suitcase.

It may also mean that you will have to compromise your standard of living. I am from Miami and in no way does the cost of living compare to Los Angeles. I found myself living with 25 people in one house for $550 a month.

It wasn’t as bad as it sounds; I met some really cool people there who were all new to the city just like me, trying to figure out a way to survive.

Minimizing your lifestyle doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it simply means you’re courageous enough to take on a new adventure and way of living.

Since we know that nothing is permanent, consider it just a part of your story that you will one day look back and laugh about.


3. You have to learn how to be alone.

Most people can’t seem to have a good time without a crowd, but there has to be a time when you develop the ability to have a blast all by yourself.

Moving to a new city all alone is tough, and making friends as an adult isn’t as easy as saying, “Nice shirt. Let’s play.”

We’re older and we have prejudices and preferences and even in a city with nearly 10 million people in it, it’s a monumental task to find people whose character mirrors your own.

If you don’t make any true friends within the first few months of living in a new city, you’ll probably become disenchanted and want to go back where you came from, or you’ll compromise your standards and beliefs just to have company.

I’ll be honest: I’m pretty much a weirdo and I don’t want to change any part of myself, so I have been living in Los Angeles for two years and I have not made a single friend. Even still, I have honestly been having the time of my life.

The only reason I am able to enjoy being here, even though there is not one person I can trust or who cares about me, is the fact that I have learned that it’s okay to laugh at my own jokes, go out dancing or exploring by myself.

I have never been much of a social person, but I am proud to say that I have not compromised who I am and I’ve still enjoyed many adventures. It’s okay to be your own best friend until someone else comes to share that space.


4. You have to create the experiences you want to have.

If I had sat back and waited for my adventures to find me, I would not have had any. I didn’t move to Los Angeles to become an actress, but I saw so many people auditioning so I decided to try it, too.

I wound up being a background actor on a couple of TV shows and even being cast in a commercial.

Whenever I feel like I’m settling into a routine and I need to shake things up, I volunteer, join a new group on MeetUp.com, ask for a tour from a local, take the train to a part of the county I have never visited or start a new project.

I’m never bored because I create my own adventures, and in a city like Los Angeles, you will never run out of things to see and do. You just have to be willing to put on a new hat, or take off your pants, and head in a brand new direction.


5. You have to trust yourself.

Living in a city that is more than 3,000 miles away from my family, there is no one I can trust in Los Angeles.

From the many people who reach out to me after following my journey on Youtube, I have learned that the number one fear they express is not having anyone they can trust wherever they move to.

I do trust people; I trust that they will try to take advantage of me, lie to me or generally do whatever it is that they think they can get away with.

Yes, I may be a bit cynical at times, but it doesn’t stop me from getting out there and enjoying my adventures. I learned a very valuable lesson during the original Rebuild Your Life Project: Nothing can break me and nothing is that serious.

Regardless of what anyone can do to harm me, I will always bounce back because I know that I can. I am not afraid of being hurt anymore.

You can take my possessions, try to scam me or hurt my pride and I will brush myself off and find replacements for everything I have lost.

Once I develop the skills to acquire or create the things I want, the things can be taken away, but my ability to create will never fade. I trust myself to make wise decisions and to recover from any mayhem that may find me, and you will have to do that, too.


6. You have to accept that things will not go smoothly.

Wouldn’t life be absolutely boring if everything was scripted? Thank goodness it’s not like that. We have such dramatic lives, and we have to accept that the drama will come.

Consider that the best stories you tell about your life are actually the times when things went wrong or you had to conquer a misfortune.

I moved to Los Angeles, began working as a waitress, and within six months, I broke my foot and no longer had a source of income.

What does a woman do when she is alone in a city and needs to support herself financially, but her body won’t allow it? Well, I used my brain instead.

I had no idea that because of my misfortune, I would be pushed into a full-time career as a writer, a goal that I always had, but never thought I would reach any time soon, since I spent so much time working in the restaurant. Because of my broken foot, I became who I always wanted to be.

No, things will not always go smoothly, but those moments are just the dramatic part of the movie of your life. Choose your next adventure when these opportunities disguised as hard times present themselves and ride the wave into your next chapter like I did.

For more wisdom and insight about what moving to Los Angeles, visit my blog Moving To LA TODAY.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It

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Te-Erika Patterson

Contributor

Te-Erika Patterson is a multi-media journalist and blogger. She is the creator of The Rebuild Your Life Project and the publisher of My Savvy Sisters, the leading empowerment blog for women.
Te-Erika Patterson is a multi-media journalist and blogger. She is the creator of The Rebuild Your Life Project and the publisher of My Savvy Sisters, the leading empowerment blog for women.

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