The Questions No One Asks When You Move 3,000 Miles Across the Country

Must bravery or stupidity underwrite every bold life decision?

Sophia Smith
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readOct 22, 2019


Illustration: Jeffrey Fletcher

WWhen I shared my intention to move across the country, the questions began coming as if on a conveyor belt. Predictable and uniform. Are you keeping your job? Do you have an apartment yet? Why?

I imagined myself as a mysterious figure giving a press conference. With a twinge of vocal fry and a twirl of black, drapey clothing, I announce that I will take no further questions at this time, thank you. But it’s not really considered polite to tell friends and coworkers that you are taking no further questions. My life is not a press conference. I am not some high-profile detective, updating the public on the unknowables of my existence.

Or maybe I am. I certainly don’t have it all figured out yet. I learned soon enough, though, that the simplest response to a boring question is a boring answer. To say anything too extraordinary would overstep the dance. The questions people ask are, at least, ones that I have answers for. Are you keeping your job? Yes. How are you getting there? I’m driving. Do you have an apartment yet? No, I’ll figure it out. Why are you moving? Because I’ve spent most of my life bouncing between points in a particular constellation and I’m young and sufficiently unburdened and would like to explore a different constellation. Because I’d like to pluck for myself a small bit of the American millennial dream: my own silverware drawer; a window sill for propagating houseplants; my surname pasted, labelmaker-chic, next to a buzzer. Also, this is a practical move for furthering the grown-up adult career that I have. I usually tell people the latter.

Practical. That’s what it takes to justify something big and bold and daring like this. People look at you funny if you say you’re moving 3,000 miles just because you feel like it. That wouldn’t be a wrong answer, either. Yes, I did just feel like it. But I didn’t feel it as a whim. I felt it like a seed sprouting. Not all at once but stress-tested and nurtured and dreamt on. Until it was so large that its roots began tapping on the boundaries of their universe. It — I — needed repotting.

Everyone you love can live within a…