I was always one to be optimistic about every duty station. I loved the process of picking potential duty stations and the entire PCS was process was even more exciting. How often do people to get the chance to live in a variety of places? Even better if a foreign country or two is sprinkled into the mix. I realize it’s hard to move though. It seems like as soon as you really feel settled and have great friends, found the perfect hairdresser, and even more perfect babysitter, the orders come in. That’s when we all start to panic and wonder if we did everything we wanted in the years since we moved here. That’s what I do at least. My bucket list quadruples and I have to fit everything in between all the packing out and appointments. Don’t let that happen. Make the most of every duty station so you have no regrets when you leave.
Keep An Ongoing Bucket List
I always have a running bucket list. I start researching things to do, places to go, and festivals pretty much as soon as I know we are headed somewhere. I want to make the most of every place we live because I know we won’t be there forever. I follow local places on social media and keep ongoing bookmark lists on my computer. I’ll schedule festivals out on my calendar. If they only come once a year, go when you can, otherwise there might not be another chance. Keep that list and you’ll always have something to do on the weekends.
Live Like A Local
Get off base and check out where the locals hang out. Find those awesome hole in the wall restaurants, shop local boutiques, and enjoy the nightlife. Find those places that aren’t chains or found in any town. Eating the local foods will make it that much more special. We left Okinawa almost three years ago, but we still talk about certain foods and we aren’t the only ones who miss the local sushi places either.
Have Professional Pictures Taken
Most places will have a defining feature or landmark nearby. Why not remember the time you spent there with professional pictures taken in front of it? It will make your pictures that much more fun and it’s not like you wouldn’t have them done anyways. We had this done on a beach in Okinawa and then in Old Town Temecula when we lived in California. We haven’t had any here yet, but it’s on my mental list to do this fall.
I know, everyone says this, but it’s true! I have so many friends from past duty stations. The people help make the experience. They will get you out to try new places and see new things. It’s so great to realize you have friends at a new duty station already. Every time we moved, we have already known people at the new duty station. It helps to get to know the area and meet more people. Friends are also great for networking if you plan on working. We had a few friends already when we moved here and they’ve turned into more friends. I’ve got a couple at Ft. Hood too, but we haven’t managed to get together.