How to settle in, anywhere, fast

After nomading for a few months now I came up with a system that makes it much easier to get settled into a new location. It saves me a few days when I first arrive (and I'm most likely to be tired and stressed from the flight and TSA/customs abuse).

How I do this should be reusable public information, but I'm not aware yet of a good place to host it online at scale, so here it goes for now:

  1. Come up with a set of questions that are relevant to you when you move somewhere. Here's my current set:

    • what is the best area for me in that place? Here, describe what you're looking for. Some examples:
    • "authentic" vs. "cosmopolitan" feel - in most "authentic" areas you won't meet many other DNs or expats
    • walkability vs. quietness. For example in Medellin there was a very quiet, safe and upscale area (Loma Verde), but it wasn't as close to shops, gyms and restaurants as El Poblado. On the other hand, El Poblado can be very noisy at night.
    • nightlife vs. access to real gyms - in Cancun if you want cosmopolitan nightlife, the only option is the Hotel Zone, but it has no industrial gyms; those are found in downtown, 15 - 25 minutes drive. A car drive or messing with the public transit can be serious hindrances to going to the gym daily if that's a goal you have.
    • In that general area, what are the top 1 or 2 hospitals that aren't tourist traps (see this review for what I mean by that when it came to Playa del Carmen, Mexico)
    • What is the organic/healthy/upscale grocery store chain (think Whole Foods or Trade Joe's vs. 7-11 or Wal-Mart in the US)
    • Where can I find specialty products I need? Random examples:
      • kale
      • protein powder and other gym supplements (surprisingly hard to find in Medellin)
      • string cheese (again, surprisingly hard to find in Medellin)
      • ready-prep healthy meals, e.g. minimally processed meat without nitrites and nitrates
  2. Find a local who can answer these questions. Where?

    • the local Facebook groups, but if you have a lot of questions, that might be too much to ask all at once
    • pay a virtual assistant in your target location via Upwork, Fiverr, or a similar freelance site.

That's basically it! Do you have any other tips? Leave them in the comments below!

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