A typical goal to achieve immediately after a move is to unpack ASAP. Even before the military, I moved myself 6 times in the course of 9 years and that’s not counting the times I PCSed with my parents, where I helped as much as I could. My strategy is to take everything out of the boxes and discard the boxes and packing paper. When I see everything laid out in the open, it motivates me to find a place for each item. Besides setting up house, make sure your family’s DEERS information is updated with your new address. It’s crucial for the system to know your new location, especially for Tricare.
Here are 7 goals for your first 100 days at your new military installation.
- Update Friends, Family and the Post Office that You Moved. USPS makes it simple to update our address because you can do so online. If you have the time, it’s also easy to visit your brick and mortar post office for a change of address packet. Once your change of address goes through, it will forward your mail for little while. The challenge is to make sure the other vendors you associate with like banks, subscription services, etc. know of your mailing address change separately. You might have to individually update your address by calling or logging onto your account online. The fun part is telling your friends and family your new address. It’s becoming really popular to send “We’ve moved!” postcards. Vistaprint and Tinyprints are a couple of companies that offer the service, but calling, mass text message or emailing works too.
- Visit the Installation’s Military and Family Support Centers. The military is great with providing a sense of community within every installation with the Family Readiness System. Military OneSource breaks it down for us better here. Check out the community centers, MWR facilities and youth centers to see what’s going on. Although it’s not typically required (it was encouraged for me to attend), I recommend going with your service member to the installation’s welcome brief or newcomer’s orientation. This is a great opportunity to know about services available on base. I was able to learn about the degree programs that are taught on Fort Belvoir and also the different volunteer organizations. Also, I found out what activities were upcoming at the MWR.
- Square Away Your Health Care. Oh, Tricare. Once you update your DEERS information (seriously, do it as soon as you know your address!), your Tricare plan might have changed and you would need to update your service. To find out the appropriate steps for your family, check out the Tricare moving page here. Even if you’re family isn’t due for an annual check-up, I encourage you to locate a PCM or at least know what needs to be done. I had a slight emergency (minor infection) a couple days after our PCS and had to see a doctor stat for some antibiotics. That just proved you can plan for a smooth move, but you never know what’s going to happen once you’re there.
- Know Your Neighbors. If you’re like me and a total introvert at times, this is the most difficult goal. I work from home, so I have no need to go outside much. When I first arrived here, I really had to go out of my way to get to know people. We also live off-post, which added a little more challenge for us. The spouses’ club gave me the connection I needed and the opportunity to meet my neighbors in a way. These are the women and men that share the community with me.
- Build Your Duty Station Bucket List. It’s exciting to be experiencing a new location and have the ability to see brand-new things. When you arrive, start jotting down local sights that you’ve heard people talk about in passing or take to the streets and look for activities or things to do when you have more free time. Also, it doesn’t hurt to start seeing the sights unique to your installation’s location.
- Find Your Go-To Restaurants. My husband and I are total foodies. Everywhere we go, we love finding delicious local restaurants and even eat the types of food special to the area. Ask the locals for suggestions or other families that have been there longer for their favorite place. On free evenings or days get out of the house for a nice family date. This could also be the opportunity to collect a stockpile of take-out menus for the days when you don’t want to cook or leave your house.
- Get Lost. Perhaps, you’ll get lost without even trying and that’s great. Gotta love forced learning! For me, it’s really the opportunity to get to know a location and familiarize with it. Sometimes I cheat a little bit and have my GPS loaded for added guidance. Be sure you save yourself wiggle room if you’ve scheduled appointments because there might be some (it might actually be more times than some depending on your installation) instances that your GPS may not recognize roads or barricades set-up on your base. If you find yourself with extra time (fingers-crossed), spend it driving around and explore every possible nook and cranny that you can in and around your installation.