Learning from the Jamestown Movers

Learning from the Founders: Moving tips gained from Jamestown

One of the first corporate international relocations took place four hundred years ago when the first English settlers left their homes in the British Isles to set up new ones in North America.  One could easily call these courageous men and women, the “ultimate movers.”  While no one can deny that these settlers were among the bravest movers in history, they weren’t necessarily the wisest.  Their journey was far from being a smooth one.  However, their story does lend quite a few lessons from which movers of the future could benefit.

1. Make sure you trust the company that’s moving you:

The corporation responsible for relocating the English colonists was the Virginia Company, one of the earliest joint-stock companies in existence.  The men and women who would later become the first Americans signed on after hearing the company’s promises of a new life in a land full of riches and prosperity.  While it proved to be an effective marketing strategy, the company’s string of promises did not come to fruition.  There was no gold, abundant food or riches of any kind waiting in what would come to be called “Jamestown.”  What was awaiting the newcomers was a hot, humid, mosquito-infested swamp full of disease and surrounded by angry natives.

Fortunately, most companies in the modern world are more reliable than their predecessors from the 17th century.  However, it still may be a good idea to ensure that they have your best interest in mind.  Also thoroughly research your future home before the relocation process begins.  Odds are that you won’t find yourself in the same predicament as the settlers, but you may be able to avoid some very unpleasant surprises.

2. It’s not easy, come prepared:

The Jamestown colonists’ woes were not entirely due to them having been misled.  They were also partially to blame as they had come unprepared for the immense challenges that were apart of building a new home.  You’d think that it would be obvious that settling an untamed land wouldn’t be easy, but apparently no-one had explained that to the Jamestown settlers.  Most of them had starved or deserted within the first few months.

This is a fine example of the fate that befalls those who underestimate the realities of relocating.  Do your best to make sure that you’re well-prepared for your transition.  Have everything packed before the trucks arrive and take steps to transport anything that will be difficult to move.  It would also be wise to ensure that the truck your moving company will be using is large enough to accommodate your furniture and belongings.

3. Make your transition, or “in between time”, enjoyable:

The first Americans’ journey to their new home was utterly miserable.  In the 17th century, long distance trips consisted of nearly five months crammed into a smelly, rat-infested wooden ship hoping to avoid scurvy and your seasick neighbors.  And you thought the lines at the airport were a nuisance.

Luckily, your trip probably won’t be anywhere near as bad as the Jamestown settlers’, but, if you take the time to organize well in advance, you and your families could actually find yourselves enjoying your move.  One way to lend to your peace of mind is to hire a reliable moving company.  A moving company dedicated to customer satisfaction is most likely to get your belongings to your new home in tact and on time.  Keep in mind that you will get what you pay for in terms of moving companies.

If you prefer, you can also organize the move yourself.  This will take more time and effort, but it can certainly be done.  Research the hotels or any place you’ll be staying between moving out of your old house and moving into your new one.  Be sure to compare rates and quality.  It would also be wise to research the area you’ll be staying in temporarily as well as the neighborhood you’ll be moving into.  This will allow you to spend the spare time during the moving process settling into your new home or simply having fun.

4. Choose your neighborhood well, and, if possible, pick neighbors you can be friends with:

The Jamestown settlers didn’t always see eye to eye with their new neighbors.  Relations between the Native Americans and the Europeans were dangerous at the best of times.  There were times when they did manage to get along, but things always turned sour eventually.  The eight years between 1614 and 1622 were one of the brief periods when the two peoples weren’t quite literally at each other’s throats.  It ended when the natives attacked Jamestown.  The colonists responded by giving the Native Americans a gift of wine as a peace offering.  This generous and luxurious gift might have been the beginning of another period of tolerance and prosperity if only the colonists hadn’t poisoned it.  Meanwhile, just a few miles to the north, the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock apparently knew very well how to be friendly.  They were carving turkey with their new neighbors at the first Thanksgiving dinner.

We’re glad to be able to tell you that you will most likely not have to dodge arrows or tomahawks(unless you’ve picked an especially bad neighborhood).  However, neighbors are an important factor when planning to move.  Reconnaissance on your potential new neighborhood and the people you’ll share it with is usually a very good idea.  Familiarize yourself with the local culture and be sure that it’s one that you can adapt to.   It is also a wise strategy to be as amicable as possible when meeting your future neighbors.  When it comes to neighborly relations, you’ll find that the pilgrims’ way is preferable to the Jamestown settlers’ way.

5. Choose a convenient location:

Now it’s time to talk about something that the settlers did right for a change.  Jamestown was built on Jamestown Island, which is located next to the James River and was positioned perfectly for a saltwater port.  It was also very defend-able (this would come in handy later).  As naive as the settlers were, they did have a keen eye for real estate.

It would be wise to learn from them when you’re picking out your new home.  Be sure to pick a home in a location that is safe, affordable, enjoyable and convenient.  A home should be as close to your workplace as possible and should also be close enough to a shopping center to run errands.  It also wouldn’t hurt if there were some quality entertainment, such as a beach or a mall, nearby.  A well-chosen relocation management company can complete this process for you, or, if you prefer, you can select and purchase a new home yourself.  In either case, choose carefully.