It’s PCS Time– Stay Positive, It’s Time to Go

military PCS move time

It’s pcs time again. Military families are afforded a unique opportunity that does not involve living in the same house long enough to see trees grow from seedlings, being able to drop in on grandma and grandpa, or even having a dad (or mom) at the dinner table every single night, of every single year. Instead, we find ourselves temporary residents of cities, towns, and countries all across the globe. PCS or a permanent change of station doesn’t have to be stressful with a good attitude and a few tips are all you need to thrive and survive.

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home It's PCS Time-- Stay Positive, It's Time to Go

PCS Time–How to stay positive
This too will pass


Every PCS is different… picking up and moving with the military is stressful. And changing duty stations happens far to often. It’s way too easy to focus on all the stress, uncertainty, career and relationship challenges we have to overcome and live a life that’s positive and full of gratitude. Growth occurs when we make the effort to see the obstacles for what they really are– life lessons and opportunities to live in real time… right here and right now.

So how do you do this when you don’t know anybody or anything about your new duty station?



Moving with the Military


Your computer isn’t just good for watching cute cat videos or tweeting at 3 am in the morning. Its’ actually a great resource to learn about things like, oh I don’t know… your new duty station. In this day and age, you don’t have to go far. Just open up your laptop, start with Facebook. Every single military installation has a spouse, organization, food and hobby pages. Are you a hiker moving to Daegu? Guess what there, are two or three hiking pages? There are even official pages for AFN, unit, chapel, commissary, and Exchange.

The more you know about your new home, the more you will feel connected, invested and at home once boots hit the ground. Don’t be that girl who shows up with no idea of what you want to see or do.



Permanent change of Station is not Permanent


They say the last duty station is always the best duty station, but you’ve got to let the old go in order to appreciate the new. Don’t cut ties to old friends, by all means, keep them and the memories you share close. Instead, avoid comparing them or failing to replace them with new ones. Don’t give in too easily, give your new home a little time to grow on you.


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Use your PCS Network


The faster you get your paintings, rugs, and books out of the boxes and on the walls, floors and shelves the better… even if you have to move them later. Living in a sea of cardboard boxes is not fun and does not encourage a feeling of warmth or homeliness. Here is a list of inventory apps you can also use.



Hit the Ground Running


Now that all the curtains are hung (#3), dig out all that research (#1) and get out and go to the gym for T, TH Zumba, story time at the library at 11 am on the first of the month or paint and sips at the ACS. And nothing says I’m home more than knowing where to get a great cup of coffee with a strong WI-FI signal. Don’t let the blues set in during your PCS time. Buck the trend and prove #2 wrong. Routine is very important in the beginning. But once you get that down, being more spontaneous and following your interests ends up being the way you will really love where you are.


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Moving with the military can be fun


I figured out what I love about living overseas is the sense of adventure I get when I’m out of my comfort zone, learning something new or eating something delicious. If that’s all there is to it, I can do that in the states too, right? Sure there aren’t any medieval churches to visit or 2,000-year-old temple ruins to trample, but there are amazing museums, natural wonders, and parks, award-winning restaurants in every state of the union.


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I know some people have a hard time putting themselves out there, but that’s the easiest way to meet new friends. When you move to a new duty station. look for like-minded individuals. If you have kids, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll meet their parents. You never know, it might be a great opportunity for a playdate for you both. And for heaven’s sake, make yourself available to possible friendships by getting involved in your new community. Trust me, one or two good friends or a club or interest can make any assignment a 100% better.


  • Signup to be a volunteer at Red Cross or the PTO
  • Heard about a book, running or spouses club luncheon… go, even if you have to go alone
  • Go to church or join the PWOC
  • Sign up for guitar lessons or take a class at the local university
  • Register with the local employment agencies
  • Try something new, different and out of your comfort zone


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  1. Bonne LeahSay

    I personally have no experience with the military lifestyle, however, I was a mother of 5 and a OTR over the road truck driver in US, Canada, and Mexico.
    When you’re faced with providing for your family you do the best you can. Sure I missed out on some of the moments in time I wished I could have back but I provide for my family and they were able to attend good schools and go on to become responsible individuals.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thank you. You definitely should. The Red Cross is a great organization and they do some important work for the community.

  2. Carol Cassara

    I have no experience with this but it’s nice that you’re posting something like this for the sake of army wives and families. It’s never easy to relocate and get used to another place.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      And for me too… to remind myself when then the move madness starts. That this too shall pass, and one day soon, I’ll be just as settled as I am right now… just 3,000 miles away.

  3. Jenni Petrey

    This a great post, I love all your tips. We’re not a military family but I did do quite a few of these when we moved states within Australia. Certainly helped us to relocate a lot smoother.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thanks Jenni, I really appreciate your support. I would love to travel around Australia one day… hopefully sooner than later. Is there anything you would add that I forgot?

  4. Author Brandi Kennedy

    I love how this blog is geared toward helping other military families learn to adjust and love the military lifestyle. You seem to be very well-rounded in your ability to roll with what the Army throws your way, and that’s amazing!

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thanks Brandi, as a senior spouse that’s one of the things I love doing best. I’ve been in this game for more than 21 years, so I’ve had time to perfect a plan for just about everything.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thanks Robert, I hope so. I received so much valuable help from people when I started out, its nice to be in a position to do the same for others.

  5. Ashley

    These are really good tips. I admire those that can handle and adjust to the military life. I’m such an introvert that I don’t think I could do it. I moved away from home 13 years ago and I still don’t have many friends. If I moved every couple of years, I wouldn’t have any!

    1. duffelbagspouse

      All you need is a few good ones, trust me, a huge circle of friends can be dangerous and inevitably you’ll realize all of them aren’t your friends anyway or that a few of them are special. You do have some, figure out where you met them and expand on that activity to find new ones from time to time.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Me too. I’ve never been one to sit in my apartment alone unless that’s what I need at the time. The world is freaking awesome and the more you see of it, the more you realize theres left to see.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thank you, its an honor to serve. Yes, military families lead very different lifestyles that probably seem pretty nuts to you. It’s called a PCS or a permanent change of station and good attitude a few tips is all you need to have a good one.We find ourselves temporary residents of cities, towns and countries all across the globe, sometimes on military installations that are just like mini American towns.

  6. Maya

    I definitely agree with connecting with other people! It’s good to meet likeminded people and build strong friendships that you can take with you no matter where you go

    1. duffelbagspouse

      One or two good friends can make any assignment a 100% better. Military families are afforded a unique opportunity. It’s called a PCS or a permanent change of station and good attitude a few tips is all you need to have a good one.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I can’t feel comfortable until my house is straight and I ave been known to not sleep much until its done. Once it is I can relax and do everything else to make a great PCS transition.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Routine is very important in the beginning of a PCS move. But once you get that down, being more spontaneous and following your interests ends up being the way your really love where you are.

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