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How to Fall in Love With Your Duty Station Before You Arrive

  Too often, military circles throw “new duty station” around like a dirty word.  Yes, …

navy sailors pose over a cake cutting


Too often, military circles throw “new duty station” around like a dirty word. 

Yes, you’re uprooting — again. 

No, it’s not easy. 

But it doesn’t have to be as depressing as some folks make it out to be. In fact, a lot of your new duty station experience comes down to mindset. How you perceive your new digs before, during, and after will be the story you share for years to come. 

Even if you didn’t get any of the locations on your wish list, you can find an upside to your new duty station relocation. 

Ready to fall in love with your duty station before you even step foot on it? 

Read on.

Here’s are seven easy ways to do it: 

1. Get excited – You’re getting to travel on the government’s dime. It’s time to get excited! Even if you still have days of organizing and packing ahead of you, there’s no reason you can’t get pumped about this new adventure. Remain optimistic that it may be the best place you’ll ever get to go in your life! 

2. Do some investigating – Google is the best place in the world to do research. You can find your new duty station’s social media page, along with any Department of Defense (DoD) sites that cover base stats and amenities. This will get you excited about some of the new perks and advantages you’ll have on your new base. 

3. Connect with those who have been –  Chances are pretty good you can find somebody at your current installation who has been to where you’re going. Ask them what you can expect and how to prepare for the new duty station. They’ll be able to offer insights into the best local restaurants, areas to avoid, command culture, and more. Ask them to focus on the positive!

4. Start a bucket list – Look up reviews of local attractions and activities you might want to get involved in. If the area’s known for great hiking, select a few trails you’ll want to hit once you’ve settled in. Is there a nearby Michelin 3-star rated restaurant your foodie self just has to try? Add it to the list. Whatever will get you excited to start packing, mark it down. It will give you something to look forward to each day you get closer to PCS move day.

5. Take a “walk” around town – Another awesome feature of Google? You can actually walk the streets of your new duty station without ever setting foot there prior to moving. Check out the area on Google Maps in the “street view” mode. This will give you an idea of what you’ll be moving into and help you get familiar with some of the main streets.

6. Find your online tribe –  No matter how far your new duty station is, there’s more than likely an online social media group associated with the area. Look on Facebook for spouse groups and command pages to start making connections. See if you can find someone who will be there when you arrive to show you around! If you’re a milspouse, learning how to make friends will become your number one superpower.

7. Make a negative list – It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it? Go on and make a list of all the things that you think you’ll hate about your new duty station. This will put it out of your brain onto a piece of paper that you can shred up. Or, keep it until you get to your new duty station. Then pull it out and see how you can negate the “bad” with your actual good experiences.

Remember Your Duty Station is Temporary 

female soldier sits in front of door
Courtesy of Unsplash

Last but not least, remember your duty station is absolutely temporary. It may be called a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), but it’s not forever. If you’re staying in the military for a while, you will be moving again unless you’re close to retirement or discharge. 

Want more content about new duty stations? Check out these posts: 

Part of the joy of military life is you do get to see more places in your career than most people do in an entire lifetime. Do your best to embrace it and see the perks of each station you move to. It will make packing up every few years less painful! 

What are you most looking forward to at your next duty station? Share in the comments below! Moving with your service member? See our post on 7 Priorities Military Spouses Should Set After a PCS Move!

Feature image courtesy of U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Benjamin A. Lewis




The editorial team at Sandboxx.