Living in 29 Places Over 39 Years

My experience of being constantly on the move

David Drake
8 min readAug 1, 2021


Handwritten timeline of where the author has lived in a notebook.
Photo courtesy of the author — Timeline of moves from 1982 to 2017

For a little while, I’ve been telling people that I’m in the 24th place to call home. Turns out I was off by about 20%; it’s 29 places. What follows is a bit of the story of how I came to live so many places, and some things I’ve learned along the way.

I didn’t discover my 24 number was wrong until I sat down to actually write it out. I was inspired to do so when I came across a wonderful Medium article titled “How to Write a Personal Essay.” In it, Moore lays out a methodology for writing a personal essay which involves making a timeline and going from there.

“Turn your notebook sideways, so you have the most space possible. On one end is your date of birth, and on the other end is today’s date.”

So, I did just that, was surprised to discover I’ve lived in 29 places, and decided to go about writing from there.

Where I’ve Been

A lot of people are quite surprised when I tell them how many places I’ve lived. Whether it’s new co-workers, friends I’ve had for years, family members, or even a stranger at a bar: folks are generally surprised that one can live in so many places in a life of 39 years.

When you do the math, I’ve lived in a new place every 1.3 years since I was born. To be fair, one of the places was coming back to my parent’s house after leaving college for a bit, but other than that, it’s been everything from a girlfriend’s dorm room, to apartments, to houses, to a cement box in the middle of a jungle.

  • Oregon — 8
  • Utah — 1
  • Illinois — 2
  • Virginia — 4
  • Montana — 6
  • Virgin Islands — 3
  • California — 5

I also studied abroad in London and Paris for a couple of months in college, but I’m not counting those here.

How I Moved So Much

A hand placing a pin into a map to indicate a place on the map.
Photo by GeoJango Maps / Unsplash



David Drake

Accomplished Father, Leader, Engineer, Writer, and Wannabe Chef. @randomdrake