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We often take for granted how simple it is to get from place to place in the modern age. It is so easy just to get up and go that we forget how far we have come since the 18th century. This is especially true when it comes to packing and preparing for a long-distance move to a new home in an unfamiliar place. It is still a stressful endeavor in the 21st century, but it is nowhere near what it was then. 

Here are the major differences between moving long distances today versus in the 1700s. By understanding what they went through then, you can truly see how much the world has evolved.

Finding a Home

Today, finding a new home is easier than ever, even if that house is on the other side of the country. All you have to do now is to go online, find a real estate website, and then search for homes in your target area. In addition to seeing what homes are available, you can also take a virtual tour of the house to see exactly what it contains. If you want to travel to the house and take a real tour, then doing so is as easy as picking up the phone or sending an email to make an appointment.

This is a stark contrast to the difficulties of moving house in the 1700s. Perhaps the most significant difference is that people back then would not be able to see a house more than a mile away without traveling over to it. On top of that, a move to a different part of the country or even the county required weeks to months as they didn’t have the cars necessary to travel quickly and transport their goods. 

However, there were some similarities as to why people decided to move long distances back then. Just like today, we don’t typically make a choice to move to a completely different place unless our family grows and we need a larger space, or we are searching for a better job. People moved for the same reasons back then.

Even if they did find a suitable house, the process of securing the money to buy a home was much more different back then. While in the 1700s, they still needed to have enough money, and they still preferred to have a home that didn’t need a lot of work, there were differences, including their inability to find professional real estate help. Plus, since there weren’t any real mortgages until the end of the 1700s, they basically had to afford what they could with the money they had in their pockets.

Packing Your Belongings

Once the home is secured, it is time to pack up your current home and get your belongings to the new property. Again, the process was much different and much more arduous back then than it is now. Since the first true moving companies didn’t exist until the 1940s, people then had to basically depend on themselves to move their belongings from point A to point B.

If there was good news for the folks back then, it was that they typically had vastly fewer physical possessions than we have today. Typically, they only had what they needed to survive, plus a small selection of outfits. Because of that, it was easier to get everything they had onto a boat or carriage. What they couldn’t bring, they could typically discard without too much worry.

This was vastly different from what we have now. In the 21st century, we typically have more than we need, and if we were to move it all a long distance, we would need a large moving truck and possibly more. These days, we own so much that we run out of room in our vehicles and instead need to transport items via bike racks, cargo boxes, and ski racks. With that said, it wasn’t too different from how travelers in the 1700s had to pack their items on top of carriages and in the holds of boats. 

Finding Your Way

While securing a home and packing belongings was difficult enough in the 1700s, the actual travel across great distances was the hardest part of all. Transportation options included carriage, wagon, or boat. Boat travel could potentially be faster, but it was dangerous. 

In fact, back in the 18th century, there was so much danger and death that it was commonplace to calculate seaborne mortality rates. Traveling by carriage was just as treacherous as they never knew when wildlife or illness could delay their trip or cause harm to their party. 

Then there was the question of knowing where to go. One of the most amazing differences is how we navigate with the technology we have now versus then. In the modern day, we have GPS systems that allow us to tap in a destination with a few buttons, and it tells us how to get to a place 3,000 miles away. In the 1700s, navigation was much more different, and people often had to look to the stars or use a map. Needless to say, it was a much more challenging time.

Author bio: Miles is an independent writer with a background in business and passion for psychology, news, and history. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.