When you find out that your family must move to a new duty station, what questions immediately spring to mind? Are you wondering what the housing options are at the new duty station? Or perhaps you want to know what the schools are like for your kids? Thankfully, I discovered another wonderful resource that will help you answer those questions. Lydia DiCola, a Navy wife, created a Facebook page where military personnel and spouses can go to post questions and quickly receive answers about duty stations across the world. You can find the Facebook page -- Oh, The Places We Go -- by clicking here. And, you can discover what inspired Lydia to launch the Facebook page in the Question & Answer section below.
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A: I'm a proud Navy wife and former teacher. My husband, Anthony, and I have 3 kids, ages 3, 17 months and 3 months. I wish I had time for a hobby! We've been together over 10 years (married for 6), and NPS (the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.) is our 5th tour.
Q: What inspired you to launch the Facebook group page Oh, The Places We Go?
A: My inspiration for the group came from many places. Several duty stations, including Monterey, have fabulous area-specific Facebook groups or other organizations to help each other quickly find the ins-and-outs. Some spouses' clubs have a booklet for sale that has similar information. While these are great resources, I wished they were available before we moved and for every PCS. I wanted to know where to begin house hunting and fun things to do as soon as we got orders. In the past, we were blindly looking for a house just based on its proximity to the base. Then about 6 months in, we would figure out where the military-concentrated areas were (where we would have rather lived), discover "hidden" subdivisions we never found in our searches, learn when traffic was most congested and along what routes, etc. So I thought it would be nice relieve some of that "just got to the area" stress by creating a central location where other military families could access that information or at least be referred to a particular duty station's page(s) or website if it was already created.
Q: What kind of information can military families expect to find on the Facebook page?
A: My hope is that families can find answers to any question they may have! The goal is to have documents of compiled information about recommended places to live, schools, how to avoid traffic, etc. created for as many duty stations as possible. The wall will allow people to ask the group questions about anything not covered...and the answer will hopefully then be added to the document so others with the same question(s) can find it without scrolling through old posts or reposting the same questions over and over.
Q: How can military families find or contribute information to the page?
A: Anyone can request membership, and all group members can add people. All group members are encouraged to create documents for any duty station about which they want to share an insider's view, or edit any already made. Differing viewpoints are encouraged... people don't need to erase or change what's written to contribute. The point is that even different opinions will give incoming families a place to START looking for houses, restaurants, soccer camps, etc. They can make their own decision, but we don't have to waste months trying to find options.
Q: Since launching Oh, The Places We Go, what has surprised you the most?
A: I was surprised how quickly members were added and how easy it became to just post a question about a duty station and get several answers (and potential points of contact upon arrival) within just a day or two! There was a question about moving a car across the country... that doesn't necessarily apply to a specific duty station, but the group was the perfect place to not only get an answer, but even specific company recommendations and price estimates!
Q: Is there anything else you want to add or highlight about Oh, The Places We Go?
A: My eventual goal with this group is to create a website that is more easily navigated (documents and wall comments are automatically sorted by date of creation or latest comment) and better suited to the military community. The group will remain on Facebook to facilitate connections and answer questions, but the website will hopefully grow to detail most stations for all branches.
Q: Thanks, Lydia!
* Do you want to know what it’s like living at a particular duty station? Need tips on how to prepare for a move? Or advice on how to handle a deployment? Then, tune in each Monday for tips and stories aimed at helping your next move or deployment go more smoothly. If you have questions, tips or stories you would like to share, send a brief email to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.