Ah, no man’s land – the point in your PCS when your belongings are gone, your house is empty and your soldier is out-processing.


You are deep in plasticware, cleaning supplies, and spending your last moments with friends while you still can. Whether you’re all-too familiar with this phase, or a first-timer like me, here’s what may surprise you.

Your Home

  1. You realize you can live on less.

Some days you’re roughing it, and others you’re inspired to become a minimalist at your next duty station.

  1. You blame it on the movers.

Your child’s favorite toy? The movers took it. Your comfy couch? The movers took it. Your bin full of trash? The movers took it…but why?

  1. You learn to stop opening cabinets because they are empty.

Or maybe you don’t. We’re all creatures of habits.

  1. You try to use up all the food odds and ends.

Thankfully the internet is there for recipes, but you still end up eating out more than you planned on. Moving is stressful, who wants to cook every night?

  1. You discover what you cleaned well and what you never cleaned at all.

My husband contributed this gem…hmm.

Your Lifestyle

  1. You experience a rainbow of emotions.

Between stress, tears, laughter, excitement and confusion – buckle up, you’re in for a ride.

  1. Day drinking is a thing.

Because point #6. It can’t just be us, right? Or maybe it’s stress eating, or binge-watching Netflix — you get the idea.

  1. You become a broken record.

You constantly answer where you’re going next, when you’re leaving, and how you feel about it. Insert rehearsed smile and positive attitude.

  1. You are running a laundromat.

You wash and wear the same handful of outfits again and again…for months.

Your Friends

  1. You meet amazing friends right before you move.

Thank you, fate — where were these perfect matches three years ago?

  1. You carpe diem like it’s going out of style.

What’s one more drink or a super late night out with friends? It’s now or never.

  1. You constantly hear how much you’ll be missed.

Congratulations! You’ve bloomed where you were planted, made real connections and have something lasting and meaningful to show for it.

This is the third installment in my series chronicling our first PCS. Follow our journey and read my first and second articles here.

Please stay tuned for my next piece as I navigate through my PCS. Special thanks are extended to AFN Wiesbaden’s DJ Paul Hughes, aka “The Brit,” for inspiring this series.

Listen In

Click to hear Jackie’s radio interview with Paul “The Brit.”


Jackie Toops Head ShotA self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops chronicles her experiences in Europe through American eyes. Born in Florida and stationed in Germany, the mother of two enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Currently she is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and a recurring on-air guest with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen traversing Europe with her Canon, a coffee and two small children. Follow her on Twitter.



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Krystel is the mom of two and an Army Wife. In addition to Army Wife 101 she is the Co-Founder of SoFluential.com a digital media agency that connects brands with the military market. She has appeared on MSNBC ,FOX LA and formerly was a weekly contributor to HLN's "Raising America". She has written for various outlets including Sheknows and Lifetime and is a big fan of cupcakes and french fries.

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