Lessons I Learned Moving Abroad

February 3, 2018



Happy new year! It’s 2018! I know I’m late but, January has been full on for me that included a very unfortunate incident with my computer that had it in the shop and out of my possession for a large part of the month. My new year’s resolution to blog more consistently will just have to ignore the last 31 days. Regardless, a slow start is better than no start.

Like I mentioned earlier, January was a busy month. Life update: I now live in France. Les Allues, to be exact. And since this was my second leap in two years I thought I’d share some of my wisdom for anyone thinking of moving. Living somewhere is not like being on vacation; it’s way better. And even if you’re not a perpetual dreamer, like moi, even the simplest things you do in a new place like walking down the street and grabbing a coffee can feel new and exciting. Even the sun and the moon will look different. The air feels different, smells different. And YOU get to be different. Well, actually, you’re the same but just as this place is new to you, you are also new to it, and being the foreigner can be fun. It won’t last forever, of course. You will get used to the run of things. The new quirks will become your everyday life; your home.

I’m sorry if you have ever had to move because of circumstance: visa/permit restrictions, health factors (yours or others), or job re-locations. Basically moving for any reason that isn’t 100% your choice sounds less than ideal and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to choose where I live and to be able to move around with relative ease.

Now, here are the general lessons I’ve learned along the way that I hope will help anyone who plans to take a big leap.

1. Goodbyes suck and always will. The weeks and days leading up to moving day will be full of excitement and anticipation, but the grey cloud in the form of goodbyes cast a shadow that won’t go away until you do. Of course, family and friends will be the hardest. Regardless if you’ve known them all your life or if you’ve just met, saying goodbye to someone you care about will never be easy and you wouldn’t want it to be. And then there’s the stuff, your stuff. You won’t believe how much stuff you own and must of it will be easy to toss or donate. However, be prepared to get upset parting with apartments you called home and items that you loved but can’t bring with you.

2. Something will go wrong. It’s unavoidable. It can happen at any time. Hopefully it’s something that can be fixed easily and won’t cost you a lot of money (because in my experience most of the things that go wrong often come with a price that you didn’t originally budget for). But regardless of how big or how small the problem is, you might end up feeling stressed AF. Even if you are a relatively stress-free person, like myself, a little bump in the road could be enough to send you over the edge. Just remember to breath and…

3.  Focus on the why, instead of the how. A friend gave me this piece of advice a few years ago and it stayed with me. When the sh*t hits the fan, it’s easy to get distracted with the how’s; how is this going to work, how will I pay for that, etc. Instead, concentrate on the why’s, your reasons for doing this in the first place. It’ll help you see your goals more clearly and work through the obstacles with a level head.

4. Trust yourself. Moving is tough, and you’ll doubt your decision at least a few times along the way (even if it’s something you’ve dreamt about your whole life). Just remember, it’s not an adventure if it isn’t a little scary, so embrace the fear but don’t let it stop you.

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