I feel like it’s a slippery slope – you move abroad once, then you want to do it again, and again, and again. I moved to Paris for a year at the age of 20, and Matt to Australia at the age of 19, so we’d both experienced the incredible things that come from living in another country. Only this time, we got to do it together.
Funnily enough, I don’t even remember how or why we chose Vancouver. All I remember is looking at photos of a beautiful city surrounded by mountains and ocean and thinking, “Yeah…I guess we could try that out.” Now, a year later, this place that I once knew absolutely nothing about is a place that we both consider to be home.
Moving abroad is definitely the best and hardest thing i’ve ever done. The best because it’s made me so confident, strong and open-minded, and it’s been SO much fun. The hardest because I feel like i’m living my dream life, only my team back home can’t be a part of the adventure for more than a few weeks a year. But I guess that’s the trade-off and just one of the things you have to live with.
One thing for sure about moving away is that it will change you, forever. Here are 8 things you need to prepare for if you’re planning a big move abroad.
1) Anything is possible
It sounds cliché, I know, but moving away teaches you that anything is possible. When I look back on my mindset before we came to Canada, I placed so many limitations on myself. I remember once wanting to start a blog, but talking myself out of it as I thought I could never do it. Fast forward 2 years and Go Live Explore is such a huge part of my life and brings so many opportunities. Had I not moved away, I probably wouldn’t be in the same position as I am now.
Moving away is challenging and it forces you to push your boundaries and really get yourself out there. You have to find new friends, a new job, a new home, a new groove – pretty much new everything. It’s not easy, by any means, but it’s SO worth it. Because once you do that, everything else suddenly gets easier. The world becomes your oyster and anything becomes possible.
2) You own too much stuff
Okay, this isn’t really a deep or meaningful realization, but it’s a realization nonetheless. Only when you’re forced to condense your life into 2 suitcases do you realize how much stuff you have. I was shocked at how much useless crap I owned, and not only that, but how much money I’d spent on it too.
If I calculated all the money that I’ve spent on fad hair products, nail polishes, shoes that never even fit properly and clothes that I never had any intention to wear, I’d probably be able to afford another 3-month trip around Asia.
3) Your accent is an instant icebreaker
I’m always fascinated in someone’s story if they have an accent. And surprise surprise, people are always interested in you when you have an accent as well!
It always makes me laugh when the clichés come out and people ask me whether i’ve met the Queen or if I drink tea every day. My favourite is when people ask me to “say something dumb” because apparently, anything sounds intelligent when you say it in a British accent. I’m not complaining at all – it’s honestly the best icebreaker, which is brilliant when you’re trying to get out there and make friends.
4) Some people just don’t get it
This is definitely one of the harder lessons you’ll learn. The reality is that some people just don’t get it. They’ll assume you’re running away from something or question how you could possibly be happy living a life so far from home. You’ll try to explain it from your point of view, but in the end, you just go around in circles.
Because some people just don’t get it.
It’s different and risky and for some it’s pretty shocking, so you can’t expect everyone to understand what you’re doing. You just have to suck it up, smile and know in your heart that what you’re doing is right for you.
5) Home really isn’t that bad
There are some comforts that you’ll just never find elsewhere (like custard creams and good teabags), and I don’t think you ever fully appreciate your home until you leave. When I visited the UK briefly last year I saw it in a different light. I appreciated the culture and the architecture and funnily enough, how good the grocery stores are. I realized that it is a pretty cool place, and I don’t think i’d have come to that conclusion had I never left.
6) It’s not all fairies and goldd ust
I’m not going to sugar coat it and say that moving away is all fairies and gold dust…because it’s not. It’s HARD. It’s different. It’s foreign. You can’t just pop back to your parent’s for the weekend. You can’t take your best friend out to celebrate her birthday. You can’t call your dad at all hours of the day because there’s an 8 hour time difference. All because you live thousands of miles away. Distance isn’t easy, that’s for sure.
But ultimately, moving abroad is a choice, and choice is all about sacrifice. When we make a choice, we consider this: what are we willing to lose in order to gain? When you decide to go on holiday, you’re willing to lose money to gain a week in the sun. When you move abroad, you’re willing to give up being close to your team in order to gain life experience and opportunities.
7) You’ll change forever
The whole process of moving away changes you.
You become more confident and develop this deep trust within yourself that you’ll find a way to work it all out. You develop new priorities and new passions. You become interested in things that before, you never even considered, and lose interest in the things you’ve loved for 20+ years. Before we moved here, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a pair of hiking boots. Now, hiking is one of the things I love the most (although I did find super stylish boots, of course).
Some things, though, never change – like your relationships. You appreciate your family that bit more because you can’t see them every day. And even though you go without seeing your best friends for a year or more, you still share this deep, unbreakable bond, and when you get back together again, it’s like no time has ever passed.
8) It’s all one big rollercoaster
…and it’s a fun one too. I now have this constant desire to explore and learn and push myself to achieve new things. And I love it.
Who knows whether we’ll live abroad forever – we can save that question for another blog post. All I know right now is that for me, it’s one of the best decisions i’ve ever made.
What are your thoughts on moving abroad – would you do it? Are you living abroad right now? Drop me a comment in the box below as I’d love to hear your take on it!