The Emotional Side of Moving Abroad

A couple of weeks ago I began to dig deep on the topic of moving. Probably because a lot of my close friends were going to start their lives in different countries all around our beloved planet and this, of course, affected everyone. First of all, I moved around 5 times to this day. So far, I have lived in Slovakia, Hungary, Japan, and the UK. London is currently where I am living permanently and actually, on the 5th of September I was celebrating my 4th anniversary here. I guess my experience with packing up a life and going somewhere new is quite different because I got used to it as I was growing up. I spent most of my weekends in my hometown with my grandparents and then the weekends in the city, so it already felt that I was having multiple places to stay at, or let’s call them “homes”. Then as I was growing up and my family was expanding too, the pool of these “homes” got bigger. Now that I think about it, it feels like I do have a thing for a nomadic lifestyle, but it is good to have bases where you can lay your head down and rest for a bit. I cannot make these events into a list of “which had the most impact on me” because I think all of them did in one way or another, but I certainly can differentiate between the states of mind I had. Fear is one of the main feelings we experience when we want to try out something new in general, so when it comes to changing your environment and moving to a new place, fear comes in many different forms. 

“Is it worth it?”

“What if it’s going to be bad?”

“What if I fail?”

“Am I going to have friends there?”

“What if I don’t get a job?”

“Should I leave this safety?”

These were some of the questions I was having when I wanted to go somewhere, and as I was talking to my friends, they had similar concerns. Now, I am not here to paint a utopistic picture of this, because the reality of it is that yes, it is going to be challenging sometimes, and you’ll fail, but guess what, your sense of the world is going to change completely. You can meet people from different cultures, and you could learn so much about yourself and everything else. A word of caution though, as one of my favourite Latin proverbs says – Animum debes mutare, non caelum – or in English – You should change your state of mind, not the sky – so if you are planning to run away from your problems, I am here to tell you that they are going with you too. Trust me, been there done that. But let’s assume we are all fine and ready to pack our bags to hit the road. The second feeling that you will encounter is all about safety. We as human beings have an instinctive need for safety. That is why it is difficult to leave your hometown, your family, your friends, or whatever you are about to leave behind but as I am meeting people, I tend to find that if we place our pillars of stability within ourselves and not places and people, somehow we gain that trust and comfort that no matter what is going to happen, we will overcome those obstacles. A supportive environment also helps, but we all have those individuals who try to hold us back and they say, “I am just concerned for you”. They are not. They have their problems which probably have nothing to do with you and if you go away, these people will eventually fade away, which in my experience, is very liberating. 

If you are done with the emotional side of moving, there are some practical things to consider. Firstly, it is time to Marie Kondo your belongings because it is a pain in the neck to travel around with 5 suitcases. You can have most of your things packed into max 2 suitcases and a carry-on bag. If you still feel that you need something, have someone send those boxes after you have arrived and settled in a bit. I think it is also good to do a bit of research about the country and the city you are going to. You know, how to open a bank account, maybe you need to register for a tax number, how to rent properly and how to avoid scams. I feel like the internet is filled with articles and videos on this one. And please, join some groups whether they are on Facebook or Meetup and ask around your network if they know someone living in that area because that could be a huge help in the beginning. If you have done all these, well then it is time to book your ticket and enjoy the ride.

Image credits: Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

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