Living Abroad

Ever dreamed of packing up your life and moving overseas while spending the rest of your days drinking cocktails on a tropical beach, taking weekend trips to the mountains or living the high life in some of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities?

Or maybe you have been stuck in traffic on a Monday morning on the way to work and thought to yourself, “I’d really just like to be somewhere else right now…”

Well I’m going to tell you that, actually, that dream isn’t so hard to turn into reality.

Trust me. I’ve already done it. Three times in fact.

Before turning 27, I had lived in Japan, the UK and Spain. I lived in each country for a year, returning back to Australia in between for study or work.

While living abroad isn’t for everyone, some people have that urge to see what life is like in another country. Some people decide they’d just like a change of scenery, and find themselves in a new country, but one with a similar culture and the same language (think Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, UK etc, or Spain and the Latin American countries).

Other people decide to go the whole hog; they want a new country, a new culture, a new language, a completely new start.

Maybe you’ve always been interested in Spanish flamenco and picture yourself living in the Spanish countryside, eating tapas, drinking local wine and watching the sunset over the dry arid hills every evening (tempting!).

Or maybe you’re a lover of the French language, and imagine yourself strolling along the Champs-Élysées after having just eaten a plate of warm fresh pastries from the local Parisian patisserie every Sunday morning (also quite tempting!)

Over the next weeks I will be publishing a range of articles on moving abroad. The articles will cover the general considerations and preparations that are required before you jump on that plane to Italy to start your new life of coffee and pizza (though that sounds somewhat like my normal life back home….)

I’ll also talk more specifically about Japan, Spain and UK from my own experiences of moving to and living in these countries and the challenges you may face.

It is true that there are many things that need to be considered before jumping into the deep end and starting that new dream life in a far off distant land. Many of them are related to money; unfortunately that is just a fact of life. Others are related to leaving behind friends and family.

The most important factor, however, is you and the desire that you have to try something new, to start a new life, whether it be temporary or permanent.  Of course there will be hiccups along the way, and it’s completely normal to feel a mix of emotions – excitement, anticipation, anxiety, stress – and to feel them, often, all at the same time.

After finding a new home, Spain, for the fourth time, I realised that I might just be addicted to living abroad. Each time, leaving my real home (Australia) becomes that little bit easier. You know the drill, you’re good at packing your life into a suitcase, you’re already expecting that bag of mixed emotions to hit a week before you leave, you’re ready for the highs and lows of life in a new country.

More importantly though, you know you’re going to be just fine.