2017 is upon us and more likely than not, many of us have already reneged on the resolutions that we set for ourselves. If you are reading this, it is likely to say that traveling or living abroad may be one of your goals. It almost goes without saying that this is a goal that I am encouraging you to keep. But before you take the plunge, here are a few bits of advice to help you transition to living life abroad.
2017 promises to be an…interesting year, to say the very least. And considering that the Canadian Immigration website nearly crashed in the aftermath of the most recent election, moving abroad may be something that you may be considering.
- Study Yourself
I know, I know, this may seem so cliche that you may be tempted to stop reading right now. But before you do, hear me out. Moving or even traveling to another country for an extended period will be more challenging than you could possibly imagine. The feeling of being constantly confused and disoriented can be more than a little overwhelming. So, before you move abroad it may serve you well to determine what it is that you can and cannot handle.
If you are a staunch type A personality, you may find it more than a little difficult to transfer to a culture that has a much more relaxed attitude about rules, order or regulations.
Conversely, if you know that are burnt out on the constant daily grind, moving to another major world capital may not be the best idea. Lastly, if you know that you suffer from digestive issues, it may be a good idea to move to a place renowned for its spicy food or infamous for its lack of clean water.
Make a list of your must-haves, your deal breakers, and things that you are flexible (amiable to). It will help you in the next step.
Now that you have gained a little knowledge about yourself, it is time to learn about where you want to go. And most importantly, how you will get there. This is the most crucial step because it will help you to set your intention.
Do need a work permit? Does the country offer a type of visa that will fit with your life or lifestyle? How must you go about obtaining your visa? Do you have to make an appointment and have an in-person interview? Or can you just slip all through of the required form through a slot at the consulate and wait for your visa to appear in the mail four weeks later?
Again, it may be cliched to say it, but the more you know, the less stressed out you’ll be when it comes to assembling all the moving parts.
This will be the least romantic part of your process. How exactly will you be able to make this a possibility? Do you have a handsome saving account? Or willing you be living off of a book advance a la, Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love? Or will you have to find work once you land?
These type of questions need to have a definitive answer well before the rubber hits the runway at the airline.
And speaking of airlines, how exactly do you plan on getting to your new home. Will there be multiple flights? Will you be able to make a life with a carryon and a checked suitcase? Or will a best friend or relative have to ship the majority of your belongings to you?
And about your new living space, will it come with a washer/dryer or must you ferry down to the laundromat? Or better yet, to the local river? Will you need a furnished apartment, house, yurt, or will you be free to decorate as you please? These may be things to keep in mind a long the way.
Just Do It
While it may be inconvenient to fly to Chicago to interview for your French visa, or drive to your state capital to obtain an Apostille stamp, life abroad will be more than worth the drama.
Keep this in mind when you are transitioning because the process can be rather taxing. But in the end, you’ll be able to say that you’ve done something that most people don’t dare to dream of. Or in many cases, don’t even have access to.
Take full advantage of your good fortune. And this year, let this be one resolution that you keep!