But When Is The Right Time To Move Abroad?
I’ve debated sharing this news for a while, but I figured it would be revealed over time once it happens anyway, so I might as well make it super clear – I’m moving to another country! It’s a decision that brewed over time and was always an eventual goal, so why now? How do you know when it’s the right time to move abroad? Here’s my story, thought process, and advice for anyone considering the same.
Choosing To Move To Another Country
It’s been a lot of planning in the making, lots of melt downs and panics, but also lots of giggles of joy and cheesy grins. I am Queen of hating change, so for me this is kinda a big deal. While it might not be the biggest life update on the planet, it’s important and scary and special for me all the same.
Close friends and family will know moving abroad has been on my mind for a while. Well, years in fact. While I’m not physically there yet, I’m excited to say that the one-way flight is officially booked, the visa is approved, the suitcase is being dusted off… I’ll be leaving the UK before long! To where exactly is TBC (don’t ask), but I know it’ll be somewhere in the vastness that is Australia, with a pit stop in New Zealand (of course, it’s me!) beforehand.
Despite the many many things to do and usual fears (and annoyance at the thought of two winters back to back) I’m so so excited for a new challenge and adventure.
Planning A Move Abroad
Here are just a few of the things I tackled in my decision to bite the bullet and book the flight, and how I finally knew it was the right time to move abroad.
It goes without saying that choosing the right time to move abroad (if at all) is a seriously subjective matter. These tips and thoughts are purely from my own experience, and might not suit everyone’s situation!
Careers & Choosing To Move Away
Jobs are often one of the biggest challenges to overcome when knowing if it’s the right time to move abroad. Here are my thoughts on tackling your career situation before moving abroad.
Make sure you’re not giving up on your career. For example, as Career Break Kate pointed out, it’s worth securing a good position before taking any break whether it’s temporary or permanent. Don’t throw away a good opportunity that will help you move ahead in your job, the world will still be there! Better still, getting a leg up in your career will help you find more opportunities abroad, or demonstrate your commitment to the company if you work for a global organisation.
In my case, I’m lucky to have a supportive company who embrace all sorts of life decisions and are happy to help. This means after nearly 3 years building a rapport and growing in my role, I now feel ready to take on the next step with a healthy bunch of skills and accepting colleagues alongside me.
Being Open About Your Plans
Talk honestly and openly with your employer. They might be fully supportive of your goals, and if you’ve planned ahead and played your cards right by applying for global companies maybe a transfer is available! If not, some companies are happy to look into alternative options for you, such as remote working, sabbaticals, or shifting into a more flexible role.
We live in a world of ever-growing workplace flexibility, from unlimited annual leave to digital nomads, there are plenty of ways that show you don’t have to choose between a career and your dream home location. A content employee is going to be able to work to the best of of their ability wherever they are, so living somewhere that makes them happy can be a great win-win for all. However, such circumstances don’t always happen over night. For a smooth transition, keep the conversation flowing about your life plans, and show that you’re eager to make it work in a situation that mutually benefits you and them!
I can’t ignore here that remote working or flexible jobs aren’t for everyone, nor are they possible for every industry. Regardless of that fact, initiating open dialogue about your wishes to move abroad will help your plans to move abroad in any role. Whether it means giving your employer a heads-up in advance, a chance to network and connect with those in your new home, or helping you elevate your chances for the work-life balance you’re seeking, it can only be a good thing. And if anyone tells you it’s a sign that you’re not dedicated enough, that’s ridiculous. Dedication isn’t defined by location or sacrifice to your personal life.
Knowing It’s The Right Time To Move Abroad
I know, it’s a pretty big question. How DO you know when is the right time to move abroad? This is really the beating heart of any plans to move away from your home country. Some may argue that any time is the right time to move abroad, but for others (like myself), it requires a fair bit of thinking and life-planning to really be set in the decision.
For me, it’s always been a matter of when rather than if. By this I mean that I’ve always wanted and longed to live away from the UK. All I knew is that I wanted to be sensible about it, and not have any regrets on how I made such a move.
Taking The Pressure Off
Such a big decision can be scary. Don’t put pressure on yourself. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked “how’s the moving plans going?” To have very very little news to share. It always made me feel like a total fraud, only offering vague ideas and whispered maybes. But I did it in my own time. Not that people were pushing me to go, mind. They’re just interested and supportive. Being honest that not much had changed helped me set realistic expectations for myself and others. And I’m a firm believer in communication so talking about options always helped and reassured.
Do a little bit of research at a time and build up a picture of everything you want to know and understand to know that it’s the right time to move abroad. This could be a whole number of things that shape deciding the right time to move abroad from knowing what to do about your job, understanding which country to live in, how you want your lifestyle to look, family commitments, and more.
Taking steps one at a time eases the pressure of such a big decision and avoids you getting overwhelmed by so many thoughts to contend with. I liked to logically reason various elements one by one, it helped made a clear map of what the consequences and implications would be, as well as weighing up benefits and concerns.
Trusting Your Instinct & Taking Advice
Knowing when it’s the right time to move abroad can sometimes present itself to you, rather than you seeking it out. For some, the opportune moment will arise as a result of some cosmic, star-alignment of fate. For others, it might be something more practical. You might have a feeling that you’re not really happy where you are, pining after a faraway destination that calls to you like a geographical siren. Then, suddenly it might all become crystal clear as the idea to move is solidified in your mind. A question, a comment, a thought, anything can spark that desire, and that’s when you’ll know it’s the right time to move abroad.
In my case, however, it was a slow burner. Like many things in my life, it’s taken time to really have the go-ahead from my worries and nerves about a big move abroad. But that didn’t mean I missed out on the defining moment. It was months of questions and back and forth’s on plans that went nowhere, until we thought “let’s just book a flight?!”. Best. Decision. Ever. It all kick-started from there, and we knew we’d grabbed the opportunity that arose (some lovely affordable flights) mixed with that dizzying confidence that comes from being self-assured. Take that, Anxiety!
Which leads me nicely into the next point of trusting your instincts when knowing if it’s the right time to move abroad: Take fate into your own hands. It’s all very well waiting for the chance, the job, the right time, but sometimes you have to have a pep talk with yourself and say “It’s my life, I can take control”.
And that’s precisely it, it was MY decision. Choosing to move abroad comes as little surprise to those closest to me. Throughout any worries about this life change, I valued their thoughts and support more than ever. Listen to the advice of others, but it’s your decision in the end. It’s ok to take a step back and talk about a different topic if you worry too many opinions cloud your judgement on what is right for you. Ultimately, that’s something you should try to figure out alone or alongside the person you’re moving with.
Moving Abroad For The Right Reasons
It goes without saying, that a decision to move abroad should be for the “right” reasons. That means something different to everyone, so I won’t try to presume what your reasons might be. In my case, “ALL” the right reasons are: adventure, lifestyle, love. Not necessarily in that order.
Booking A Ticket To Move Countries
I won’t lie. Booking that one-way flight was pretty scary. Not only was I checking a million trillion times the info was all correct, I was of course sweating buckets about such a commitment. This strange mix of nerves is topped with a wave of relief, excitement, and curiosity for the future. And there’s nothing quite like it! The fantasy was becoming a reality.
Some people can be spontaneous. Some people can’t rush decisions. And both are fine! Depending on your circumstances and personality, dropping it all to jet off could be the best adventure yet. For people like me, however, that’s a tad terrifying and I require a lot of planning and research before making such a move in the game of life.
Whether you’ve planned ahead or choose to book spontaneously, WELL DONE YOU DID IT!
Revealing The News
Next up, is telling everyone. My best advice when booking a one-way ticket: Tell your mum first. Or whoever you are closest to in your life. They will be thankful to have heard it straight from you, and being the first to hear the news will soften the blow of sadness that you won’t get to hang out in person quite as much.
I then told my job, because that’s the second-biggest impact on my new life – what would my job look like?! If you’ve had open discussions about your plans to move as mentioned earlier, this might not be such a surprise to your manager. If you’ve chosen to keep this one on the down low, prepare for a few questions and get a plan together for what you want the next steps to look like. This could be negotiating circumstances to keep your job and work remotely, take a sabbatical, or the notice period you’ll be giving. Whichever it is, go in with confidence and pride with taking this next step in your life knowing it’s the right time to move abroad for you!
Now you can tell all your pals and fam. You might get a few surprising responses ranging from tight embraces to disbelieving gasps, but be assured everyone is going to be stoked for your new adventure, and only want you to be happy.
Making The Plans To Move Abroad
Once you’ve made the decision that it’s the right time to move abroad, now it’s time to crack on with planning. The decision to move abroad can seem like the biggest challenge, but with the practicalities of actually doing it can come a lot of other, rather different, complications and hurdles.
I knew what those plans would look like, which made the process way less troublesome, but no less stressful. It’s good to know what you’ll be facing BEFORE you dive into the decision to move abroad, but once you get there be aware that you’re not out of the woods yet. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources and helpful information out there – get researching!
When making plans to move abroad, try to set small goals. It can be daunting enough as it is without overwhelming yourself with visas, health insurance, jobs, house hunting. Take it one step at a time, and figure out what order to do it in. Try making a timeline, or a spreadsheet, or whatever medium excites your Inner Organiser. Knowing the priority items to work on, how long they might take, and any blockers involved eases the burden from your mind.
I also can’t stress enough about utilising the support of those around you. Telling friends and family about your move will naturally come a lot of curiosity on the progress, so be sure to reach out to them and take them up on any potential help. There might be a friend of a friend connection who went through something similar that can relieve the worry for you, or a pal or two might offer to help you pack your belongings up. That’s what friends are for, and while you’re still living in the same place – make the most of them!
So that’s my big secret… ta da! I’ve had the flight booked for a while and have been itching to reveal it, but was waiting for the “right time” and after telling those closest to me. Ironic, isn’t it?
For exactly how long is undecided too, my plan is to just see how it goes and keep assessing it. One step at a time!
Ultimately, knowing the right time to move abroad can only be answered by you. If you’re thinking of moving abroad, I’d love to hear how your thought process is going, or if you’ve gone through something similar how you reached the decision.
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