If you’re reading this you’re either curious about moving abroad and trying to decide if it’s for you or you’ve been considering it for a while and you just need something to give you that final push.
There are a number of things that inspire would-be expats to stop thinking ‘maybe one day when…’ and start thinking ‘I’m going to make this a priority right now’ but what would prompt you to start a new life abroad? Whether you’re just leaving education or nearing retirement, reading about the primary reasons people choose to make a new start overseas could help you decide once and for all whether the adventure is for you.
Growth, Learning and a Life-Changing Experience
Many people get to a stage where they feel the need to have an experience that changes their life and improves them as a person – a drive that some choose to satisfy by travelling or beginning a new life abroad.
No matter your age or where you move, a relocation overseas can spark an incredible range of experiences and learning opportunities. For many expats, having the bravery to take such a big step brings about a sense of independence, strength, and a newfound self-assurance in their ability to rely on themselves and their own intuition.
People who have a tendency to fret about others value the experience of learning how to focus on themselves. A new beginning abroad spurs great personal development for many as they’re thrust into an unknown world and have to relearn social norms from scratch.
It’s not just themselves people learn about when they live abroad however, another common sentiment from expats is that there is no better, faster or more efficient way to learn a language or appreciate a culture than to completely immerse yourself in it. If learning a language is a dream of yours, equip yourself with the basics and head out into the thick of it. Watch TV in that language, read magazines in that language, order food in that language and you’ll pick it up faster than through any other approach.
For people who feel like they’re stuck in their rut of a comfort zone without the confidence to break free and tick off that bucket-list, beginning a life in a new nation where they’ll be learning and experiencing new things every day can fill their lives with adrenaline, drive and inspiration.
It Doesn’t Have to be Expensive – You could Even Save Money
One of the most common (and understandable) hang-ups people have about the thought of moving abroad is money. The costs associated with plane flights, hotels, renting or buying a property abroad, renting a car… the list can seem never ending and very daunting.
However, there are many major cities in the world that are far cheaper to live in than London. For would-be expats, the main question to ask yourself shouldn’t be ‘how can I get that much money?’ it should be ‘what budgeting steps can I take to make this achievable?’ There are many books available (such as ‘How to Travel the World on $50 a Day’ by Matt Kepnes) that aim to show people just how affordable long-term travel can be and a quick look through Amazon or your local bookshop is certain to come up with plenty of reading material to get you started.
For the less-frugal of you out there who have trouble saving, an expat experience may even help you teach you how to save. Finding the right sites, the right information and the right places to eat and socialise may really help you get into the stride of doing more for less.
Popular travel-blogger Liz Carlson has come up with plenty of tips for managing money-woes and is happy to share them. Her blog post on countering the biggest excuses to not travel is also filled with handy resources for saving money. If you’d like to move abroad but are concerned about your finances, the main question you need to answer is how badly you want it, because in Liz’ own words ‘it’s totally possible, no matter how broke you are IF you make it a priority’.
About to Retire? You Could Enjoy a Greater Quality of Life Abroad
If you’re headed towards retirement and haven’t been travelling before (or even if you have) living abroad could prove to be the perfect way to spend your golden years. Expatriation is very popular with retirees but is it for you?
Even if you don’t have a considerable pension, there are numerous options available for retirees who wish to expatriate. There are also a number of benefits to moving abroad when you’ve finally got time to enjoy yourself.
Rather than simply being the time you stop working, retirement can give you the most freedom you’ve ever had. Some people can find giving up work a bit of a shock to the system and initially struggle to fill all the time that suddenly opens up. A new beginning overseas, complete with its own set of new experiences and lessons to learn, will ensure there’s never a dull moment and that the end of your working life gives way to something potentially even more enriching.
Embarking on unexpected adventures with a partner, finding new love abroad, heading up a great vacation destination for your family, or taking a long exciting break from life’s usual doldrums – retiring overseas could be just the change you need. If you’ve already been an expat in the past, why not enter the fray once more, this time without the worry of returning to work?
The pros of such a move are likely to far outweigh the cons and such a move is worth considering at the very least. With so much emigration information available online and a plethora of dedicated expat forums at your disposal, the planning process could prove easier and more enjoyable than you’d think.
Moving Abroad will Open You Up to New Experiences and Discoveries
We all get a little disenchanted with our day to day surroundings sometimes, and feeling like you’ve seen all there is to see in the town, city or country where you grew up is natural. Expatriation brings about much more than simply giving you new surroundings – especially if you move to a place you’re not very familiar with.
Of course, moving to a place you don’t know at all can be scary so it’s always better to be prepared before you set out for a place you’re unfamiliar with. However, no matter whether you’ve spent years planning or if all you’re equipped with is confidence in where you want to go and what you want to get out of the venture, every experience will be a completely new one.
You’ll go from a life of schedules, places you’ve seen, people you know and food you eat every week to a life where every person you meet is a new face, you’ll try exciting new food every day and even have fun getting lost while exploring fascinating places you’ve never been to before.
As you start to adapt to the new culture and begin to pick up bits of the language, your scope will widen and you’ll find a world of opportunities open up before you.
You might discover a new favourite food you’d never even tried before or develop firm friendships with people you might not otherwise have met. A single day packed with new experiences is a day that can be remembered for life.
Within days you’ll have enough stories, experiences and new tastes to tell friends and family about for hours… so imagine how many stories and new memories you’ll have made in a few months? Who knows, it may even inspire you to continue to seek out new places and adventures in your home country.
You Don’t Need to be ‘Ready’
To round everything off and really get you thinking, ‘why not’? A lot of people have perfectly good reasons to not expatriate, but a lot of people don’t – and if it’s something you genuinely want to do you’ll find that you soon run out of excuses.
A lot of the reasons people have for being hesitant to live abroad include money, which as we’ve already discussed is not an impassable obstacle for those who really want to make the transition. What about those other issues like family and friends? Your career? All the preparations you’ll surely need?
But as the header suggests, you don’t really need to be ‘ready’. Or rather, maybe you’ll never be ready if you spend so long dwelling on what-ifs. If you envy those who’ve packed their bags and set sail for the world because you genuinely want to do the same, don’t wait to be ready, just go.
Ginny Copestake, an editor for travel blog six-two, advises readers to not listen to their inner conscience’s worries and just take the plunge, comparing the start of a new life abroad to your first day of school or university, similar comparisons include starting new jobs or starting a family.
We’ve all been there, experiencing what Ginny describes as that ‘how the hell am I going to do this’ feeling, however, just like all those previous life-changing situations you’ll quickly learn to swim, not sink.
So when are you ready? You’ll finally feel as ready as you’ll ever be after you’ve made the move, not before – and chances are it’ll go better than you expect it to. That’s not to say don’t do your research, it’ll definitely make the process easier if you know where you’re going, how much money you’ll need or whether or not you’ll need to be looking for a job when you get there!
Big decisions like the one to move abroad aren’t meant to be taken lightly, on the other hand they don’t have to be that heavy either. If you’ve been thinking about moving abroad or doing some extended travelling for a long time, you may have been ready all along and not realised it until you found something to give you that final push.
Of course that inspiration ultimately has to come from within – but for those of you still on that fence exploring the reasons why people chose to emigrate, and reading some of their stories, can be a fantastically motivating factor.
We live in a time where it’s becoming more affordable to move freely around the globe and thanks to communications platforms like Skype it’s possible to feel connected to loved ones no matter where you live. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and moving overseas, have fun with the process and let us know how the move goes!
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