Moving is a complicated and frustrating endeavor, whether it’s your first move or your fifth. There’s so much to keep track of, and just packing up the boxes to make sure nothing gets damaged can cause serious stress (speaking from experience).
Despite all of the complications that arrise and all of the stress that you’ll no doubt feel (if you don’t, please teach me your ways), it’s still an exciting time and is filled with newness that I thrive on. Throw in the fact that you’re not only moving to a new apartment, but to a new city and a new country where you may not speak the language or know a single person and you’re for sure going to be excited/terrified.
A lot of people think it’s a lot more complicated to move across the world that it is to move to the other side of your neighborhood, but actually, I find it much easier. Probably because I don’t pack up a kitchen and take it with me (I sell it all and then buy new stuff in a new country). Even if you do want to bring the entire contents of your house, it’s not that complicated, although it may be more expensive.
Here are a few ways that you can make that move less stressful and embrace the new life you’re about to start.
Take Part in the Culture
This is perhaps one of my favorite reasons for moving to a new country. You’re not just passing through as a tourist. You have time on your side because this is now your home. Since it’s now your home, you should probably make sure you learn as much about the culture as you can so that you are respectful. For instance, when I lived in Korea, I learned that you always hand people things, especially money, with two hands. You should also receive your change with two hands. It’s just the respectful thing to do.
Culture is something that makes a country; its part of the people and their heritage and the more you get to understand the culture that you’re living in, the easier it will be to fit in, make friends, and feel comfortable in your new surroundings. If you’re worried about making a bad first impression, or not getting along with any of your new neighbors because you think you have nothing in common, get to know their customs. Ask around if you have to, most people are more than happy to share their customs with new people.
Find a Place to Live
Finding a place to live that’s comfortable and offers the right amount of personal safety is half the battle. If you can find a place to live, a place where you can unpack your suitcase, put up your decorations, and turn it into a haven, you’ll immediately feel more at home. Whether you find a place before you arrive or once you get there depends on where you’re going, what your requirements are, and how long you’ll be staying. In Korea, we had our company find our apartment for us because we didn’t yet speak the language and I’d read that it is very difficult to get your own place as a foreigner.
In Mexico, it’s much easier to find a place once you arrive and it will be much cheaper if you can negotiate in person. Before you move, ask some locals. Reach out to expat bloggers to already live there and see what they recommend. Check out local listing websites for the city that you’re moving to. Just looking into something like Malaysia property is going to help you tremendously, as you’ll know what to expect based on the current listings the developers over there have available.
Handling the Money
Money is a big worry no matter what it is you want to do in life, but when you’re travelling across the world you’ll want to make sure you have more than you’ll need. I’ve been in situations where when I moved abroad, I almost ran out of money and it was scary. You’re thousands of miles away from the people who care about you and would be able to help you and you’re doing this amazing thing. You don’t want to have to go home in defeat.
Before you even go anywhere, make sure you have saved up enough for at least the first three or four months rent (unless you’re going straight to a job that you’ve already secured, in which case, you don’t have to have a ton saved). Make sure you have money for food, for tranportation, and that there is also a little bit left for any emergencies that you haven’t thought of.
Take a week or so before you properly decide to move in to try out how your living expenses stack up. Look up what the cost of living is in the city that you’re moving to. Can you get buy on a $100 a week like I do in Mexico City or do you need to budget way more? Use a budgeting tool from the beginning to track how much things are going to cost and how much you are spending once you arrive. That way you can track every penny and make sure that you don’t run out of them!
Be Happy, You’re Traveling!
If you’re moving abroad, you’re hopefully doing it because you know it’s going to be a fantastic adventure. You’re out and about in the great unknown, soaking up the sun wherever you go, and meeting all kinds of people from different walks of life. You’re getting out of a routine that you’ve known for most of your life, away from the people who know you, and you’re paving a totally different path. Be proud of yourself, it’s not something many people do!
Settling down on the other side of the world, no matter where you’re from, is going to take a lot of time, money, and planning. It’s not like going on vacation, but it doesn’t have to be stressful either. Plus, your mom is still only a phone call away if you really need some advice.