Moving to a new country alone? Make it an unforgettable experience!
So if you ended up on this page, then I bet you have an idea of moving somewhere popping up in your head from time to time. And you have some doubts, fears, whats-if and kinda regrets surrounding you. You are not alone in it. Whoever ever once moved to a new place, knows how frustrating, and scary this feeling might be. I have lived in 6 countries so far, and most of the time I have even moved a couple of times within one country. Then I would come to a precious country, later I would pack everything again, resign, and move again.
It has been 5 years for me moving back in force, from Ukraine to Poland, to Brazil, to Germany, back to Poland, back to Ukraine to recover, and headed to Spain. In the meanwhile, I had my planes landing in the USA and over 35 European countries.
Moving to new country is frustrating!
It is, and dear friend, in such situations, when packing all up, breaking all the beds, wardrobes down and sending the packages to the storage, the most important is to stay focused!
Come back to the roots of your idea. Why you made this decision of moving to a new country? Why the idea popped up in your head? Was it your job, your love, broken heart, better money, more traveling, better lifestyle, family or just a will to explore and dive into the unknown. Once the doubts come up, stay focused on the goal. Take a moment to sit down and write down all the pros and cons. Be realistic. But stay optimistic. If it is difficult, doesn’t mean it is not possible.
And if you have been dreaming of living in New York or walk the richest streets of London or Sydney – it is possible. We just need to find ways.
Once you are ready to pack your life up, make good research!
Research your new home
Even though, I am the one who loves the idea of unknown, extreme, and breath-taking. But let’s keep these emotions for your future trips and new friends, yet your pocket would not like the idea of being breath-taken. Good research will make your life easier, safer, and richer once your plane lands, and you have a plan for the first night.
- Compare the costs of living in your current country and your next one 2 months before the actual moving.
Check out this website which gives a great and most important REAL overview of what life is like in your desired place.
Most of the time we move to more expensive countries than we used to live in. List down all your expenses in your current country. And cross out those that you can temporally say no to. Restaurants, 3 cups of coffee, another nice T-shirt, club entries, a bottle of good wine – all of that can be postponed. You will rock the new city and become a king again, but firstly patience. We always need a back-up plan in case of an emergency.
Plan your income
I wish I could say we can survive without money, but not really. At the end of the day, you can not day starving. If you are moving to a new city because of the job offer, skip this part. If you are a freelancer, the one having a passive income, a sugar daddy/mommy or a good fortune on your bank account – skip it and enjoy the next chapter.
If you are the one, who is seeking the adventure and is ready to live on a tight budget for a while, don’t worry, there are always options for such people. I would recommend you to use all your skills and abilities to get hosted by locals. Volunteering at a local school, babysitting kids, teaching kids English, French, German, Spanish or any other language, giving dancing classes, bartending or planting avocadoes and taking care of elephants might be a good option for you to start the life. Plus such experience will bring you valuable friends, spontaneous ideas, exciting events.
Buy your time
It is always good to have 2-3 months before the actual move so to plan all the details, get cheap tickets and find accommodations/ hosting family. If you have limited time and about to end up in your new city/country soon, buy your time there. Do not book a room for 5 months. don’t sign any contracts for a new house for 2 years. Think smartly. Get to the city. Use Couchsurfing to meet locals and be hosted by them. Search for local charities and volunteering programs that can support you with accommodation and food when you arrive. This way you will get. to know the city, all dangerous neighborhoods, and plan it properly.
Check my blog post on how to use Couchsurfing and find kind people.
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Pack it finally up and move to a new country!
All jokes aside – you have to say goodbye to the 5th pair of sneakers. I am serious. I am the very one who hates saying bye to the cloths and especially boots. Yet the truth is most of the time we can survive without 85% of our garderobe.
- if you have not worn a piece of clothes for over a year — give it away.
- if it is too small/ too big – give it away.
- if it is too heavy – give it away.
- if it doesn’t have a pair, like an amazing shirt that lacks a proper skirt – give it away.
- if you are uncomfortable wearing something – guess what? give it away.
You will always be able to buy a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans once you need it. Your mission is to be as light and mobile as possible. Moving to a new country or a city with 5 suitcases is cool, only if a cab will bring you directly to your villa and you will have enough time and money to attend all those parties and business meetings.
Moving to a new country having good tickets
I have listed all sources that I use in order to find hot deals in my blog post about going traveling to Europe.
Check from time to time those websites so to see if there is no extra-hot deal to your new city.
Check different webpages and compare the prices via an agency and directly with an airline. There is no rule for it. Sometimes Lufthansa is cheaper via Skyscanner, and sometimes Vueling is cheaper if buying on their website.
Store your goods
You don’t need to drag all your 20-year-old goods after you. Family albums, Christmas socks from your aunt, a favorite teddy bear are cute and nice, but only till the moment when you have to climb the stairs to the 10th floor. Once you are settled down, your family or friends can ship it all to you.
- Give away or donate all the clothes and shoes that you don’t use or don’t like.
- Sell everything that is in a good state and can make money for you: furniture, plates, forks, books, plants (i know it is hard to say goodbye to your favorite flower), new cosmetics, gadgets.
- Everything that is left, store at your friend’s basement.
- Send all sentimental goods back to your parents’ house.
Now you are good to move out!
Get on that plane and land in your dream place
Here the most exciting part starts. Now you are on a mission – to have the best time of your life. Make new friends, get to know the local cuisine, cook with locals, dance on the streets, celebrate, smile and live freely!
In reality, you will face a lot of doubts again. You will feel lonely. You will feel unimportant. Alone. Scared. Frustrated. Poor. Lost.
The first step is to understand the problem and say it out loud. The second step is to understand that it is Okay. You are not the first one doing it. You are not the only one looking for friends and support. There are a lot of people willing to become your friends and share a meal with you. You just have to open up and be self-confident.
Check out some apps that were designed to help expats integrate and have fun:
- Couchsurfing Events – bring travelers and locals together: bar evenings, concerts, volleyball games, sight-seeing and so on.
- Couchsurfing Hang-Outs – a function inside of Couchsurfing that shows people who are willing to hang-out in real-time.
- Meet-Up – an app with events, sports activities, small trips planned by the very locals.
- InterNations – another platform that connects expats with each other.
- Lemonade Social – an app that brings creative people closer and allows to set a party on someone’s rooftop or at a bar.
- Facebook events – research the most popular upcoming events and just head there.
- Sports Clubs – nothing unites people better than a common passion. Most of the cities offer free out-door classes, sign up, meet people.
- Language Courses – one of the best ways to meet people just like you – ambitious and new to the city.
- Talk to strangers – there is nothing bad to start a small-talk when in a queue or a bus or on the beach. The worst that can happen, you will never see this person again.
Missing your home friends?
That’s the hardest topic for every soul that craves for some adventures and changes. It is never easy to say goodbye to your past life. It is way more difficult to say goodbye to your friends. But the truth is – you don’t have to.
Don’t move to a new pace deleting your past life. Be grateful for every moment that you spent with your beloved back home. Be thankful for every smile, hug, and support that they had been giving you for years. You will be surprised how small the world is and I promise you, you will end up meeting one of your friends on another side of Earth later.
Stay friends. Distance does not mean your feelings are canceled now. The time difference does not mean you can not have virtual breakfasts together. It is always hard to say goodbye and not have those people in your daily routine. But you can adjust your routine and you can still have strong relations despite having seas between you two.
Some apps that will help you stay connected:
- Zoom – is an ideal way to have video calls with your beloved ones.
- Homeparty – a social network that gives you a possibility to call any of your friends who is currently online and play games all together.
- Virtual Breakfasts – get up and cook breakfast together.
- Virtual Work-outs – don’t quit your routine and train with your friends via Skype or Zoom.
Go on a date with your city
I am all up for staying in touch with all your friends from the past and care about each other, but there is one ‘but’. Do not let your past prevent you from having your present. Let new emotions come in. Let new people come to your new life. Remember you were the one who made a decision to move to this city. You decided so because you had reasons and a bit of desire. You are here now and you have to live the best life you ever dreamt about. You can make your reality full of old friends and new friends. You are here for a reason and it would be a pity to waste such valuable time and not create memories worth sharing with your kids.
Create new bright memories
So get your butt up, put your favorite shirt on and go out. Go and welcome the city for appearing on your life map. And remember, everyone has ups and downs. Everyone misses the old routine, old jokes, smiles, parties, language. And it is okay to miss it and it is okay to be upset from time to time. But you have to remember that you can always come back if it’s not what you want now, But don’t waste a chance to create new memories and get stronger and more independent,