How I Prepared to Move Overseas

Have you ever thought about how awesome it would be to stop everything in your life right now and move to a foreign country? Well, that is the first step to moving overseas.  First of all you have to want to do it.  A lot of people will think this but will do nothing about it.  I don’t blame you, leaving your life, comfort zone, family/friends, career, savings, stuff, the list goes on, is by far the hardest part.  So how did I get past this point? Well, I analyzed my current situation and then mentally prepared myself.  I looked at my life, where I was heading, my goals and what I’d be doing next year.  For me I saw uncertainty or other words I had no idea.  I had no plans and the only thing I was committed to was my job, my apartment with 6 months left on the lease and my car loan.  All things I could leave without much of a consequence.  So I decided if I didn’t do anything now, I might not ever have the chance.  So I made the decision and I stuck to it.  I decided I would wait until my lease was finished, which was in 6 months time during May.  That would also mean I have been at my job for 2 years, a good number to have on your resume and I would be arriving in the USA during their summer so this would give me a chance to ease into their winter.  Now that I had a time frame I had to plan! This is what I did:

  • Saved my Money.  I am usually good with saving and I always save for travel, so I already had 6 months worth of solid savings behind me.  The next thing I did was plan out how much I would earn between now and May so I could get an idea on how much I could save.  To me it wasn’t quite enough so thats when I decided I would stay for an extra 6 weeks after my lease and stay with family/friends.  This gave me an extra $2000 just from not having to pay rent and bills for 6 weeks.  I didn’t take any annual leave for the whole year so I received an extra month of my salary from the payout.  I sold my car about 3 months before I left because it was costing me about $600 a month with the loan, insurance, petrol ect and I could get around fine without it.  Unfortunately I didn’t sell it for what I owed on my loan so I did have to pay about $1000 out of my savings (don’t buy a car unless you really need one, they really are a waste of money).  The last thing I did was sell all my stuff, which made me $4000! (I will be going through the process of selling my stuff in another post)  So just with strategically planning out my timing I was able to double my savings in a 2 month period.
  • Sold all my stuff.  I made the decision that if I was going to move overseas I didn’t want anything to hold me back (I will be talking about becoming a minimalist  in another post, but ‘stuff’ will hold you back in life, you just don’t know it until you get rid of it!)  I also wanted to make it harder to move back home then it is to move overseas.  This was another mental tactic I used.  If I didn’t have anything to go home to, meaning I would have to start again with buying furniture ect, I could avoid convincing myself I could easily move home if I went through any tough stages.  I eventually sold/donated/gave away all my stuff except for a few sentimental things and my three suitcases I was taking with me.  I could simply walk out of my apartment, jump on a plane and go. So thats what I did, I even went home to my parents and went through all my old stuff and got rid of probably three quarters of everything I ever owned.  Honestly, you need to try it, it’s so freeing!
  • Researched.  You can’t move to another country if you have no idea what you are getting yourself into.  I researched things like taxes, driver license, super, healthcare, bank accounts ect.  (I will be writing a post on what I researched and what I found out)
  • Made a To Do list.  I created a To Do list separated by month of all the things I needed to do before I left.  It included things like changing my addresses, book a doctor check up, purchase travel insurance, cancel subscriptions ect.  (I will be writing post on what I had on my to do list)
  • Quit my job.  For me this was one of the hardest parts about my move.  I had a really good job and I loved everyone that I worked with so it was really hard leaving.  It was also scary quitting a job and not having one to go to.  This is where all my uncertainty about moving overseas was.  Will I be able to get a job in the USA?  Will I run out of money? Am I going to be able to find a job when I get back? But I had to have full confidence in my experience, skills and professional contacts would lead me to finding a job in the USA.
  • Created a ‘Melbourne’ bucket list. Another thing I did to mentally prepare myself was create a bucket list of everything I wanted to do in Melbourne before I left.  I did this for two reasons:
    1. I have lived in Melbourne for 7 years and I had never been to things like the National Art Gallery, Phillip Island which is only an hour away and going to restaurants that I walked past everyday saying I need to go there but never do.  So what better time to do these then before I moved away.  I didn’t do this alone, I had invited friends because it was also a great way to spend quality time with them, plus they hadn’t seen a lot of this stuff too! There were so many times I got the comment “Bekah you should move away more often because I feel like I’ve seen more now then I ever have!”
    2. I didn’t want to get the case of FOMO (fear of missing out) on social media when I moved halfway across the world.  I knew this would make me homesick, even though half the time I would miss out on things when I’m in the same city.  So I wanted to mentality prepare myself.  I went to my usual annual events such as the Night Markets or the St Kilda Fest and really made the most of it, knowing that I would probably miss out on it next year, so I took the time to really enjoy it.
  • Said Goodbye. Do it! Don’t ever leave without telling people, you will regret it! If you do ever move away, you do not want to regret anything, because it will make it harder to be away.  The final month before I left I had something on nearly every night after work and weekends just spending quality time with my friends and family.  I also had a going away drinks where I could catch up with a large group of people at once.  That last month was probably one of the best months I’ve had in my entire life! I always knew I had good friends but now I know for a fact, I actually mean so much to so many different people, which is probably one of the best feelings in the world.  I was absolutely spoilt!

A couple of things that I didn’t have to worry about which are critical when planning to move overseas is obtaining a Working Visa and working out where you will stay after you arrive in your new country.  Since I have a Dual Citizenship with the USA I walked into the country with a ‘Welcome Home’ greeting and I had my family I could stay with indefinitely.  These are two things that are extremely important when moving overseas and shouldn’t be overlooked.

For anyone who is reading this and isn’t planning to move overseas, there is another message from this experience that I want to share.  I was living life and I had so many good times but it wasn’t until I decided I was going to leave that I really ‘lived’ it.  I started to really appreciate the people around me, going to events like it was my last time and savoring every moment of simple things like having a pot and parma at the local pub.  This was something I never really did and I enjoyed life on a complete different level.  Something I will try to continue in every aspect of my life from now on.

Make sure you check out my post on Why I Decided to Move Overseas 

IMG_9240^ One of the places on my Bucketlist! Warburton is only 1 hour from Melbourne and I had never been.  We packed up the car and camped for 1 night.  It was so much fun and so easy to go! I wish I had done this more.

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