I’m sure from the outside looking in Jason and I are living the dream. And for the most part we are! After moving overseas, we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, travel Europe as often as we can (you can see our adventures so far here) and both love what we do every day. But there is a little more to our story than that…
It’s a little overwhelming to think about how many decisions we’ve faced and emotions we’ve cycled through in such a short amount of time. But I feel like we’ve now made it safely out the other end and I’m ready to share our experience of moving overseas. Not just the good parts, but the difficult moments too. Which I hope will be good insight for you if you are considering/planning on moving overseas.
5 Surprising Things we Didn’t Expect when Moving Overseas
1. The decision to move is nothing compared the decisions that follow
The decision to move is actually pretty easy (my checklist below can help you out there). It’s the myriad of decisions that quickly follow that is the hard part. What to do with the house, our cars, our things? What to take, what not to take? Where to store the things we don’t take? What legal steps do we need to take before we leave? Where to go for financial advice? How to tell your family, friends and workplace you are going? How to handle their reactions? I think you get the gist… making the decision to go is calm and calculated, it’s what comes after that can happen very quickly and be quite overwhelming.
2. It brings you closer to your family and friends
Having always lived within 30 minutes of both of our families I never would have guessed living 24 hours away would bring us closer together. But I think when it is all you know, you take that short distance for granted. You know that you could go visit or plan a day out whenever you want to. So, you make less of an effort. Now that we can’t just pop over or call whenever we want to, we are far better at fitting in regular phone calls or sending messages about little everyday things.
3. Your relationship will be tested
And not just in all the decision making before you leave, but also once you arrive. You won’t know anyone else right away, you won’t have family and friends close by to talk to or spend time with. You will see more of each other than you ever have before. At the same time, you’ll be making big decisions like where to live or which bank to sign up with. As well as re-learning how to do the most basic everyday things like groceries, and paying bills. It almost feels like you are starting life all over again.
But I am not saying that this is a bad part about moving. It’s a great part, an experience that only you two will share. Something to look back on in years to come. And yes, you will have moments of frustration with each other, but at the end of it all you will be closer than ever.
4. Even after six months there is one decision we are still unsure about
The most heartbreaking decision we had to make when we left Australia for Switzerland was whether to bring our dog Lola with us. After lots of discussion, thought and tears we decided to leave her at home with Jason’s parents (where we knew she would be spoilt rotten!). There were a bunch of reasons we made the decision we did (I’ll leave those details for another post), but we still think about her every day and wonder if we did the right thing!
5. It’s made us want to see more of our home country
Who would have thought that living right in the centre of Europe and being a short drive or flight away from so many different countries would make us want to see more of Australia? And that is not to say that we aren’t loving every minute that we get to explore a new country. But it has made us realise that in Australia we were also just a drive or flight away from so many incredible places, we just took it for granted.
How to Decide if Moving Overseas is Right for you
Being on the other side of our overseas move now, I’ve put together the biggest make or break questions I think you should definitely ask yourself before you make your decision.
- Can you live without seeing your family and friends regularly?
- If you have children are you willing to move them away from their schools and friends?
- If you have pets can you bring them with you and if not do you have someone to look after them while you are away?
- Are you willing to potentially miss out on big family events like weddings, births, birthdays and funerals?
- Will you be able to afford trips home and if not is that going to be ok with you?
- Do you feel you are able to cope with quite a lot of stress and change in a small amount of time?
- If you will be making a financial sacrifice is it worth it for you in exchange for the experience you will gain?
- Will the move bring you closer to something you love like traveling opportunities, career progress or a way of life?
- Are you open to embracing a new culture and/or learning a new language?
Do you have any experience living overseas or would you love to do it? Let me know below!