To quote The Clash, “This indecision’s bugging me,”...well, let’s do something about that. Step 1 with moving abroad is to decide “Why.” You are not 20-something throwing everything in your parent's basement while you take a gap year. This is pulling the plug on your life and making sure you do it successfully. So before you start bragging to friends how you’re going to swing in a hammock all day, get very clear on your motives. After all, moving overseas involves changing how you do everything in life, I mean everything! So, let’s jump in together.
Let my move overseas pro and con list stir you into action (Pro’s):
*Live at the ocean-love the desert but the desert doesn’t love me; I’m a water baby.
*Good public transportation and medical-Someday I may be elderly and still want to be mobile.
*Freedom of religion and safety-As a single woman, this is critical.
*A culture and people that I can embrace-You may be learning a new language and customs. Make sure you choose a culture you can fall in love with.
*Financially simpler life, more balanced life-This is self-explanatory.
*A deep desire to contribute more to our world, to inspire people-If I can encourage people to live, grow, be brave, love, then I’ve left the world a better place.
Just as important, if your reasons for leaving include running away, avoiding something in your life, or language that may include, “I’m sick and tired of ______, That’s it, I’m outta here…” then it’s best you stop now. As you’ve guessed, creating a Pro and Con list is a great place to start.
Also, get clear about what you don’t want (Con’s). For me, the top 5 are:
Tropics (too many bugs who love to munch on me), rough and tumble language that I don’t want to learn, metropolitan cities with pollution and challenges of large cities, inland location, any anti-American, or discrimination toward women. Gain clarity by creating a Pro’s and Con’s list.
Get clear about your priorities so you don’t get swept away and lose yourself in a sea of hype, only to wash up on the shore of your life, disillusioned. This article may talk you out of becoming an expat, that’s ok. Remember, for me, this has been a 5-year goal with countless doors flying open with the winds of change bringing clarity and new opportunities. Doing this simple exercise can help you confidently plant your dream seeds of living abroad.