The decision to pack up and move across the globe shouldn’t be taken lightly. For some people jumping from country to country every few years is easy and they love it. For others it can be difficult trying to arrange everything before you hop on that plane to leave. Either way it is a major life changing decision.
Everyone has a reason for moving to a new country. Be it for a fantastic job opportunity or simply because you want to try out something different and see where life takes you. Whatever your reason, here are some tips and pointers to help guide you if you’re thinking of moving…
What to do with your house and car
If you own your home you only have two options, either you sell it or find someone you trust to rent it out. Hiring an agent to do all the dirty work for you will make renting it out easier especially since you won’t be around to do all the necessary checks.
If you rent a property, either wait for the lease to expire, find someone else to take over your lease or simply up and leave if that’s what you want to do.
We chose to sell our cars simply because my husbands job came with a car. Before you import a car into a new country be sure to read up on all the rules and regulations as each country is different. If your car is fully paid off it makes the whole process much easier, if it’s not you may want to reconsider importing it and sell it instead.
What to do with all your stuff
Selling all your stuff is a great idea if you have limited space for items you have set aside to take. Sentimental items for example. It’s easy to buy couches, beds and kitchen appliances in your new country, but grandma’s cut crystal glass champagne flute not so much.
You also need to decide how long you will be gone for. Is your move more permanent or do you know you only have a year or two contract. With that in mind it is also easier to decide what to do with things like furniture, if it would be better to ship it to your new location or not.
On a personal note, we got all our furniture sent to our new home in Lusaka, Zambia. For us it made a huge difference in the way we settled down and made this our home. It definitely helps being surrounded by your personal and familiar items.
To take your pets or not to take your pets
For some people, like us, this was a no brainer! Oscar was coming with us. We arranged for an agency to do all his paperwork for us. I took him for his full medical checkup which he passed with flying colours and off we went. Having an agency do all the nitty gritty certainly makes life easier since they know exactly what papers you will need and what checks need to be done. With the very limited quarantine laws these days, it is so much easier transporting our furry loves across boarders!
Finding a new house
It is important you find a new house that fits your needs. Granted no house is ever perfect unless you build your dream home, however finding a comfortable new home will make the transition so much easier. I am lucky enough to have a husband who knows exactly what I love and we both have similar ideas. He found a lovely home for us, before I even landed with Oscar. By the time the two of us arrived all our boxes and stuff were ready to be unpacked in our new home. So for me this part was easy, thankfully!
Making friends and exploring
Connecting with people and joining expat social media groups is a great way of meeting new people in the same boat as you. Whenever we go to social gatherings we are surprised at how big the expat community is, and everyone knows everyone.We don’t have any children yet, but I would imagine your child’s school would be a great place to make new friends too.
It is important to get out and explore your new city and country as a whole. We absolutely love our adventures in Zambia and we have been fortunate enough to have travelled quite a bit and seen a huge chunk of the country, with lots more to explore too!
It is important to remember that your new country may not work the same as your previous one. Africa for example can be a tough place to live, but it is also very beautiful. Power cuts and water shortages are a very regular thing and it forces you to invest in things like a generator or inverter system plus a water tank. We also cannot drink the tap water out here so purified water is an absolute must, even for our pets. You need to learn to take the good with the bad and remember why you chose to move.
Of course there is the difficulty of saying goodbye to your family and friends. It is awful and I don’t believe it gets easier either. We have lived in Zambia for four years now and each goodbye after a visit back home is just as hard as the first one. You also soon realise you’ll miss out on important occasions like weddings, birthdays, births and just good old fun times. Unfortunately you cannot go back for every occasion so you learn to prioritise. The fun part about moving to a new country is you then get a load of visitors wanting to come and see where you live and what life is like for you in your new country, and you get to show them everything!
Make no mistake moving abroad is tough, very tough. But you have to understand why you moved and what your goal is at the end of it. We are so happy we moved, as tough as it is, we do love our life here in Zambia and I would encourage anyone who is thinking about taking that step… Do it!!!