It’s been 2 years of staying in one place.
Do I miss moving around? Only a little… I came to a point in my life where I craved a healthy routine of sleeping in a comfortable bed, eating home-cooked nutritious meals, working out everyday, and of course getting my finances back in order. Not that you can’t have all of this overseas, you definitely can and I am telling you here that you can. Just, don’t make the same mistakes I did, although I did make some good choices too. Here’s my top five things to consider when moving to another country or taking an extended trip:
1. Don’t rush into new relationships
When you’re abroad, you tend to lose yourself in your surroundings as a way to adjust and acclimate. For the first few weeks of getting used to your new life, focus on yourself and what it means to you to be there. Create some semblance of a routine that is similar to one that you had back home, don’t forget where you came from and who you truly are. Find yourself in your foreign surroundings before you find someone else to share that with. If you jump into a relationship too fast, you’ll quickly realize that your “new” life revolves around theirs, leaving you with nothing of your own to fall back on.
2. Tie up your Loose ends
Life doesn’t stop back home when you’re 3000 miles away (even though it feels like it has). There are A LOT of loose ends to tie up, leaving for more than 3 weeks means you need to get your accounts in order and ensure things keep running smoothly while you’re away or transitioning. Here are some tips:
- Appoint a trusted family member to monitor your mail and scan it to you so you have a copy. Don’t have anything important mailed overseas, trust me on that.
- Talk to your banks about your trip and create alerts for all your bank accounts so you have a handle on fraudulent activity.
- Call both credit bureaus (Equifax & TransUnion) to ensure you have NOTHING outstanding out there that will haunt you years later.
- Pay your previous years taxes and have a plan for next year.
- Cancel all your accounts that you won’t need: Car Insurance, Cellphone and Gym Membership. Make sure these are closed and you don’t owe them anything.
- Sell your possessions or place them in storage that you control. Leaving your belongings anywhere else will most likely mean they’ll be damaged or lost. Leaving for a year is a long time!
- Get an unlocked cellphone, and conversion plugs.
3. Don’t be Strapped for Cash
If you’re smart, which you most likely are, you have a nest egg that will help you transition into your move or prolonged stay. If you’re smarter, you have an actual side gig so money won’t be a problem. The point is, make sure you have budgeted for your trip! You’ll need to give first and last month’s rent plus security for your place abroad, possible furniture, a cellphone plan, wireless dongle, and the list goes on! You definitely don’t want to settle into a dingy place because that’s all you can afford…and things can get fairly ghetto in some parts of the world.
4. Explore Alone
The best memories of my life can be summed up in trips I’ve taken alone. Of course this is dangerous in most parts of the world like um, India. But, obviously you have to be smart and vigilant about your safety. I’m also 6 feet tall and not skinny so that works in my favor. You may want to carry mace or a whistle. I traveled to Goa alone and had an amazing time of exploring the beaches on a scooter, going on a date that included mojitos and a concert, shopping like it was my cardio, and reading by the pool. I also did solo trips around Delhi to explore different touristy spots on my own. I’ve done some cool solo exploring in SF and NYC – definitely recommend it.
5. Don’t Say No
When I’m outside my comfort zone of Toronto, I become a different person. I’m full of energy, ready to talk to anyone, take risks, and am generally a happy person (ok, why am I not traveling now?) I find that most people share this sentiment, you just give off this newfound excitement and with that, you get cool opportunities and meet people on the same wavelength. Although, I’ve been reckless in my travel-happy attitude (who hasn’t in their 20’s?), I can advise that saying yes to spontaneous opportunities that your gut feeling approves of is the way to go! At some point, you do start to feel comfortable abroad and get into a “routine”, just always remind yourself where you are and how grateful you are to be there. Stay Travel Happy!
Have you gone on any extended trips abroad or lived abroad? Do you have any additional tips you can share?