1. Don’t buy into the “hype.”
We need to talk about inspirational quotes. A gorgeous girl or guy with a cute rucksack ,nice pair of shorts as if they just walked out of a catalogue. If you decide to travel or move countries SPOILER ALERT you will not look like that you will look NOTHING like that. Stepping off a plane after spending a ridic amount of hours cramped next to strangers with questionable hygiene methods and watching re runs of shitty sitcoms with a dodgy gut does not result in a Victoria’s Secret model arrival. Truth be told you will smell like a toilet, look like you just fell out of a bin and will have no fucking idea what time it is and spend the first ten minutes angry and bursting for a piss while you navigate where the toilet is. WELCOME!
2. Life’s not going to be one big vacation.
Trying to find a job in a new country can be nerve racking, you need to try and convince new people that you can do stuff and you are reliable, dedicated a perfectionist blah blah blah. Be prepared to do crappy jobs, deal with crappy people or in my case deal with actual crap. The key to keep pushing through this is remember you have came this far, you need money to live and any work experience in said new country will give you a leg up the ladder for your next dream job. You will have days when you think stuff it I’m going home this is too difficult , things aint working out, I’m covered in mossie bites and my hair needs dyed and that is ok, but make damn sure you exhausted every option and gave it a good go, your future self will thank you for it.
3. Perception is not reality.
After being in a new place for a while this weird thing happens, you start to forget when you first arrived and life just continues. I often find myself thinking when I walk to work what was this like back home? Where did I walk past? What was my routine? This is both scary and encouraging. I say scary as you don’t want to forget your ‘old’ life, your own comforts the way you used to walk in the rain nearly every day and see the dirty stop outs on the high street toddling home after a vod too many the night before.
Encouraging as you have come this far, you have made a move and your new routine has kicked in, you are settled, you belong. Life in a new country is not all partying, travelling and chilling out. After you have been there for a while reality kicks in, this is the part which can be a smack in the face for some.
4. You’re going to REALLY miss your family.
Hugging and any form of physical contact is something I avoided at all costs back home, aside from when some shitty boyfriend ditched me but even then my mum would just make me a good dinner and I would eat through the tears eventually. You become closer to your family in your head, you never see them and every once and a while I have a moment when I think I really miss my mum, I want to go to the shops with her and accidently leave my purse at home so she needs to buy my Starbucks. I miss her slagging off my dress sense or muttering you stink of vodka. Certain times in life your family become more important and you realise how much you took them for granted when you lived in the same country. That being said my mum can still provide a pretty good bollocking from 9,443 miles away.
5. You have to accept that there will be things you miss out on.
Your friends back home get married, in the beginning you aim to go home for every one of these, I mean who doesn’t love a wedding. However the sad fact is this becomes impossible, the time off you need, the money it costs to fly there and the truth being it becomes hard to make those promises even if in your heart of hearts you genuinely want to be there. Unfortunately the same emotive decisions apply to births and deaths. The hardest part of living in another place is missing new life to say hello, and not being able to say goodbye at the end of a life.
Your mind will be all over the place, filled with confusion, regret and an overwhelming feeling of guilt. This feeling you will never get used to and no matter how many people try and console you on this one your feelings will remain. The only way to deal with this is to accept that life is for living, your people on the other side of the world are living theirs and that includes being born and coming to end of life whether you are there or not. Make peace with this and accept everybody has their own journey in life, it just so happens your one involved a long plane journey.
6. Make new friends, but keep the old.
Leaving your squad is one of the hardest goodbyes. Waving your safety net off usually involves hiring a dingy club with cheap drinks, a dj who reminds you a bit too much of the dodgy guy who used to hang about the pub that opened at 6am and a selection of sandwiches that you’re mum forced your aunt to make. Photos are being snapped left right and centre, it’s all a laugh until the lights come on then your face looks like Gene Simmons.
There will be crying, laughing and deep down you will be terrified, how am I going to make friends, how am I going to meet THESE types of friends. You won’t. These friends you leave behind are a special set of people, they met you at school, they know when you first had sex, they know when you got into uni and how you used to leave lectures for a hangover spew, they know about all your great loves in life and your deepest fears- they are irreplaceable. In your new country you will make new friends, friends with another background, different personalities and who will welcome you, look after you and make new memories with you. Its OK to have new friends and still have your loyalty to your originals.
7. Remember: you can’t buy independence.
Singing Beyoncé may make you think you can run the world or at least use a tin opener (some people can’t do that don’t get judgey). However one sure fire way to realise you know absolutely fuck all about the world is to move to another country. Figuring out how to use a train system when you can’t tell if you’re headed to stabsville is slightly unnerving. Using new currency when your literally trying to remember which note your handing over by looking at the colour like your still in kindergarten is a confidence boast right there. Trying to stop converting the money into your own currency so you don’t go “omg wtf that’s so expensive!” every two seconds when it’s actually not.
Being on your own, even for the shortest of times is exceptionally lonely. Lonely because if you are used to being around a bunch of people all the time the silence can get to you, trying to do things on your own like going shopping or eating out can feel depressing. These are all normal feelings, however my advice to you is embrace this, feel empowered and feel satisfied that you are not afraid to put yourself out there, and you have balls, not everybody can throw caution to the wind and see what happens.
8. You have to live with “no regrets.”
Moving to a new country is not for everybody, and I definitely would not have thought it was for me. As somebody with a ridiculously loud personality secretly accompanied with a lack of confidence it would be easy to assume I would be one of those people who could pack up and leave. That airport goodbye when I left my parents will stick in my head for the rest of my life, crying through security without looking back as I could not deal with it. I have the same feeling each time I go back now, I still cannot deal with it.
At those moments I have regret, I regret not being back home and getting to see people every day, I regret not being able to go to my favourite places such as shops or bars as materialistic as that sounds ,I regret not being closer to family when I lived there however I do not regret taking a chance. So , whether you have never considered moving overseas before, have booked a plane ticket and are currently having a mental breakdown packing your 23kg case or are on the edge of a fence here is your hug, your shove off the fence and something to think about all in one.
At the risk of sounding like one of those cringe-worthy quotes, life truly begins at the end of your comfort zone.