How to Take Baby Steps to Making the Big Move

Posted on January 18, 2009 by

Through the past few years of moving from one city to another, many people have asked me these questions again and again, ‘How do you get all that money to travel?’, ‘Have you considered carefully about what it will do to your career?’ , and of course,‘ What about your family and friends at home?

Teaching in Tanzania

We had packed our bags right after throwing our convocation hats sky high, leaving all our University loan behind, and set off on this journey of a lifetime. To this day, I have never regretted a thing, and still loving every single minute of our globetrotting lives. Granted, we miss our families and friends from time to time, especially habits from home – like Alberto and his daily siestas, and for me, the ultra-spicy local food; but life away from home always has new adventures and challenges in store for us.

While these days, no one really questions us on our careers (We’ve somehow managed to find our directions in life despite changing jobs every year), many still wonder how we did it. It was never a bed of roses – we made many sacrifices, compromised with each other and weighed our life priorities constantly. But for us, it has been the most fruitful and fulfilling journey that has made every little negativity worthwhile.

To share how we made the big move of our lives, here are some of steps we took:

1.  Evaluate your priorities

Do you really want to live and work abroad so badly that you could forgo leaving your best friend behind, or a possibility of climbing the corporate ladder, or perhaps the long-term relationship with your childhood sweetheart? Remember it is after all a long-term move, not just another 3-week vacation away from home.

2.  Decide on where to go, and set a timeline

Most of you would already have a destination in mind- usually where you daydream of everyday- be it the Caribbean or Africa, you CAN do it! Book yourself on a 1-way ticket, and that’s it! No procrastination or hesitation! Have a date fixed for at least 6months away to have sufficient time for preparation and decision-making.

3.  Start saving hard!

You might have to forgo the Friday parties with the gals, or extravagant dinners at your favorite Italian joint. Saving hard needs some amount of discipline and sacrifices, especially for the big-city girls, who are too accustomed to the cosmopolitan lifestyle (the old me)! It really depends of what kind of person you are – it might require some adjustments, but soon enough, your piggy bank would be bulging so much that no fancy dinner would tempt you.

4.  Job-hunting with determination

Ask those who have moved abroad, and you’ll know this is always the most difficult part. Especially with this current economic climate, the chances of bagging a job close to your professional line are even slimmer than before. If you’re not too picky, try out these jobs that are always in demand:

  • Teaching English (in Japan, Spain or South America – everyone needs them!) – It’s the most popular choice and the easiest yet most fulfilling one I’d say.
  • Working in a resort or tourist-dominated area (try Marbella or Ibiza in Spain, or Disney in Orlando)
  • Volunteering (although wanting to help should be your priority, but this is definitely a good opportunity to experience living abroad – try whom we volunteered with)
  • Working as an au-pair (Living with a family as a part-time nanny is extremely popular in Europe- especially Spain and France)
  • UK/Australia Work Holidaymaker Visa – only for citizens of the Commonwealth countries (That’s how I got my visa to work in London)

5.  Just do it!

So you might not have found a job at the end of the 6-month hunt, but armed with your newly updated CV, detailed research on the job market and country you’re moving to, your chances of bagging a job is doubled when you’re actually there in person.  Time to set off on your dream journey already! The key to enjoying this experience is to have faith and determination in yourself – believing that you will do it. That, and some courage. So bring your guts, along on this life-changing journey that you sure will look back in future and smile at what a life you had.

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

12 Responses to “How to Take Baby Steps to Making the Big Move”

  1. Michael September 30, 2010 9:08 am

    Great tips, I'm on step two and scared of every step because of the above mentioned, career, family, etc..etc, I think just doing it is all you can do. I don' think there will be a shining moment for me that says it's perfect timing now. Just have to go


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