In 2019 my husband and I moved abroad to Cape Town from the UK. We said goodbye to our life as we knew it in Cornwall and flew 12 hours away to the tip of Africa. Moving here had been a dream of ours for a few years, and while we did plenty of research and planning, there were still things that took us by surprise. You can never plan for the unexpectedness of moving to a new country, but I hope that my tips can help you just a little bit if you are in the process of moving...
It is not as easy as it looks
Films and books, but especially people looking back at their own experinces through rose tinned glasses, make you believe moving abroad will be fun and simple. In Hollywood films it's all sunshine, bikinis, big beach houses and days spent in beautiful locations- what they don’t talk about are the struggles, frustration and worries that come hand in hand with a big move. Don't get me wrong, I would always encourage someone to make the leap, but I believe they should go into it with an understanding of what they're going face and be ready for the challenge. In order for the dream to become a reality there is a lot of hard work, planning and sorting out involved.
You'll appreciate where you come from
I'm sure you’ve heard it before- you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone! This couldn’t be more true about moving abroad to a new country. You quickly come to appreciate all the little things that you took for granted at home and you will value it more than you ever did before. Remember that the grass isn't alway greener, it is just going to be different.
I miss the safety, minimal traffic and quaint villages of Cornwall. I know I will also be excited to go for a surf and not have to worry about sharks when I next go back!
Decide carefully what you want to haul across the world with you and remember that less can be more. When we were sorting out to leave for Cape Town we found that we owned way too much and decided that we would in fact be happy living with much less. We only took two suitcases each with us- no extra shipping or large items.
This helped us massively in the first few month because we moved between different Airbnbs before we found a flat to stay in long term.
You will miss and be missed
This is difficult for anyone that moves abroad, but especially when it's along haul, expensive flight to get home. Family and friends will miss you and you will miss them too, but it can be made easier by planning holidays with them and keeping in touch regularly. Showing them around your new home is fun too!
Go with the flow
This one was hard for me, I love having plans and lists and knowing what we're going to do next! The last few months have definitely taught me to relax and go with he flow more. With a move abroad there will always be unexpected plot twists along the way, but at least it makes for an interesting story!
For us, things didn't go exactly as I had envisaged.... but that doesn't mean that it was bad or that we regret anything. For starters, we weren't expecting Covid_19 to hit us just a few months into our move and put everything on hold!!! It has disrupted my visa process too which then also has a knock on effect on me being able to apply for jobs. My parents trip to come and see us was cancelled and, like everyone, we don't know when flights will resume! And that is just to name a few of our hiccups!
This will change your life in more ways than one
This is not a small decision and it will change many things in your life- from your social life and hobbies to jobs and finances, many aspects of life alter when you're in a new country!
Try and enjoy everything because you never know how long it's going to last.