How To Move Abroad And Start A New Life

May 3, 2020

move abroad and start over passport on bedsheets

So you’re here because you want to know how to start a new life abroad. And as much as getting a new name, identity and moving to another country alone sounds appealing – you want to know how to do it for real for real.

As a little girl, I often dreamt about it. Running away to somewhere magical. A place like Narnia with no rules and sweeties on tap. Or to one of Enid Blyton’s worlds where you can live in trees with people who look like pots and pans. But, one day I stopped dreaming and actually did it. I disappeared. Three times in fact.

Once from school when one lunchtime we decided to rebel against the system, jump over the wall and begin the treacherous walk of what couldn’t have been further than a mile to my friend’s gran’s house. Needless to say, we were promptly returned.

There was also that time that I ran away to the library after arguing with my mum.  I stayed there for a couple of hours until I got tired and hungry. I’d made my point anyway, right? When I admitted defeat and decided to trudge home (again a mere five minutes away) she hadn’t even noticed I’d left.

And the third time? Well, that was a little more successful. So much so that four years after making the leap and moving to another country alone – I’m still here. Now I feel like it’s my duty to share what I’ve learned during the past four years with you.

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Ever wondered how to move abroad and start over? I'm sharing my tips for moving overseas alone and what I wish I'd learned sooner.

The truth about starting a new life abroad

If you’ve spent any amount of time researching how to leave the country and start a new life it’s likely something in your current life just isn’t sitting right. And I hate to break it to you, but if you’re travelling to run away from something that baggage you’re trying to escape? It’s coming with you.

That’s not to say that a change of scenery won’t do you the world of good. Just keep in mind that it’s not healthy to put ALL your expectations on the move itself changing your life. Compared to that, moving to another country and starting over is the easy part. 

I tell you this because that was once me. 

 

Why I decided to move abroad

I was miserable, in fact beyond miserable. I was depressed and fearful about the way my life was headed. So when the idea of moving to Australia came to me it seemed perfect. Like my way out. I became obsessed with learning how to move abroad and start over. This would be my reset button. The truth is all the things leading up to the move is what actually became the catalyst for the way out of my depression.

I saw a therapist, I opened up to my friends about some really difficult emotions and I dealt with the devastation of feeling abandoned by my friend who was supposed to come with me. Although I’ve grown in spades since I’ve moved abroad looking back now those were really the moments that defined me. I’d been going through life with my eyes closed and then one day I found the strength to wake up.

lying on sofa

Making a plan to start a new life abroad

I share my story with you because I want you to know that it’s okay, good in fact to identify that you’re stuck. Maybe you’re depressed like I was or maybe there’s something niggling at the back of your mind saying there’s more out there. Whatever it is, just have a plan ON TOP of starting a new life abroad that will help move you closer to where you want to be on the inside too.

 

Journal

If you haven’t already now would be a good time to sit with a journal and do some self-discovery. Don’t hold back. This is just for you. Write about what brings you joy, what’s holding you back and how you plan to move forward. If you’re serious about starting a new life abroad this is a great first step to take. Once you’ve written down your desires/fears you’re in a better position to bring in more of the good stuff and block out what/who is stealing your happiness.

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Research

If you don’t already know where you want to move to you’ll need to give some thought to what options are available to you based on funds, interests and visa allowances. Deciding where to start your new life is an extremely personal choice. For me, the decision to move to another country alone was incredibly daunting but made easier by picking the perfect place to relocate. 

Australia was far enough away from home to feel different but had a better climate, quality of living and rate of pay. Being an English speaking country was another huge plus as there was never really any culture shock to deal with.

diary and journal

 

Preparing to move to another country alone

Things that have become normalised in your everyday life can become overlooked when you start to plan your move overseas. Prepare in advance to make your first month living abroad as smooth as possible.

 

Visa

This is one of the first things you’ll need to look into. It’s all very well having the desire to live abroad, but if you can’t legally get there… well, let’s just say it would shit all over your plan. When I moved to Australia I did so on a working holiday visa and then later extended by completing regional work on a banana farm for my second year working holiday visa.

 

Finances

Make an appointment with your bank and let them know you’ll be going overseas so that your cards don’t get blocked for fraud. You may consider discussing your credit options also. If you have any bills make sure they’re all paid up and that you have a fund for emergencies. 

Once I arrived in Australia one of the first things I did was set up a new bank account then I used Transferwise to send the money over from my UK account.

 

Mail

Make sure you have a forwarding address for any mail. You can cut down on needless paper by cancelling things like bank statements and instead have them delivered via email. 

 

Health

Have a health check before you go and make an appointment with a travel nurse. It may be the case that you need to get some travel injections or stock up on birth control. Same goes with the opticians if you’re a contacts wearer. Or you know, just order some online. Work out how you will access healthcare overseas and make sure to purchase at the very least travel insurance.

Packing

Packing to move overseas is no mean feat and if you have your own house/apartment you may be tasked with the additional challenge of furniture. If you are planning on moving to another country and starting over on a long term basis it’s best to just get rid of things. Sell them for money you can use when you get there. 

When I moved out of my apartment I was reluctant to let go of my things and they’ve been sitting at my friend’s house in Scotland gathering dust. We both know I’m not going back, yet they remain there as a time capsule of my ‘old life’. 

The same thing goes for clothes. Less is more. 

 

How to move overseas with no money

If you’re truly lacking in the funds department and are going to struggle to get more it IS possible to move overseas with no money. Well, almost no money. But it will require some prior planning. 

 

Save money in advance

I’m sure this goes without saying but in order to leave the country and start a new life, you’re going to need to save some money AT THE VERY LEAST for your airfare and an emergency fund. If you plan on travelling or backpacking it might be the case that you decide to spend several months (or longer) saving. That means when it comes to the trip itself you don’t have to worry about money.

 

Volunteering and working overseas

In my solo travel ebook, I mention some great methods for working abroad and volunteering as a solo traveller. You’ll want to spend some time researching which best suits you as each has its pros and cons. For example, being an au pair is a great option for experiencing another country as your room and board are included. However, often the low wages mean that in your free time you’re limited and living in rural areas can leave you feeling lonely.

Reach out to your connections

These days with social media it’s likely you already know someone or know someone who knows someone (still following?) who can help you move to another country and start over. 

This could be:

… and much more!

Although part of you wants to shed your old life don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It might just be the very thing that gets you started.

How I funded my move abroad

When I moved to Australia on a Working Holiday I did a combination of all three. I spent around six months saving up some money. That meant I was able to spend seven weeks travelling before I arrived in Melbourne, Australia. 

Using Transferwise I was able to transfer the money from my British account to my Australian account completely cost-free. This saved me £££ on bank fees and meant I had money to keep me going while I set myself up.

Though I hadn’t arranged a job in advance I managed to land one within a couple of weeks through a mutual friend. Two weeks after that I’d secured a flat, another job and was able to comfortably sustain my costs of living. 

 

Is it really possible to start a new life overseas?

I think the term new life can be misleading. It implies that our lives aren’t just one big continuum. So yes you can absolutely start afresh, but think of it more as a new chapter, rather than a new book. You have already achieved so many great things up until this point and what a joy it is to add one more.

 

Should you move abroad?

Moving abroad in my twenties is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I don’t regret it for a moment. The only regret was wasting time worrying whether I was making the right decision or what would happen when I got there. Being scared to move abroad is normal, but if we listened to all our fears we’d never go anywhere. 

I believe you’re here, reading this, for a reason. Additionally, having read all the way to the end, you’re one step closer to learning how to leave the country and start over. Now I’m going to give you another step.

In 2016 I was just like you. Desperate to leave the country and start over. It’s not that I wanted to set fire to my old life, I just had this nagging feeling that I needed to try something different. I’d gone through school, through uni (twice) and just once I wanted to choose a path of my own. So I did it. 

It was messy, there were tears and in the lead up I almost pulled the plug on the whole thing. It felt bigger than me. Somehow I just managed to talk myself on to the plane and four years on I haven’t looked back. In the time since I’ve travelled solo to four continents and set up a home base in Australia. I’ve crammed everything I’ve learned about solo travelling and WISHED I’d known back then into one jam-packed solo travel ebook bundle for you. 

Investing in my future, betting on myself and taking my first solo trip all those years ago started the most incredible adventure. One that challenges me to grow more every day. It’s my hope that with the tools and knowledge in this bundle you’ll experience the same.

Final takeaways

I highly recommend everyone tries moving abroad alone at least once. It’s one of those life-defining experiences. That being said just go into it with open eyes. Just like they do at home problems will arise wherever you decide to move to, only this time you won’t have your usual support system around you. That’s not to say you won’t have found new ways of coping or a new system who can support you. And, as long as you’re open-minded, you’ll be in for a hell of a ride.

People get overwhelmed worrying how it will pan out months or years into the future. The best advice I can give you is to take it in small manageable chunks. Remember if you truly do hate it, there’s absolutely no shame in going home. 

But somehow I have a feeling you won’t want to.

 

Are you planning to move abroad and start over? Where are you thinking of going?

Let me know in the comments!