Ten Things on Moving Abroad

Well, I've done it. 10 years later & I have finally moved back home to the city of Hong Kong. Miles away from the UK & no bigger than the size of a full stop on a world map. Don't let that size fool you. With a population of over 7 million, one can only imagine how busy it can be here until you see it for yourself. And you know what? I absolutely love it.

You would think, being away for so long would make me lose touch with the place. But as the infamous saying goes -
Home is where the heart is
It's never more true than how I've felt this past month. I arrived at the end of October & it's been nothing but busy, busy, busy. I've been settling on my new job, searching up and down to find a place of my own & tried to squeeze as much family and friends time as I can. Before even arriving, I had only decided I would come TWO weeks before my flight date. Yes, you heard me. Two weeks! SO little time to prepare & so much to do. But hey, ho! I've achieved it. I saw my dream in the palm of my hand and I held on.

This post is another one of my Ten Things which I hope will help inspire & enlighten you on the steps towards moving away from home. Its difficult, but so worth it in the end.

1. Think Carefully

It's one thing wanting to move abroad. It's another actually doing it. A lot of sacrifices are made in the process & there is so much to think about. Will you like it? Can you be away from your family? Will it be difficult? Can I do it? Well YES, you can! In a sense, I suppose I am lucky. I grew up in Hong Kong so I already knew what to expect. Since the day I moved to the UK, in my mind, it was already a done deal that I would move back.

2. Research like Crazy

This is such a crucial tip for any country. There is no such thing as too much research. If you have to re-read the same things over & over again. Just do it! It's important to gather as much information as you can. This includes even knowing the cost of a box of eggs so that you know what to expect and do a price comparison. Of course, finding out the cost of rent, bills & food will help you understand what type of job you want to be looking for and how much you want to budget & save to start up with.

3. Save Money 

You should be doing this anyway & I hope you are. I personally am rather terrible with money & for the life of me have no idea how it always seems to disappear. BUT, I have had my starting savings and managed to make it last

4. Find a Job

I think it goes without saying how major this point is. It's always great to be prepared. If you've done your research correctly- it's important to know you won't struggle when it comes to Visa Documents and all these sorts of nibbly bits. If you're lucky, you might even be asked to do an online interview! Once you've landed your job, that is one less thing to worry about. Phew!

5. Pack Lightly

Okay, so once I had the job part secured, I knew this was it - I'm actually moving away. I was nervous  for two weeks straight. What made it even worse was that I had to pack my life into ONE suitcase. That is all. All my hard earned clothes, paintings, shoes - everything (!) had to be condensed into a suitcase of no more than 20kg.

It was a nightmare! I must have repacked a good 12 times debating what could I make use of more, what can I give away, what is the weather like, can I financially support a new wardrobe? I let go of pretty much all my coats, said goodbye to over half of all my shoes and brought only ONE pair of jeans.

Little advice - think positive and remember that this is a new beginning.

6. Think about picking up the Language 

If you're moving to a place where the English community is not that big - you want to get ahead of yourself and make sure you at least know a few basics. This would help you in the longer run and make it less frustrating when you arrive. Besides, it's important to learn another language. It's fun and after all we live in a diverse world - start now!

7. Get on Expat websites and make connections early!

Moving abroad can get a little lonely. Especially if there is a language barrier and you have no idea where to go or what to do. Starting up is always easier when you have a good crowd of people around you. Getting onto these expat websites will help you make friends with locals who could be more than happy to show you around! Not just the 'touristy' areas but all the best secret spots too.

Not only is it about making friends, asking questions on the politics of the country, the lifestyle or culture, you'd feel a lot better for educating yourself on things most people overlook.

8. Tie up Loose Ends

Now, majority of the time, when you're moving abroad, you are obviously leaving a previous life behind. Tying up loose ends is just another helpful step to take to make your move a little more stress free. Contact the RIGHT people letting them know of your decisions to avoid unwanted bills in the future. These would be phone companies, utility bills, landlords etc. You may even want to contact old friends you never got to see in the end. Family members you want to re connect with before you go - every loose end you think you want to close, just do it.

9. Saying Goodbye

The hardest part of the whole process. It was very, very difficult. As I've said previously, from the time the decision was made to leave and the actually leaving date was only in a matter of mere weeks. This wasn't a lot of time! My process broke down into three categories.  Firstly, I wanted to let the people I was closest to know of my plans before I decided to make anything public. That in itself took a week to do!

Eventually, once it was known by my social gathering that I was going, it came to the point where I was dreading the last few days! It meant I'd have two physically say bye to my closest friends and my family.

The final week before my departure consisted of multiple dinner dates, board games and a load of hugs and kisses. The final day was, of course, my family seeing me off at the airport. My tears shed tears while I dragged a long my banged up life in a suitcase and it was all rather overwhelming! Saying goodbye to my brother, sister and mother was the hardest thing I've ever had to do! Even though I know I'd see them again (obviously), there is no possible way to describe the emotion behind it all. All I want to say is, brace yourself! It's a difficult time but it was amazing to know how much they were all behind me.

10. Don't forget - it takes time

Speaking of which, when you arrive, everything is going to be moving at such a pace that you can't quite believe you've done it! It's nearly three months since I've moved and it still surprises me. Moving away from your comfort zone and adapting to a whole new lifestyle will be both fun and stressful. But like all great things, don't forget- it does take time. Overall, it will all be worth it in the end. Make the most of terrible situations and laugh at the hardships (because there will be some). I moved to come home and move on to better things. Things have gone terribly wrong this month (Thank You January Blues!), but I have pushed myself forward reminding myself that this is only temporary. I PROMISE you, if you've made this choice, it's for the best and you'll be laughing at it all later.

Hong Kong