So you have this dream of moving abroad. A dream that involves taking on new destinations. Embracing the world with an open heart and not a strict timeline. Walking out of your door (instead of sitting for hours on a plane) to see places that are just too beautiful to be real.
But then you stop yourself. You shut down the dreams inside and eventually ignore them completely.
Because the “what ifs” start creeping in. The self doubt. The fear of the unfamiliar. The ‘excuses’.
Eventually, it becomes so overwhelming, that you say “FORGET IT!” You choose the safer road instead.
And that dream, that sense of wonder and adventure, really never dies. It just becomes hidden by everything else. Making an appearance, once in a while, as a reminder of what you didn’t do.
SO before you take that safer road, stop for a second and READ THIS!
These are ALL the excuses for not moving abroad.
Every hesitation that pops up in your mind when deciding if this is the path you’re meant to take. We’ve been through it all too. We felt those same uncertain feelings that you’re feeling right now. So we’re here to help you process them all.
Now I’m not saying we’re experts, by any means, but we’ve overcome those feelings and have been living abroad in Austria for an entire year. We’re hoping our experience can help shape yours…
7 Excuses for NOT Moving Abroad and How to Overcome Each
“But I’m scared…”
Moving abroad means your world will be completely turned around, so fear for the future is unavoidable. But when that fear starts changing your mind. Causing you to doubt yourself and your ability to be successful, think of what conquering those fears will actually achieve in the end. Think of what your life would be like if you never overcame any fears at all.
Having a hard time? Well, that’s because it’s impossible.
Your entire life was shaped by those experiences. Some of your best memories would have never happened if you didn’t take on fear. You wouldn’t be the person you are today. If you decide to let fear win now, you’re essentially saying no to personal growth and development. Preventing yourself from being the best person you CAN be!
Practice exercising your ability to overcome fear by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. If moving to another country is scary for you (as it is for most!), before you take the big leap, train yourself. Take on a project you wouldn’t normally take on at work. Befriend someone new, someone you normally would never meet. Go skydiving. Do things outside of your comfort zone.
Soon you’ll be reminded of just how good it feels to overcome fears. And moving abroad will become an exciting scary rather than an “OMG I could never do that” scary.
“Is putting life experiences before my career a smart move?”
If your career already allows you to travel, then you don’t necessarily have to decide between your job and moving abroad. If you work for a company with international locations, than moving abroad can be as simple as pushing for a job overseas. OR maybe you’re being relocated to another country. Either way, you’re one of the lucky ones!
But for many of us, continuing our current set career path AND moving abroad isn’t a possibility. So leaving it all behind will definitely weigh on your mind heavily. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
If you’ve built up a name for yourself and great working relationships, your career can be waiting for you when you return. Maybe not that exact job, but your career as a whole isn’t going anywhere.
If you don’t know how to build a name for yourself read Linchpin and How to Win Friends and Influence People in a Digital Age. These books are NOT a substitute for hard work, but they are packed with good advice to make you irreplaceable.
Of course it will be hard to leave and then come back. You’ll have to go through the stressful job application process again. Do a million interviews. But you’ll find your way. You did before!
Just make sure you don’t burn any bridges. Keep in touch with every single person that has been a part of your career. Update them on your journey and your future plans. Relationships can go a long way and can surely last until you come back home, even if it’s few years down the line.
FRIENDS & FAMILY
But I’ve never lived so far from my family and friends. What will I do without them?
This is a big one. Especially if you’re used to living close to friends and family. And I’m not gonna lie, it will be hard, especially during the first few months that you’re living abroad. But it’s definitely something that you can overcome with time.
Friends and family are forever. Relationships can grow with distance. Some may fade out and back in while you’re away, but they will always be there for you. Ready to pick up right where you left off.
Of course it’s hard (and unavoidable) to miss big life events like weddings or new babies (especially when you’re in your 20s and 30s). But take it from me – when you move back or visit, those true friendships will be as strong as ever.
If anything changes, it’ll be that everyone admires and respects you more. Maybe they’ve even been inspired by you!
And with all the apps, video chatting and social media, staying in touch is easier than you think.
Then, FINALLY, when you’re reunited with the ones you love, that first hug will be the best feeling in the world. Instantly, all of your worries of them forgetting about you or leaving you behind – will disappear.
How will I be able to afford this new life?
Of course money is always a concern, but there are ways to prepare for that.
You’d be surprised with how much you can actually save before moving abroad. When you hold yourself accountable and follow through. If you’re priority is to live in another country and travel, than it shouldn’t be hard to sacrifice other things to achieve that goal.
How We Did it.
When we planned our move, we calculated what we’d need to survive for 6 months in Austria and set that as our goal to save. We put together our personal budget, did a break-even analysis, and got serious about budgeting. Adjusting everything else in our lives to make that a reality. (Mint.com was also helpful!)
Cutting down to one car, selling the contents of our apartment, limiting our spending substantially.
The “would you rather method” is a great place to start. Would you rather splurge on delivery pizza for the night? Or suck it up, eat something you have in the fridge and order a pizza from where it was invented in Italy? This can be applied to literally everything. Random trip to the mall because you’ve had a rough week and wanna go shopping or buying an authentic dirndl when you travel to Oktoberfest? The answer is ALWAYS obvious.
After 6 months of saving, we had the money that we needed to start our life abroad. And that’s really all you need at first! Physically getting yourself there is half the battle.
For more, read our post: 6 Vital Steps to Save for a Move Abroad. It’s exactly how we saved for our move abroad!
A step that really put our mind at ease, was having money set aside for a flight home. In case we needed to drop everything and move back. We always had at least enough money for a flight and a few thousand dollars secretly set aside as a buffer.
Also, it’s important to know, in most cases, you don’t need the salary you’re used to in order to live and travel abroad. You can survive on a lot less than you think AND travel too.
But what if I fail?
If you fail, who really cares? You tried, and when it comes down to it, that’s really all that matters.
If you have a fear of someone judging you, DON’T! Those are the trolls that never even tried. They are the people that sit inside and judge other people’s dreams because they are too scared to fail themselves.
You won’t always succeed in everything you do. When you do something as drastic as moving abroad, the risk of failure is high. Whether it’s for emotional reasons or for tangible reasons. But the fact that you did it. That you were able to experience this great adventure, for any time at all – that can never be taken away from you.
Failure builds character. It keeps you grounded. It helps you grow. You need to fail in order to succeed. And who knows? Maybe something miraculous will come from this ‘failure’. Maybe you’ll discover a new passion that will shape your future success.
And REMEMBER: ONLY YOU can define failure for yourself. The definition of failure is different for everyone. To some, doing the 9-5 thing, moving up in their career, is success. For others, if you’re not truly happy, that’s failure.
So don’t worry if you’re failing in others’ minds, as long as your succeeding in your own.
What will people think of me?
I would just say WHO CARES, but that’s way easier said than done.
Moving abroad could be considered a move focused on personal growth, boldness and determination (YES!). Or, if you’re leaving your job, some may perceive it as juvenile and irresponsible. You will get it all – trust me! Lots of questions. Lots of confusion. “What about your career” or “What about saving for a house?”
But what most don’t realize is that growth is not just reflected in your career or the big house you just closed on. All the material things, easily seen and judged.
Growth is reflected in new skills you develop, experiences that make you a better worker and a better person. It could mean learning a new language or it could mean finally developing that true confidence you’ve been searching for.
And guess what? Everyone thinks your crazy until you’ve been successfully doing it for a while.
So screw the image!
Before we moved, our ‘image’ couldn’t be more positive. In most peoples’ eyes, we had it all. Two newlyweds with a great apartment, promising careers in a city where we could really thrive. We had everything that matched the image of success to a tee. But were we truly successful in our eyes? Nope!
We wanted to become our best selves. And that would mean learning from other cultures, opening our minds to the endless possibilities that we’d shut ourselves off from. That was our image of success.
As an exercise, spend some time evaluating your current image. Comparing it to your true image of success. Write down what you want to improve upon. And don’t forget about the success you’re achieving too. Can you enhance your strengths even further? Will moving abroad help you improve the parts of your image you’re not satisfied with?
Can I really do this?
STOP right there! Yes you can. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. And if you aren’t, just fake it until you are. Confidence is contagious. If you exude it, others will believe in you and your journey too.
Tell everyone what your goal is and have them hold you accountable for it. You’ll feel more responsibility if you think you’ll be letting down your friends or family (and yourself) by not taking action and achieving your goal.
While we were going through this crazy move, I kept thinking – If other people have done this, there is absolutely NO reason why I can’t. I was definitely confident on the outside (mostly on the inside too), but I always made it a point to come off completely 100% confident with our future. Even if it was slightly unknown. That’s what saved me from breaking down and backing out.
Here’s a thought:
People go skydiving all the time, and never worry if their parachute is going to open.
BE CONFIDENT. You have every reason to believe in an exhilarating and incredible ride down.
And the result.
Freedom. Travel. Life-changing experiences. New cultures. All of that will be your reality (and MORE!)
But that reality also means new challenges that you’re not used to dealing with, especially when it’s time to embrace your life abroad.
And as much as I want to say these excuses will disappear after you’ve made the move, I can’t. They’ll find their way back into your mind during the hard times. But don’t forget the mindset it took for you to get there.
You’ll constantly be juggling a million things. Thinking of new ways to continue this lifestyle you’ve developed for yourself. Adjusting to new surroundings, a new culture, maybe even language.
You’ll do ALL the normal things that you did back home – tedious grocery shopping, frustrating hospital visits, entire days of cleaning the house, laundry. But in another country, which makes it cooler, but also confusing at times.
There will be the BEST days of your entire life, and some of the hardest days. You have to be ready for ALL of that!
And what you’ll find is that all of those sacrifices. All of those struggles and frustrations that you overcame. The memories that have resulted from each and every ‘failure’ and triumph. They will be responsible for creating the best and most significant experience of your entire life.