Moving overseas is a common daydream. You imagine taking in the new sights and experiences, adopting a new culture, learning the language and customs. Making new friends! Learning! Growing! Expanding your horizons! Really living! All the daydream facts about moving overseas are true, too–it really can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
That said, it’s not all daydreams and self-actualization. There’s a lot of hard work and stress involved in moving overseas. There are logistics, legal, personal and physical plans to make. Not to mention emotional impacts to weigh! It’s a lengthy, involved process. If you’re at the beginning of that process and in need of guidance, you’re in the right place. Today, we’ll cover the things you should expect from an overseas move. Here’s what you should know:
What are the biggest surprises that come with moving overseas?
Even the best planner can end up surprised or blindsided by certain aspects of an overseas move. Some of the most commonly-shared surprises ex-pats have told us about are:
- How lonely it can be. It costs a lot to move overseas. It’s likely that you won’t have time to visit the place you once called home for a while. It will be lonely. You’ll be without a support system until you have a chance to build a new one. Building that new support system will take time and work. Don’t lose hope or heart. Luckily, these days, social media makes staying in contact with loved ones far easier than ever before.
- Your body will take time to adjust. You’ll be in a whole different part of the world. A whole different time zone. A different altitude. The food and water won’t be the same as you’re used to. Don’t be surprised if you catch a cold when you first move or feel under the weather. You’ll adjust in time.
- You’re going to miss things you didn’t realize you’d miss. We strongly recommend bringing a few of your favorite snacks from home along on any overseas move. You’ll never know what you end up missing!
How does the physical act of moving change when it’s across oceans?
There are a few key differences between moving within the country and moving out of it. Differences like:
- The amount of paperwork involved. There is a lot more paperwork involved in an overseas move. You’ll need important paperwork, including:
- Updated insurance
- A visa
- An updated passport
- Your pet’s immunization records
- Your kid’s school reports
- You’re also going to need to keep all this paperwork safe, secure and organized.
- The logistics of moving your things. It’s hard enough to move things in a truck from one neighborhood to another. Moving overseas is a different story. Even if you KonMari method most of your stuff away before the move, you’ll probably have to ship some of your belongings overseas. That can be hard to manage… not to mention expensive! Start looking into what you’re going to ship and how early on in the moving process. Make sure you have a process locked down to avoid some serious stress later.
- The time it takes. You won’t be able to move from the Midwest to the beaches of Australia in two weeks. It will take time. It’s better to do it right and take the time it needs instead of rushing things and meeting disaster later.
How can I best prepare for all these changes?
The best way to prepare for all these changes is to take your time with the process. Don’t rush a big change like moving overseas or it will become overwhelming. As you prepare, make sure you take the time to:
- Partner with a trustworthy international moving company. You’re going to need a partner to help you with the complexities of an international move. That’s why you need to find a moving company that understands what you’re going through. They’ll be able to help you with the logistics of packing and moving your possessions while you take care of everything else.
- Stay organized. Everything becomes more difficult when you’re not organized. Create a timeline and follow it. Take the time to develop a budget. If you have a plan in place, you’re less likely to be surprised or overwhelmed by anything.
- Plan what you’ll do after you’ve made the move. Sometimes the most stressful part of a move can be the “now what?” moment after the move is finished! To avoid that isolating, scary moment, know “now what” before it comes. Have a plan for what to do in the days and weeks after you move. Make plans other than “work.” Get to know your new home and space. Acclimate!
Making a move overseas is an amazing, exciting adventure. It can be life-affirming and life-changing. Give yourself the chance to focus on the good parts instead of the scary ones by partnering with Wheaton. Our years of international moving and packing service experience make us the right people to get in touch with when planning your next big move.