Christchurch (NZ) – Sydney (Australia) – Christchurch (NZ) – London (UK) – Christchurch (NZ) – Auckland (NZ) – Sydney (Australia) – Wellington (NZ)
It’s fair to say that in my adult life I’ve moved about a little. Some moves have been challenging and some less so; the process has become a lot easier over time. They say that moving countries, getting married, and buying a house are among the top three most stressful events in a persons life, so let me make moving countries less stressful for you with these effective tips.
Don’t Underestimate The Value of Early Packing
Hard as it may be to see your favourite items be packed away while you’re still “living” in your current home, early packing is essential. Packing takes time – longer than you might expect – begin early. This makes it crystal clear what you have to find a home for, and what is important to take with you. It’s amazing how many minor bits and pieces end up needing a home, and when items need a home it often means finding more time to ferry them from place to place.
As much as you may love your favourite pair of shoes/dress/coat/furniture item/ornament/kitchenware or any other item, you’ll benefit greatly by learning to detach. Items that can feel like a favourite in your current life can easily and surprisingly feel stale or unloved in your beautiful new life. Detach; items are just items.
I’m probably the worse at this; sure I can (if I want to) travel with little more than a t-shirt and track pants, but I generally don’t want to. My penchant for “choice” has caused many mistakes in dragging too many items to different countries, only to feel like an idiot abroad when I unpack simple items like socks, hair products or t-shirts, which could have easily been replaced in my new home town.
Furniture sadly fits into this category too. When calculating the cost of selling and repurchasing vs shipping and unpacking, I have made decisions based on the most financially smart of the two. Instead the better decision would have been to start fresh, and cart less.
Attempt to Find Your New Home, Before Arriving
Every time I’ve moved, I’ve locked in a place to live before even landing in the country and I believe this has made the move entirely less stressful.
The idea of moving into a home that you’ve not sighted in person may feel like a bad idea, but this process has never failed, instead enabling me to shorten the unsettling time of being homeless and living out of a bag, in an environment I hardly know and without the support of family and friends close by. Now THAT would be a recipe for stress.
Some countries have strict rules with leasing property only to people who the agent has met in person, but persistence and manners pay off. For every few “no” responses, a friendly “yes” will poke through your inbox. Remember that agents want responsible, reliable, and trustworthy tenants, and these traits can easily come through via email communication so always respond professionally and politely.
Make A List
List all the accounts you need to close, and accounts you need to open, then tick them off as completed. Tasks like paying your final power bill, ending your phone contract, opening a bank account, closing insurance policies, filing tax returns can feel overwhelming so list them down with dates you need to complete, and tick them off as you go.
This activity can easily avoid paying excess fees, or the hassle of transferring payments from abroad. Remember unpaid bills can come back to haunt you later.
Good Bye Parties Need Recovery Time
When arriving in your new home country it’s best to be clear headed and focused to avoid unnecessary stress. Hold your boozy farewell party a week or two before you leave, giving your brain time to recover.
Join Local Facebook Groups
A great example of this is the Bondi Local Loop Facebook group, and no doubt there are groups for many destinations. Local Loop is essentially a forum for anything from people looking for flat mates, or getting rid of household items, through to social events or community annoyances. These groups can be an effective way to understand what is going on in your local community. Try Facebook searching the town you’re moving to, and see if a group is currently running.
Connect With Humans via Activity
Normally when I move to a new city I seek out my local Lululemon store and ask what time their free community yoga class in, check out the exercise pamphlets they have lying around and generally make myself known. This might sound strange, but Lululemon have always said they are a community group first, and retail store second; I can definitely see how this is true.
Lululemon is great at bringing fun, active souls together, and participating in free classes is a non-pressure way to engage with others. Even if you don’t walk out with new found friendships, you’ll at least be in an environment where you don’t feel lonely, and that’s powerful when you’ve landed in a new home without many friends.
During my last move to Australia I found a group of people wanting to start a beach volleyball group. I’m no volley baller, and don’t really have a huge interest in the sport, but I found it to be a nice way to connect, and laugh with friendly people; a nice way to feel comforted when you’re predominantly alone.
Jobs and Income Make Life a Little Bit Easier
Be smart by having digital references and an updated CV ready to go before you leave; when you see a job you like you don’t want to miss the opportunity by faffing around with the intel. Remember to obtain an email address or phone number of referees early and update Linkedin or alternative recruitment mediums. Employers will often check social media profiles, so check what image you are representing there. Being prepared and pro active will prevent that horrible feeling of being down to your last few pennies before the next pay check rolls in and small actions daily will keep you motivated.