Last week I had the very unjoyous occasion of moving house. Between having to disconnect gas and electricity at one house and reconnect at another, pack your whole life into boxes and clean everything as you go … well, it’s exhausting – and I guess I’ll just have to live in this house forever because I certainly never want to move ever again! It did get me thinking about moving house though, especially overseas. Moving 800m down the road is one thing, but moving to the other side of the world (when you can’t duck back and pick up something you forgot!) is a completely different kettle of fish.
I was living in the UK when I met my partner. I had been there for around seven months and lived in three different main places while moving around. I was on a working holiday visa and started off living up the north of England in Blackpool. I had one big suitcase with me, with everything I thought I needed to live for a year or so. It’s very hard to condense your life into a 23kg bag, let me tell you! I moved once to France, and then back to the south of England in Bournemouth. As you move you collect more and more things and ‘moving day’ becomes one hundred per cent the worst day ever to a traveller in my opinion! You have to lug all of your stuff onto numerous modes of public transport, shuttling quickly between buses, waiting for taxis and always seeming to be at the one station that only has stairs and no working elevators.
Here are a few tips I have for making moving to a new country as seamless as possible:
Start organising your working holiday visa eight weeks prior to travel. It seems logical, but lots of people leave it too late and have to change their pre-organised flights – a last minute expense you don’t need. And MAKE sure your passport has plenty of time left on it! Most countries require six months from date of exit.
Try using a visa company that also offers bank accounts, national insurance numbers and information sessions in your new city, and anything helpful. Moving to the UK, for instance, banks require you to have a permanent address with utility bills to start an account – which can be a catch-22 if you can’t sign for the house because you have no way to access you money!
Pack very lightly. Pack absolute necessities – anything else you need you can buy, but make sure you have some outfits that go together (i.e. not 10 t-shirts that you love, with only one pair of shorts and no pants). Always carry spare underwear in your smaller carry-on.
Commit 100 per cent. Don’t go if you are unsure, and not the normal moving anxiety, but the complete indecision if you’re leaving someone behind. You need to give everything you have into the move because otherwise the homesickness will drive you mad and make you completely miserable. Homesickness will happen regardless, but it’s easier to overcome if you’re definite that the move is for you!
Take a travel sim for use as soon as you arrive, but explore the different companies for the best international calling prices.
Be open to new people, new foods and mostly the new experiences that you will find yourself having … It’s once in a lifetime!
By Madelin Baldwin