I'm Australian and I've lived and worked overseas in the British Virgin Islands and now I'm living in San Francisco. Living away from home causes huge disruption in all aspects of your life. Here's what I've experienced living abroad:
- It's really hard leaving everyone behind. As exciting as it is moving somewhere new, it's a massive sacrifice to move away from everyone you know and love - your parents and siblings, your extended family, the friends you've known forever and your work colleagues
- Because it's so hard to leave, you have to be ready to leave. I'd been considering a move overseas since I broke up with my ex in early 2013. All of my friends were married or about to be, buying big houses in the burbs and talking about having kids. I had a nice comfortable life in Perth, but I felt like my future was going to be somewhat predicable if I stayed. And it's getting out of your comfort zone that grows your confidence.
- Don't move to just any old place. I feel connected somehow to San Francisco - I grew up in gold mining boom town and I swear I can feel San Francisco's beating gold rush heart. It's also thrilling to be living in the technology center of the world at such a pivotal moment in time. Also, if you move to a cool place it means your peeps will be more likely to visit! I'm very fortunate that my two besties from Australia have come out to visit me this year.
- If your relationship with your partner is already a good one, it will make your relationship stronger, faster(if it's a bad one - you'll definitely know about it when you move!). My (now) husband and I had been dating for less than 1 year when the opportunity for him to move to San Francisco for work arose. It forced us both to decide if this relationship was important enough to each of us to make the move together - you don't rip up your life and move overseas with someone that you don't see a future with.
- Your pet becomes your bestie (ok, so maybe this one is just me). During the first few months living here I didn't have any friends except for my partner. Many a night was passed at home spilling all my secrets to the cat whilst drinking red wine and watching Scandal with my second best buddy, Olivia Pope. That sounds a bit sad, but actually it was kinda awesome.
- Transient places provide a cure for loneliness. Newbies seem to arrive in San Francisco every week, and because most people who live here aren't from here, people are very welcoming. I now have lots of girlfriends I can call up for a wine (or four), we've held 3 EPIC house parties this year (including an Australia Day party!) and I had 20 people celebrate my 30th birthday with me in Napa.
Are you living abroad or have in the past? I'd love to hear why you did it and what your experience has been. If it's something that you've always wanted to do - I'd love to hear what's holding you back!