Any big life change brings with it a level of anxiety and fear. Deciding to move overseas is no different.
Leaving everything familiar. Leaving behind your support network. Embracing so many unknowns. It’s only natural that such a big change brings with it buckets of uncertainty.
Taking all of that on requires some confidence. The ability to look in the mirror and back yourself. To believe everything is figure-outable and you’ve got this.
The good news is confidence is something you can nurture within yourself. You can boost your own confidence ready to take on your big dreams.
You can move overseas. I know because I’ve done it. Twice.
What’s the Worst That Can Happen?
Fear setting. Asking yourself what the worst scenario is. How likely is it to happen. What would you do if that worst case scenario actually happened? Is there any way to reduce the likelihood of it happening?
I’m willing to bet (and I’m not a betting girl) that you came up with some extreme but unlikely situations. Kidnapping. Inadvertently becoming a drug mule. Or homeless. Rationally you know that the statistical probability of this happening is pretty low. Which is reassuring in itself.
But if you need a little extra reassurance then think about how to reduce the risk. Be selective about which country or city you move to. Be aware of where you walk alone at night (no dark alleys!). Get your suitcase wrapped in plastic at the airport. Listen to your instincts.
Moving on to more probable worst case scenarios. Struggling to find somewhere to live. Running out of money. Getting really sick (or a little sick, looking after yourself sucks). Not finding a job. Or maybe you just hate it. The absolute worst case outcome of any of these is going home. Maybe borrowing some money to get there.
The single most reassuring thing I did before I left for Costa Rica (en route to London) is extended my credit card limit. Knowing that I could get home no matter what provided immense comfort. Somehow knowing I had an out, enabled me to be braver. That and buying travel insurance.
This thought exercise should remind you that the truly life-altering worst cases are not likely to happen. The more likely scenarios can be mitigated. And you’re savvy enough to solve whatever problems come your way.
Remember fear is not a good reason not to do something.
Related: Having Confidence to Quit My Job
Who has done this before?
We are rarely the first person we know that’s moved overseas. Asking someone what they wished they knew before they moved is a great way to understand what details to be considering.
If they’ve moved to the same country you’re intending to relocate to, ask for specific how-tos. Each country has its own way of doing things so get inside knowledge from someone who has navigated the system before. Even if they moved to a different country, you’re going to gain great insight into all of the things you should be investigating and haven’t thought of.
Before I landed in London, a simple Facebook post led to information on opening bank accounts, getting tax registered, finding a doctor, getting a job. Knowing what I needed to do, what information I would need to provide and how long some of this would take all made setting myself up so much easier.
If you’re worried about asking, especially if the person is more acquaintance than friend, don’t be. Everyone that’s moved overseas understands what a big undertaking it is. We also understand how vast and life-changing the rewards are. We want everyone to experience the personal growth and adventure moving overseas has to offer. So we help. We offer advice. We encourage. When we made the leap, others helped us. Now it’s our turn to pay it forward.
So ask. We’ll be excited for you!
Who’s supporting me?
My first days in Costa Rica I was a hot mess. I was facing seven weeks of solo travel in countries that didn’t speak English. I couldn’t remember the pin for my multi-currency card. I couldn’t get the hotel internet to work on my old Ipad. The hotel staff weren’t that helpful. What had I done?
My friend Livvie reminded me that the Universe wouldn’t throw anything at me that I couldn’t handle. Mum pointed out that in three days I’d join a sea turtle conservation project and wouldn’t be alone anymore. Without their support and encouragement, I would have been on the first plane out of there and missed some of the greatest experiences of my life.
These are the people you want in your corner. People that tell you all the reasons you can move overseas. Not all the reasons that you can’t. People that won’t let the doubts and fears win.
If you’re considering moving overseas, think about who you spend most of your time with. Are they going to support you, be a positive voice for you? If not, do you have other friends who will? When you’re scared and thinking ‘what have I done?’. talk to your supportive friends and family. Let them boost your confidence.
How Can I Test my Comfort Zone?
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to go from never set foot in a plane to moving countries in one step. You can build your confidence in stages. After all, I only travelled solo after travelling to China on a study tour. And I only moved solo after travelling solo and moving overseas with one of my best friends.
Every time you move outside your comfort zone and try something new, you expand. You gain confidence from putting yourself out there and coming out the other side. Here are some suggestions to try:
- Learn a second language
- Fly solo domestically or short haul
- Try new foods and cuisines
- Go to a social event by yourself
- Do your food shopping at a speciality food store
Think about the situations you’ll end up in navigating, making friends, grocery shopping, figuring out language barriers. Can you replicate or nearly replicate those situations so you get some practice in? You’ll get a massive boost of confidence from knowing you can thrive in those scenarios.
Related: Amplify Your Options: A Definition
Boost Your Confidence To Move Overseas
If you ask yourself these four questions you’ll find your confidence to move starts to soar. Take consistent action on whatever your answers throw up and you’re well on your way to moving overseas.
- What’s the worst that can happen?
- Who’s done this before me?
- Who’s supporting me?
- How can I test my comfort zone?