So you made up your mind: you are going to get some real life experience abroad! Great, you’ve got our total support.
We know how that these moments are a whirlwind of emotions, you must be feeling projected to the stars and filled with good intentions for the future and then, suddenly, you’ll feel like you made the most reckless/impulsive/dangerous add here your negative adjective choice in your life.
Take it easy, it’s completely normal, you aren’t on the verge of a nervous breakdown: you simply decided to test yourself and to broaden your horizons. It’s not something just anyone can do!
Now the question is:
How to organise your moving abroad alone without losing your head, being anxious and carrying all your things with you?
Here is a short vademecum about how to deal with it lightly (and rationally):
1. Collect your thoughts
Whether you decided to move in a country within one or twenty hours flight from home, you’ll always need to collect your thoughts. Be proactive and write them! Collect all the useful information relating the country you want to move to.
Having a written list of the things you want to deal with before leaving is a way to “outsource” the overcrowding in your mind. The same thoughts that don’t let you sleep in the night: park them in a piece of paper (or virtual), you’ll see that it helps!
2. Organise the logistics
The point “What do I carry around?” is one of the most debated and source of tension. When we decide to move to a foreign country, we are often tempted to think ourselves in a new life abroad surrounded by “our” things.
It would be fantastic, but difficult to realise. If you’re moving alone, remember that once arrived at the airport it’s probable that nobody is waiting for you. You’ll end up cursing the zillion luggage you’ve carried.
– What to bring with you? Consider this concept: unless you’re moving in remote areas with an extreme weather, you can live without most of your wardrobe. At least at the beginning. Consider for example the season you’ll find once arrived in the new country: spring or summer?
– Try to hold yourself to a ratio of 80-20: the 80% of clothes for the season you’ll find once arrived there, the 20% of clothes for other seasons, just in case.
Everything else will follow: you may buy it in the new country or have it sent at the right moment. You’ll maybe be able to come back to Italy for a short time before the change of season and to pack the essential clothes.
Another solution to put in your baggage most clothes possible is that of the vacuum bags: they have become extremely popular. With a vacuum cleaner, you’ll be able to compress all your clothes and pack them without problems (but we don’t take any responsibility for the exceeded weight limits of the airline).
– Where to leave all that you can’t bring with you? Now you can use your imagination. If you have to clean out the house where you’re living in the moment, you have two macro-alternatives:
a) Choose all that you DON’T want to keep and sell it/give it away.
In your city look for a clothing drive or use app such as Depop or Shpock to sell the goods you get rid of. Don’t forget the good method of the word of mouth: you can organise a party at home, inviting friends and acquaintances and make it an occasion to give your things away.
b) Look for a garage to rent where to leave your things.
Self-storages are extremely popular in Italy: they’re box of several metres, which you can rent with a monthly, yearly or undefined agreement. You can ask for an online quote and consider whether it is cost-effective for your need. It’s sometimes cheaper to choose a self-storage if your (planned) stay abroad isn’t so long.
3. Try to reduce your emotional backpack
The number of clothes you bring with you is not the only weight in your luggage: managing the emotional weight of your departure. Be prepared, not everyone will like your choice. If you’re lucky, you’ll get support in your decision, but we’re sure there will be someone who will point out the bad things of the decision you took. As if your thoughts aren’t enough, right?
Have you ever seen the movie “Up in the Air” with George Clooney starring? In that movie, he plays the role of a manager, who has to take several flights each year due to his job. During one of his training courses, he explains the point of the backpack starting from the question “How heavy is your life?”.
The weight of our backpack comes from our objects (see the above point), but also from all people we love, our acquaintances, and as a result their ties and the emotions they give to us, both positive and negative.
If you chose alone to move abroad, it could be necessary allow yourself a period of “healthy self-interest”. Try to reduce your emotional backpack (yes, it’s really hard!), starting from don’t feeling bad for your choice: if you decided to do it considering the pros and contras, try to hold fast to your reasons. Give yourself an opportunity; you’ll see that you’ll learn a lot from yourself!
4. Face one problem at a time
Everything won’t come easy. Especially at the beginning, it’s possible you’ll feel overwhelmed by the changes and the many things to resolve. Finding a new house, maybe a job, dealing with the bureaucracy or a new language…also organising easy things like going shopping could become stressful! In these situations, the thing that never fails is the motto “face one problem at a time”. Try to proceed logically, drawing up a list (again!) of priorities: be sure to have a roof over your head, then face any bureaucratic procedure, and then move on the job search, and so on. You decide the order, depending on the place you live and the nature of your staying abroad. But remember that going through all this trouble quickly and trying to be multitasking when your’re already facing the pressure of moving by yourself could be really exhausting. If you approach calmly the early days of your life abroad, you’ll smile more and this will help you to become integrated and meet new people. Promised!
5. Remember that you can come back
Mostly, the choice of moving is a reversible choice. You’re not forced to remain, but take some time. If you’re very anxious, the thought you can go back – leaving aside the pride – could be helpful. If you know you can be honest with yourself and recognise you want to come back, it can be reassuring. Maybe you’ll never do it, and the three months you established will become six, then a year… they sometimes become a forever. The most important thing is not feeling chained by a choice you can always rethink.