Born to be a traveler
Over the years I have not only traveled to quite a bit, I have also moved to quite a few places. Moving seems normal when you are from a small Greek town with no university and not many career prospects. However, most of my high school friends moved away to nearby cities to study and came home every weekend to have mom do their laundry and refill their fridge with homemade food. Eventually, they would find a spouse and take over their father’s business or find a job in that small Greek town and move back there. Nothing wrong with that, but I always wanted something different. I wasn’t an adventurous traveler yet, but I had become obsessed with the idea to see the world and even the thought of having to do my own laundry couldn’t deter me.
It’s been 16 years since I left my home town and it’s actually difficult to remember how many times I had to move for short or long term periods around Greece and abroad first for my studies and then for my job. My last stop has been the longest since I stayed here for about five years. Honestly I thought, that was it, I was about to spend the rest of my life here in the place travel guides promote as a major tourist attraction with the moto “you’ve been here in your dreams”. Yes, Halkidiki is a dream place but this is another story for another post.
During the past five years
Though the economic crisis had already began in Greece, me and my spouse seemed to be doing fine in this place. Both working at the areas of our expertise in a promising region with great resources so the first salary cut backs didn’t seem enough to bother us. After all life cost here is really affordable and it’s only 20 minutes drive to the nearest international airport so we could still have a quality life and keep up with our plans on seeing the world.
Less than a year ago, and needless to explain the reasons, we decided that it was no longer to our best interest to stay in this “paradise” so we started examining our options. Very soon we realized that our best chances lie on moving abroad while Greece is struggling for reformations. Thus we had to come up with a good plan and I would like to share with you it’s key points.
Here is what you need to do and know before you decide to move abroad
1. Why move…
I think all reasons to move to another country are valid. Did you fall in love? Great! You found a great job? Cool! Eventually the only answer to the question ‘why?’ I could come up with was ‘why not?’. We are not giving anything up, we just decided on a new path in our lives and that is good enough reason for us to do it. Personally I’m a big fan of going with your gut, it usually directs you to the right destination.
2. …and why not to
The only exception of reasons to move is to get away. While wanting to get away when things get tough, just remember that you take yourself with wherever you go. So make sure you are okay with yourself, because being stranded in a foreign country with just your own company for the time being is tough enough; make sure you like yourself and to have your emotional baggage sorted.
3. Nothing is forever
Admittedly selling everything and giving up your entire life is not the easiest thing economically or emotionally. But something you have to try it, just so you can cross it off your list. When you make a decision to move sometimes it feels more monumental than it actually is. Yes, there is often a lot of work, effort and tears involved, but just remember that nothing is forever or irreversible.
4. Field research
How do you decide on where you want to live? Do you check it out before or do you just go? The answer here depends entirely on your personality and situation. For me and my husband career prospects and quality life style is what we are looking for. Other than that, I am a bit of a planning freak so I like to know my facts before I land somewhere. Keep in mind, being somewhere on a holiday is hugely different from living somewhere. Do a bit of basic research beforehand to eliminate the chance of finding yourself stranded with a one-way ticket in a place you hate. Regardless of where you go, I can guarantee you that there will be enough surprises and adjustments, so check the basics beforehand.
5. Pack your life
A lot of times, I got by with just an extra piece of luggage on the plane. Many airlines will allow extra baggage for smaller fees if you sign it up before your departure. If you have more to ship like boxes or furniture and a bit of time at hand, I recommend a proper cargo company who will get you a space on a container ship. Regardless of which option you chose, get rid of your books and everything you could replace at a smaller cost of that shipping it. The first few times I had to leave my ‘library’ behind it actually broke my heart a bit, so I decided that I will rather have an allocated book room once I’m all grown up and have a my own beach house
To be continued…
Images: collage of personal pics and www.visit-halkidiki.gr images
Inspired by travelettes article