Making The Decision To Move Overseas: Taking The First Step

Making The Decision To Move: The First Step

Let’s start at the beginning, what brought on this urge to move abroad in the first place? As you progress in life, you begin to question what it is that you want to achieve and whether you have fulfilled your dreams. Add to this the multitude of emigration reality type shows on television showing everyday folk visiting a country and then moving their families there in search of the dream or of a better lifestyle. It is easy to be caught up in the dreams of other families moving abroad.

So if this bug hits you, I urge you to be clear about your reasons why you want to move abroad in the first place?

Firstly, you will need to work out your key reasons why you wish to move abroad?

Secondly, you will need to decide when is the right time for you to make that move?

Finally, ask yourself, what has changed in your life that makes you feel  that your life will be different in another part of the world?

Let’s cover each of these questions in turn.

What brought me to the decision to emigrate to New Zealand?

I had reached a stage in my life where I was approaching my mid-forties. Life had had its ups and downs along the way and I had my struggles over the years. Although life was now reaching an even keel, I had this unsettled feeling that I was missing out on something. I would awake most days to the feeling that there had to be something more, life at times seemed rather mundane. It was ordered and I needed a change in my life. I wanted to try something new. I wanted a new lifestyle. Now, I could have just as easily moved to another part of the country, taken up some new hobby or adventurous sport but somehow, this just didn’t seem enough. I wanted a whole new lifestyle change.

Over several weeks, as I moved along with daily life, I found my thoughts turning to what if scenarios in my head. I had ample time given the congested traffic whilst dropping my daughter off at school, or whilst finding myself cursing on the motorway when the speed flow limits showed 40 mph but the traffic wasn’t moving more than l0 mph at best. Each bill paying day, sometimes called ‘Payday’ in some households saw these thoughts resurface. I have often pondered how ‘Payday’ has achieved this rather contrary name it should be re-named ‘Bill Paying Day’ as money arrives one day into one account and is out the next day to cover the daily living expenses and most households are left with little to nothing till the next ‘Bill Paying Day’ oops I meant ‘Payday’. As I was saying, each Bill Paying Day always hit home the reality of the rising cost of living that if I didn’t make some changes this could be the reality for many more endless years. These thoughts compounded each winter, and come to think of it the summers which were often no better in the UK, made me want to seek out blue skies and warmer weather. Ideas of a new life, of a new lifestyle in a new country were slowly incubating with each passing day. The possibilities of what could be if…?

My thoughts over time had led me to a utopia moment. Or could it have been a moment of madness?

I decided that the solution was to move abroad. I placed my rose tinted glasses on and made a list of all the pros and cons of moving abroad. This should be your first starting point (not the rose tinted glasses —I mean making a list). This will help you to realize your key reasons why you think a move abroad is right for you and your family.

Here are some of the reasons people state for deciding to move abroad:-

  • A better quality of life
  • In search of a better climate
  • To achieve a greater work life balance
  • A safer environment to bring up their children
  • It has always been a dream
  • To get away from overcrowded living
  • A chance to buy a larger house and experience a lifestyle beyond their reach in the UK
  • Family connections
  • For the new experience

Some of these may resonate with you and you most probably will be able to add to the list. Take some time now to write down at least ten reasons  why you would like to leave your country of origin.

If you are able to come up with ten good reasons that resonate with you and these reasons are causing you to stray over to the move abroad camp of thought then the next question you should consider is…

Let’s Go — But Where?

With the possibility of so many destinations to choose from, your first  starting point should be rooted in the reasons why you want to leave in the first place and if that country offers what you are looking for. Every country is different and unique in what it has to offer, so if you are clear about what you are looking for in a country and lifestyle choice, then this will make the process that much easier.

When completing my research about moving abroad, these were the Top Ten Emigration Destinations:

  1. Australia
  2. Spain
  3. France
  4. New Zealand
  5. USA
  6. Germany
  7. Canada
  8. Thailand
  9. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  10. Netherlands

I will not go into the different countries that you could move abroad to, as there are many books and blogs out there that cover country specific emigration in  detail and this is not the purpose of this blog. My story is based around our experiences of moving from the UK to New Zealand. This is an area  that I have personal knowledge of and can share with you and all the things that I wished I knew before I moved abroad. Whilst my experience may be country specific, some of the feelings and practicalities will overlap no matter which country you choose to move to in the end.

You may be wondering why we chose New Zealand and the factors that came into consideration when making this decision?

For us it was an easy deciding factor — family connections and the offer of a less congested and relaxed way of living — a new lifestyle. My younger sister and her husband had successfully immigrated to New Zealand some ten years earlier; they did it the hard way, they sold up their home, quit their jobs and went for their dream, despite having never been to New Zealand before. I thought at the time that they had definitely been hit by that moment of madness. They were sold on the dream of a new life they had the rose tinted glasses. They had no jobs and no friends or  family out there to help them in those early days. Their view was that, you either go with both feet firmly on the ground making a complete break from your country of origin, and as they left nothing physical to come back to, they were even more determined to make it work and make it work they did. Mindset is half the battle in most things we do in life or if that fails just keep wearing the rose tinted glasses to take the edge off of the view. My sister had urged me over the years to join her and, I thought why not?

My decision was further influenced when my parents, in their retirement years, had to leave their home in Zimbabwe due to the financial and political situation in the country. They were able to obtain visas to settle in New Zealand. After being apart from family for the past 20 years, I longed to be in close proximity to family again.

So that’s the main reason, we chose New Zealand because we had family  connections there.

Our other reasons included:

  • For a more relaxed way of life
  • For a better quality of life
  • To fulfill the dream of a new lifestyle
  • For better weather than the UK

Now I have to admit that my daughters weren’t as enthused with the prospect as I was, but I hoped that they would come round in time. A friendly word of warning here — if anyone in the family is not in on the plan, then, I honestly urge you to really sit down and work this out before you go any further. I was so engulfed by my own dream and believed that my girls would neatly fit into these plans. A huge move like this will need everyone to be on board, believe me; it is going to be stressful enough as it is without differing thoughts flying around.

So before you go any further, if you are thinking of moving abroad, take a few moments to write down all the reasons, however small that has led you and your family to this point of thinking of moving to a new country. It may just be an idea at this stage, but I urge you to sit down as a family and decide if emigrating is really right for every member of your family and if everyone is, at least open to the idea?

When you are planning do not underestimate the length of time that these formalities can take. For us, this meant a delay of almost three years in our plans. Our residency visas were granted when my oldest daughter was midway through her ‘A’ level year and we therefore decided to stay on in order to let her complete her exams. By the time she had taken her ‘A’ Levels, she had developed into a young adult who had a mind of her own with her own plans and ideas, she decided that she no longer wanted to join us on our adventure across the world. For us, part of the reason for moving half way across the world was to be closer to family, an oxymoron if ever there was one, read on and you will see why!

With just months before we were due to leave, all our plans were thrown into disarray due to this delay in the process. We were faced with the decision about whether to continue With the dream or to throw in the towel. I was faced with leaving my daughter on one end of the world in order to be closer to my parents and sister; well all the best laid plans sometimes don’t work out as planned. After much soul searching, we all  agreed that we would continue with our plans and that my older daughter  would remain in the UK and would attend university.

You can never tell what is around the corner, what dilemma or disaster is waiting for you. What you need to hold onto are your reasons why? For me, it was simple, could I live with the ‘What if question for the rest of my life? If you reach such a cross road as this, then you will need to be analytical, as well as taking into account the practicalities. But most of all  you will have to search deep within your essence as you will know instinctively what will be right. If it feels right, then it probably is. If thinking about moving abroad makes you feel uneasy then you need to consider whether making such a life changing move IS really right for you and your family at this present time?

Assuming that it is the earlier feeling, all family members are on board (or can at the very least be persuaded) and your reasons resonate strongly enough, then you will need to think about which country you would like to move to. It is time to start some basic research about the possibilities of this and the requirements that you will need to meet for your country of choice.

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