“You don’t need magic to disappear. All you need is a destination”
I honestly believe this. I have learnt that it really isn’t that hard to move abroad, find a job abroad or plan an amazing trip. But, some tips can be useful. I will dedicate articles to specific questions I get about traveling or living abroad, but I will share some general tips and useful links here.
First of all: if you really want to move abroad or start that amazing round the world journey you have been thinking about for so long… just do it and don’t let anyone hold you back! Listen to advice given to you (being over enthusiastic can make you careless, so some advice from an outsider can be helpful), but don’t let other people’s fear stop you from doing what you really want. People in general fear the unknown and expect you to do the same. I have many friends and family members who don’t really understand why I keep moving from place to place, leading a life in which I often don’t know where I’ll be living in 6, or even in 2 months time. Comments like ‘why would you want to move to some poor country?’ or ‘are you really going there alone?’ I have heard too often. Questions like these can easily discourage you though. Even now they sometimes make me doubt my decisions and my lifestyle. But once I’ve just arrived at my new destination, knowing that everything I’ll be experiencing here will be new and exciting and that my friends and family back home are working the same 9 to 5 job they have had for years, I realize again that this is the lifestyle that works best for me.
Useful websites to help you find a job abroad
Although often I just use google to search for jobs in a country that I would like to visit, there are some websites I find useful and tend to check on a regular basis, even if it’s just for future inspiration…
- Jobs Abroad – jobs.goabroad.com
- Workaway – www.workaway.info
- WWOOF – www.wwoof.net
- Worldwide Helpers – www.worldwidehelpers.org
Many jobs offered on these websites are volunteer positions. Not ideal if you have absolutely no savings of course but don’t forget that many of these jobs are in countries where you don’t need to spend much money. So if the company provides you with room and board you often need very little money of your own to have an amazing time in the country. And, once you are there it is normally a lot easier to find a paid job or any type of new opportunity for when you finish your volunteer work.
Before you leave
- Visa requirements: check if you need to apply for a visa to travel to the country / countries of your choice. Often your home country will have an organization and / or a website that can give you information about visa requirements for every country. If not, check the website for your embassy in the country you are traveling to or contact them directly.
- Vaccinations: don’t forget to check with your doctor (or specialized travel clinic) if you need any vaccinations. Make sure you do this early on since some vaccinations need to be done several weeks before you travel to the country.
- Safety: your government will normally give advice about potential problems / safety issues in the country you would like to travel to. Check this before you book a flight but also shortly before you leave. In poor, politically unstable countries the situation can change quite quickly. Make sure you are and stay informed so that you know if you should avoid certain areas, certain modes of transport, etc.
- Your most important belongings: if you will be spending a longer period of time abroad (or maybe thinking about moving abroad permanently) you probably want to take a large part of your belongings with you. I use this tool to find a reliable and affordable international moving company.
Making the most of your experience abroad
- Lonely Planet: there are many great guide books but I am still a big fan of the Lonely Planet. I almost always buy their travel guide for every country I move to. It has a lot of general information about the destination, accommodation tips to suit every budget and some ‘of the beaten track’ tips. Their website offers a lot of information and a useful forum: www.lonelyplanet.com
Or order one of their guide books online: Lonely Planet travel guide
- Couch Surfing: want to meet the locals? Stay with a local! Couch Surfing is an amazing network of travelers all over the world. When you are traveling you can meet up with a local couch surfer for a drink or a night on his/her couch (or even better: most of the time you will get a real bed!) and when you are back home or settled in at your new destination you can help other travelers by showing them around or offering them your couch to sleep on. Couch Surfing has been one of my best discoveries while traveling. I have met some of the most friendly and interesting people through this network and got to see their cities through the eyes of a local and not just as a tourist. Don’t forget that when you are staying with a couch surfer, he or she is giving you a free place to stay. Do something in return! Cook a meal, take him/her out for a drink, etc. www.couchsurfing.org
- Meetup: a great international platform for expats that has people listed in all major cities around the world. They organize all sorts of events such as drinks, hikes, language exchange, dinners, etc. A perfect way to meet people when you have just moved somewhere. www.meetup.com
- Stay fit: Staying in shape when travelling can be a challenge. You often spend a lot of time sitting, you get thrown off your regular exercise routine, and you aren’t always in control of your food. This resource shows you how to take a break with no added bulges! How to Stay Fit While Travelling
Of course this is only a short list of tips and useful links for anyone who wants to move abroad or travel ‘off the beaten track’. Do you have any specific questions about traveling or moving abroad you think I could help with? Feel free to send me an e-mail! Or do you have a useful tip or website you would like to share? Let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org