Kate Moves Abroad Part 2: Where To Go and How to Get There
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The most exciting part about moving abroad is deciding where you will move. For some, the choice is obvious and the result of years of yearning to live in a very particular spot. For others, it’s a wide open field that allows your imagination to run wild with the opportunities! If you count yourself among the latter group, I encourage you to read this article, as well as the next edition “Money Matters,” as you consider where to move.
The First Step
The first question that you need to ask yourself is whether you are looking for a temporary escape or a long-term lifestyle change. These require two drastically different approaches to location selection. Why? If you are moving for 6 months or a year, you may be more comfortable putting your belongings in storage and moving somewhere extremely exotic. Adventure or an interest supreme relaxation will probably play a role in your choice.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a long-term relocation, you will most likely need to consider more factors about daily life in your potential new home. You will need to do much more research about cost of living, housing, legal issues and work requirements.
Ask Yourself This…
Why are you mving abroad? What about your current city has you feeling the blues? What are your expectations in a new city? Make a bunch of lists covering things you like and don’t like in daily life. Think long and hard about what makes you happy and what drives you crazy. As an example, when my husband and I were trying to decide where to move, we had three factors above all others: (1) Walkable city so we don’t need to own a car (2) Mid-sized city with a lot of cultural activities (3) Central location for future worldwide travel. Conversely, we knew from that list that we didn’t want a super big city, that a Far East or South Pacific location was just too far away, and that some beautiful cities were out of contention because living without a car just wasn’t possible. You may find that despite being drawn to a specific city, that when you really analyze what that city has to offer you that it’s just not right for this point in your life.
Whether you are looking for a short- or long-term move, I also suggest taking out a map and pinpointing 5-10 locations you are interested in moving to. Then, do surface level research on each place. Mostly likely you will easily be able to dwindle the list down to 3-5 cities with very little effort.
An Important Step
No matter what type of move you are making, the next question to ask is: how can I live here legally. If I’m to be honest, in some parts of the world it’s no big deal to live under the radar for six months without a visa. However, in many countries it is extremely illegal and risky to do so.
Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential cities down to 3-5 places, visit the Embassy websites for each of these countries and explore the long-term Visa options available to you. In most cases, you will need a Visa for any stay over 3 months.
Some countries make it very easy to apply for and receive an elective residence Visa. This type of Visas essentially means that you are freely electing to live in this place and have the means to support yourself. Be sure to review which Visa options allow you to work while living abroad.
Other countries, however, make it extremely difficult to obtain Visa and/or the paperwork to legally live and work abroad. As you weigh your final 3-5 choices, be sure to take potential bureaucratic troubles into consideration.
How to Make a Decision
When it comes to making a final decision about where to move, it’s important to follow your heart. What city on your list of potential spots gets your heart racing every time you think about it? Now, balance that excitement against what you’ve read about daily life in that place and the amount of money it will cost to live there. Still as excited? If so, you may have found your new home.
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