Preparing for expat life success. Rooftops of Toledo Spain

It’s stressful when preparing for expat life. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. One of the hardest parts of leaving your home country and moving to another country is leaving the people that you love most, namely family and friends.

You know there is an exciting future ahead of you, but you can’t help but feel apprehensive about your move. After all, it is more than likely the most important decision in your life. Mentally preparing for expat life success is crucial.

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Your expectation is therefore high that your family and friends will be happy for you. Sadly, this often turns out to be untrue. The people you expect to be rallying behind you will be the ones who discourage you the most. They don’t mean to be cruel (at least you hope not) and are often concerned for your well-being, but there are some who are overwhelmingly negative. Here are things to remember.

Preparing Family and Friends: Steps To Success

Research, research, and research some more:

I don’t think this can be said enough. The most important thing is to do your research. The internet has loads of free information on your new destination. That is a good way to start your research. There are also relocation companies or other expats you can consult with. This can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration. Research on the down-low… which leads to the next point.

Stop Sharing so much information:

Action speaks louder than words. I have always been a firm believer in the fact that one should not share all the information related to your move. When you start dreaming of a better life elsewhere, prepare the groundwork.

Don’t share too much until you are sure. Imagine doing research on a place like Mexico for instance, sharing the information with family, then in researching further, you find that it´s not a place you want to live in.

You move on to another destination and repeat. After a while, your family starts to ignore what you have to say or discourage you as much as possible. It’s best to be sure, make up your mind, and then share.

You need to have a solid action plan in place. This makes you more confident in your plans and has a lesser chance of being easily talked out of it.

preparing for expat life success. Salamanca Spain plaza mayor at night with lights.
Salamanca Spain: Plaza Mayor at night

Positive People Are A Must:

You need to have the biggest fans in your corner. Your family might be happy for you, but they might have underlining reasons why they are determined to rain on your parade.

It might be envy, jealousy, bad experiences, etc. that they end up projecting on you. It’s a small victory for them when they win. Don’t give them the upper hand. Surround yourself with the people who will encourage you to live your best life.

Remember Why You’re Making A Change:

You need to always remember what led you to the decision to move. Why is home no longer a place you want to be and what you hope to find in the next destination? Is it for a lower cost of living? Is it for a better quality of life? Is it for a new job overseas? etc? Keeping all this in mind will strengthen your resolve and will keep you motivated.

Find Like Minded People when preparing for expat life:

Finding others who share the same outlook towards ex-pat life is crucial to your success. The truth of the matter is that more than likely, your family couldn’t care less about your move. It is therefore important to find others who are going, or have gone through the experience and can give you encouragement.

Valencia building with gothic architecture
One of the amazing buildings in Old Town Valencia with Gothic architecture, the old silk factory. Spain is always a good idea.

Preparing for expat life : Address Their Concerns:

It is important to remember that this life is your own, and you need to decide what is best for you. Assure your family that you have indeed researched your destination, and can answer questions to calm their fears.

Most of your family members have probably never traveled too far away from their home surroundings and their only source of information is the news that tends to focus on only the bad parts of a country. It is therefore understandable that they might have concerns

They may think for instance that your move to Mexico means that you will get kidnapped and held for ransom or killed. Assuring them that Mexico is indeed a safe country, safer than most parts of America for instance will go a long way in reassuring them.

Vienna view of government building
You’re off to far-off places like Vienna! Thanks to the internet and social media, no place is ever really that far anymore.

Promise To Keep In Touch:

Nowadays, thanks to the internet, the world is more connected than ever. It is possible to keep in touch with family and friends via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, and Google Meet. Make sure they know that just because you are in a faraway place doesn´t mean that you can’t remain close to them.

Of course, let them know that they can always visit you at your new destination, or you can see them on your visits back home. Who knows? They might just enjoy it enough to start making plans of their own.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain

Make preparing for expat life an adventure:

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Remember that if your expatriation turns out to be a plan gone awry, you can always go back home and regroup. I call this “experimental expatting”. Do your best, but if you find that your new home is not a good fit, you are not forced to stay. It took us two countries, and three cities to find our “home”. Nothing should ever be set in stone.

Wrapping Up:

It was hard for us when we were preparing for expat life and it was especially hard to leave the United States behind. It takes a lot of courage to leave a familiar life behind and venture into a new way of life, one that not many people will attempt, but it has been a wonderful experience so far.

Living the life you envisioned for yourself and one that you wouldn’t trade for anything in the world is the ultimate accomplishment. If l can do it, so can you with the proper prep work. Ex-pat life in Spain is absolutely terrific, but you can find your bliss in so many other places, be it within your own country, or out of it.

Preparing for expat life success #expatlife #preparingforexpatlife