How To Pick A Country to Move To
Updated: Nov 29, 2021
195 countries in the world! How the heck do you choose the perfect place for such a drastic change like living longterm? Here are some tips about selecting a country to live!
When I packed my bags to leave the US I just knew that I wanted a change of pace from "western culture". While working my 9-5 I was only allotted 1-2 weeks of vacation time and with travel being so engraved into my heart, this was extremely frustrating because a few years sometimes isn't enough to get the full vibe of a country, even a city, so imagine 1-2 weeks! I knew that when I set off this time I would really travel; immersing myself into different cultures, lifestyles, connecting with people, ditching strict itineraries, and just being in the moment and going with the flow, no rush to cram a lifetime into a few days. I planned on one year of travel and then returning, but now I think that the plan has changed! I am now considering a country to make home! But how do you know which country is your best move?
I was never excited about research projects in school or work, but something about researching countries is definitely a turn on for me! Especially a country that you'll potentially be moving to. While some will consider the research phase a snooze fest, I think it's super important step because it'll help you breeze through the other steps. I personally believe that experience is the absolute best teacher in life, but having a bit of guidance never hurts. Just remember to look for commonalities in reviews, if 100 people have a similar opinion about a particular thing there may be truth to it, but always remember to take other people's experiences with a grain of salt. Don't completely ditch a place based on Youtube videos and blogs. You ultimately know what works for you and what doesn't!
Must Haves & Deal Breakers
✔️ Ocean ✖️ Big city
✔️ Sunny year-round ✖️ Cold weather
✔️ Upbeat culture ✖️ Poor internet connection
Just like each country is different, so are we. We all have different preferences and can literally love the exact same thing that someone else dislikes. After you've done your research and feel like you have virtual vibe of the place, make a checklist with your Must Haves and Deal Breakers. Personally I do not enjoy living in big cities with little to no access to nature, anywhere that is cold is pretty much a hell no in my book, especially after visiting Canada during the winter months and living 2 years in New York, and because my work is reliant on the internet, a country known for having poor internet connection, like Tanzania, as beautiful as it is, are deal breakers. It's really important to know what you require and what you're absolutely not willing to put up with before moving to another country. Consider things like food, background, community, environment, culture, jobs, religion, etc. Even the most free-spirited of us have our limits. Know yours!
Do you prefer being in a bikini and barefoot or a nice coat and boots?
Do you enjoy rainy days or is suns out buns out more your speed?
Are you from a tropical country and want to see what it's like to live in a cooler climate?
Choosing where you want to live abroad also means making decisions like what temperature is better for your hair, skin, wardrobe, and mental health. Weather is one of the first things I consider when traveling because it really impacts my mood and daily routines. I may be a bit dramatic, but everyday of living in the cold is like an episode of "Survivor"! Keep in mind that in many countries the climate changes depending on the season and a few months of a temperature that's not really your thing might just be a good experience and another step towards getting out of your comfort zone. Take it from me, I'm currently living in Ukraine where the weather is completely contradictory to my preference and everyday I feel like I'm breaking new boundaries!
Culture shock is a real thing and one of the most jaw dropping things about traveling is understanding that what you think you know might not always be fact or the norm. Make sure you're ready to embrace cultures that do not fit into your reality. While traveling around Indonesia we found ourselves at an extreme market, which was probably one of my most shocking moments while traveling. Everything from chickens, bats, snakes, and dogs were on the menu. I later found out that this had bene embedded into their culture in that particular region. I don't travel to condemn people for having different values than me, but I cannot say that I would necessarily enjoy my local restaurant having bats or dogs on the menu. So, would I live in that part of the country? Probably not. Culture shifts can happen from city to city or country to country. Try to have some insight about the culture and how you can coexist.
Are You Allowed To Live There?
Okay, you've found the ideal country for your new adventure, but ... are you even allowed to live there? Always check out visa options before making any big decisions. Depending on your citizenship you may or may not be able to stay longterm in some countries so you don't want to be overzealous. These visas also correlate to what you can do while in the country. Can you work, volunteer, live there for "x" amount of time, do you need to leave the country after "x" amount of days? Visas are just as important as your passport and should be covered in your research phase.
I cannot say that I've taken this advice myself, but if this is your first time moving to another country it might be worth visiting first. I've always been super spontaneous and I can adapt in almost any country, but that may not be the case for you! If you can try a few weeks in the country and see if it's love at first sight or somewhere that you can see yourself living. This doesn't always work out because as I said, you really can need a few months to years to really get the true vibe of a place and sometimes it isn't love at first sight, but takes a bit of romance first. I personally think that if you cover the tips above first, you don't need to visit first and can hit the ground running! This is a blog called, Stop Waiting 4 Friday after all!