Moving to Another Country

photo taken by Gregg Thompson

I have always lived in same country. Until I didn’t anymore. You too can move to another country.

My partner and I decided to move in June, and by September we had done it. It sounds crazy when I type it out, but it just made sense at the time. Both of our leases were ending, and any time after that and we’d have to wait for the holidays to be over. And at that rate, we’d always be pushing it off for something.

I have always been one to do something a little different. No one was surprised.

You need money

As soon as it comes into your mind, start saving money.

We didn’t know where we wanted to go yet, but it was probably going to take money to get there.

I essentially stopped leaving my apartment for anything but the necessities. Maybe it’s different where you are, but it feels impossible for me to not spent money living in New York. Breathing the outside air seemed to cost me at least $15.

Quite a few of my friendships waned, but the most important ones grew. The people who supported me really did. We hung out doing low cost things. Any time I declined a wild night out, I immediately transferred money into my savings account that was an estimate of what I would’ve spent on drinks and cover charges and Ubers and…you get the point.

Saving money never came naturally to me and it still doesn’t. It was definitely work to not spend my money. All ASOS and & Other Stories sales had to be ignored. I even stopped thrifting since thrifting in New York should be called something more to: not-thrifting. It’s majorly expensive to even buy second-hand Gap. And I’m not spending sale Gap prices on second-hand Gap.

Reach out to your most budget-conscious friend and ask them for help. Or just hit the google and look for budget templates.

Some of my tips involve: leaving your plastic at home and using cash only, cooking your meals instead of eating out, and getting a fun new hobby you love to replace the things you’re cutting back on.

Do your research

Once you have a few places you want to go, read up. Not every country has the same seasons you’re used to. Vietnam has a rainy season and you probably don’t want to show up to settle down at that time. I met a Vietnamese student who was getting ready to study in Ohio and asked me how close it was to California and if he could go to the beach. I had to shove him with reality.

Air quality is something you probably take for granted if you don’t live somewhere that it’s an issue. It turned out that with a lot of the places we were looking to re-locating, that it was a big issue. If you’re someone with respiratory issues, this is probably something you’ll want to take into different consideration. Or if you simply love taking a jog outside, it’s not ideal to do so when pollution is seeping into your lungs.

Being black, my research was a bit different from my partner’s. I didn’t want to move somewhere where being the color that I am would cause me a lot of issues. Granted, the US isn’t some Mecca, but my liberal bubble made it very easy to pretend certain things weren’t going on. While I did hear mixed reviews on wwb (working while black) in Southeast Asia, I heard so many positive ones. It’s not like me to let what I look like that day hold me back. I could take a few stares and hair-touching.

Have some sort of plan

What are you going to do when you get there? I’m plan-averse, but even I thought it was a good idea to get one. We wanted to teach English for money, and decided to do a course with International TEFL Academy.

It was more costly than some others, but we learned valuable information and felt very capable of having young learner’s education in our hands after. I recommend speaking with Danielle Lupo. She was totally friendly and accessible and was able to answer all of our questions.

This certificate is valuable in any country (along with experience) so I do think it was a great investment. We also made amazing friends who now live next door to us.

Of course, there are so many other options. You can work in a hostel, volunteer with a family for lodging, work online, or maybe you already have your own location independent business.

If you’re not working in a hostel or volunteering for your board, you’re probably concerned about housing. Please look up a wide range of prices and have enough money to cover a few months and a deposit. With that in mind, finding housing in Vietnam was one of the easiest things ever. While the TEFL course provided for our first month, we had secured a two-bedroom place of our own before the month was even over.

I made a post on Facebook and a trusted realtor was in my inbox in no time. We also had leads on apartments from people we knew, and there are little signs everywhere with “Apartment rent!” written on them. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need. And if you’re in Vietnam, the price is always negotiable.

Just do it

The biggest and most important step of all is to just move! You will never be completely 500% prepared because who can truly prepare for uprooting your life like this?

Make sure you have pages in your passport, donate your clothes (but not too many), hug your loved ones and get on that plane.

Jenita is writer, photographer, director overall known as a creator. She enjoys all things pasta, tulle and menswear. You can often find her dancing to music that may or may not be playing and saying she’ll meet you at the bar but watching art-house cinema instead.

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