A 6 Step Strategy to Moving Abroad
Deciding on where to move when moving to another country is one of the toughest decisions you'll face. While guidebooks and forums can provide recommendations, it's difficult to be certain that a particular location is the best fit for you. Ultimately, you'll need to go there and experience it for yourself to make an informed decision.
So, let's explore the first two crucial steps to help you prepare for your move.
Step 1: Start by creating an extensive list of cities and countries that you're interested in exploring.
Organize them by continent and evaluate if there's a particular continent you're drawn to more than others. In my case, South America was the clear winner, although Eastern Europe was a close second. By categorizing your options and prioritizing your preferences, you can narrow down your choices and focus on the regions that excite you the most.
Step 2: Once you have a list of potential destinations, it's time to plan out a logical route for your first extensive trip abroad.
Start by identifying the major cities and landmarks you'd like to see, then fill in the gaps with places that pique your curiosity or help break up long journeys. Guidebooks can be helpful for researching train or bus schedules between cities and getting a rough estimate of lodging costs to help you plan your budget. However, keep in mind that everyone's travel style and preferences are different, so it's always a good idea to seek advice from fellow travelers who have similar tastes
When it comes to my approach to travel, I tend to alternate between two modes: research and living, with some overlap in between. Generally, I prefer to visit a city first before committing to an extended stay. During my first trip to Europe, for example, I mostly focused on research, hopping around from city to city and taking notes on my impressions. Out of the 30 or so cities I visited, only two stood out to me as potential candidates for longer stays - Budapest being one of them. Despite originally learning German and spending time in Germany, Budapest ended up being a better fit for me in terms of cost, modernity, and, yes, even the local dating scene. It's important to understand that discovering a city that you truly love may take time and involve visiting several cities that aren't a good fit for you - but the process can be rewarding in the end.
Currently, I'm heavily focused on the living aspect of travel. I initially came to Mexico because I had always been interested in the country, despite never having lived here before. I originally planned to stay for two weeks to visit friends, but now, two years later, I'm still here. While I do plan to explore other cities in Latin America, Mexico City ticks all the boxes for me as a home base. As I've gotten older, I've found that I no longer have the urge to be a true nomad. In my opinion, choosing a solid home base and exploring from there offers a much richer travel experience. With its international airport and extensive flight connections, Mexico City provides easy access to destinations across North and South America. As the largest city in North America, it offers a diverse range of experiences and opportunities. While it may be expensive for many locals, as an expat, I've found that I have more than enough resources to live comfortably and enjoy all of the city's amenities.
Step 3: Determine the financial and work logistics.
This is the step where some people start making excuses, claiming that they "can't" make it happen. But to me, that just means they don't want it badly enough. If that's the case, it's fine to stay where you are and live vicariously through others. However, I receive DMs from guys all the time who are working hard just to be able to take a month-long trip, and that's usually how it starts. After the first trip, they figure out ways to extend it in the future.
I personally started traveling while on study abroad programs, and then saved up money to do extended trips. Now, with the era of remote work, I am able to live, travel, and work purely online. The internet has opened up many opportunities for "wifi money," but if your job allows you to work from anywhere, then take advantage of it and live life on your terms.
Step 4: Embrace the experience.
It's important to fully immerse yourself in the cultures of the places you visit, and this can be achieved by learning the local language and avoiding tourist traps. If you truly want to experience a city for a medium or long-term stay, it's essential to engage with the people who live there. For example, if you're visiting South America, make an effort to learn Spanish or Portuguese, even if it's just a few hundred words. This will allow you to communicate with locals and gain a better understanding of their way of life. Consider staying in an Airbnb rather than a hotel or hostel, as it allows for a more authentic experience. I absolutely avoid backpacker hostel types like no ones business.
Step 5: Reflect on your trip and plan your next move.
Take some time to think about the cities you visited and if there's one that you fell in love with. If you visited multiple cities, it's likely that one of them stands out as a potential long-term home. If that's the case, start thinking about how you can make it happen. You might need to explore alternative ways of making money, such as starting your own business or working remotely. Seek advice from other successful expats and learn from their experiences. While replicating their success may not be easy, there are valuable lessons to be learned. With a bit of effort and determination, you can create a lifestyle that allows you to live and work from anywhere in the world.
Step 6: Establish yourself abroad.
Once you’ve got your plan, Buy that one-way ticket. Find a room to rent, dedicate a few hours per day to work and language-learning, and use the rest of your time to pursue your interests.
Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending university events, exploring the nightlife, building friendships, and indulging in romantic liaisons with local women.
Never look back.
While Mexico is my choice, it might not be for everyone.
But If you’re interested in making the jump…
Check out both my guides to Mexico city and Mexican residency
Until April 1st.