When I moved to London back in 2014, I felt like my life in Australia had come to a standpoint. I had set out what I had wanted to achieve by age 24. I had a good job in my chosen field, a bunch of close friends, a long term boyfriend and I felt like I was well on my way to achieving the plan for myself that I’d had in my head since I was 17. I remember a feeling of anxiety when I thought “But is this all there is? What’s next – marriage, a house, kids?”. The thought upset me. So I left everything behind and moved to London. It was the best decision I ever made. So good in fact, that I’m moving back to Europe (Berlin specifically), to do it all again (but this time my partner is coming with me), and I am getting the same familiar feelings as it creeps closer and closer to our leaving date. If any of this resonates with you, please read on to see if you’re ready to make the change!
1) You’ve got a good job, but it doesn’t interest you anymore.
You’ve probably been at the same company, in the same role or industry for a while. When you started, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, you really enjoyed it here. You looked forward to coming to work. But now, you just come in, get your job done, then leave. You continue doing what is required of you, but you don’t do it with the same fiery passion, in fact you find it hard to stay motivated at all and have become somewhat complacent. This isn’t to say you, your job or the company you work for are bad, and it is important to realise that you shouldn’t feel guilty for being “ungrateful” for simply being employed. You may have simply conquered all of the challenges in this particular space, and you need to shake things up to make them exciting again. Millennials don’t just change jobs, but they can change careers up to 4 times throughout their lives. It is perfectly ok for you to do so, or just have a break so you appreciate your work again. Life is about testing and learning, if you try out something else but you change your mind and want to go back, there’s no reason you can’t. The job will always be there, these years of your life won’t.
2) You have lived in the same place your whole life.
You find yourself doing the same things you always do… drinks at the same bars, dinner at the same restaurants, picnicking at the same parks. It’s not something you’ve done on purpose, but a product of living in the same place for a while. Humans are habitual people, so you probably think you’ve canvassed all the interesting options around town and solidified all your favourite places into one list in your head. Your motivation for going to new places is diminished – “why go there when I already know it is going to be good here?” It’s a slump you can easily fall into, even if there is stuff that is new and different available to you. When you move to a new place, you are forced to try and experiment with new options, activities and even areas you thought you’d never like. You may discover something you never knew you loved, or are good at. I moved from sunny seaside Eastern Suburbs, to East London, which is almost the polar opposite of places. I loved it because it was so new and different to what I was used to. Moving overseas is about being pushed outside your comfort zone, and you will learn to enjoy it. In fact – you will actively seek it out, as you will be a “tourist in your own city”. Trust me, walking past Tower Bridge or Big Ben on your daily commute is sure to put a big smile on your face.
3) The concept of buying a house does not excite you
… nor does picking out bathroom cupboard handles. For some people, especially in our parent’s generation, this was THE DREAM. And it was pretty achievable, because housing prices weren’t so ridiculous (well, in Australia and New Zealand at least). They also stayed in the same company for almost their entire careers (see point 1). In a new world where we are spoiled for choice and traditional pathways of success and ideals no longer apply (no matter what people may tell you) buying a house is not the be all and end all. This concept makes some people uncomfortable, as it is the “road less traveled”. But more and more people are doing it every day. My parents both lived overseas at some stage of their lives, and I grew up thinking it was a rite of passage. But the world is much more open than it was back then – technology has changed the way we live, and therefore, the life choices we are now able to make.
4) Your friends are no longer on the same “level” as you.
My friends are gorgeous, but related to point 2, they had different goals or life paths to me. Their dream might be to have the house, the car and the dog – and that’s ok. One of my friends already has this, and I am so proud of her for achieving her personal goals. Your other friends might still be studying, or working their way up the corporate ladder. Some of my friends LOVE Sydney, and would never live anywhere else. That’s ok too. But if none of those things “float your boat”, this is the time in your life to explore other options. Travel gives you perspective, it makes you appreciate what you have at home, but it also opens you to new experiences that you haven’t had yet. Moving to another country and basing yourself there while you explore gives you a feeling that is hard to explain – but it’s basically total freedom. You could move to a place where hardly anyone knows you, it gives you a clean slate, a license to create yourself in any way you want, unhindered by the past. In this way, I felt I was able to be the truest version of myself. Everyone should feel this once in their lives.
5) You’ve been overseas and now you’ve got “the itch”.
Moving overseas is a big step, and your true motivations for doing it can make or break you. I have seen many people give up early because they moved to escape instead of open themselves to new possibilities. It is important that wherever you are moving to, you can visualise yourself there – taking in the sights, smells & sounds, all that the city and it’s proximity to the rest of the world has to offer. When I moved to London, I had been there twice already, both times I was left to explore on my own (without a tour group) and I was also lucky enough to meet up with friends who lived there, which gave me a true sense for being a local. I could see myself walking its streets on a daily basis, not to mention I loved the idea of taking a flight to Spain for the weekend. I recommend that you at least visit first and test if you like “the vibe” of the city, it’s going to be your new home. There are going to be times when you are feeling down and out, because you haven’t physically got the networks surrounding you that you did at home. Remember though, that they are only a Whatsapp call or text away, and if your love is strong for your new city and the opportunities that it brings you, it will be the most incredible, whirlwind experience, and ultimately the best decision you’ve made in your life so far.
Know someone who needs to make the move? Or maybe it’s you! If you liked this article, please take a moment to share it on Facebook… Pop it on a friend’s wall and see what happens. You may end up with a travel buddy!