Moving abroad is an exciting and life-changing experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges. One of the most common aspects that hold people back from making this life-changing step is fear.
In my practice as an expat coach and intercultural psychologist, the people who have the hardest time overcoming this fear are solo movers.
It is completely understandable, as moving to a place where we don’t speak the language and don’t have friends can be quite intimidating. But what I hear most from my solo clients is that “it would be a lot easier if I were in a couple or had a family”. I’ve heard this so many times that I decided to write this article to shed some light on this topic.
Whether you’re considering a solo move or simply curious about the topic, read on to gain a deeper understanding of this unique journey.
We tend to think that the “grass is always greener” on the other side. But I see people’s lives behind the curtains. During the 1-1 calls with my clients, they share their challenges in a way that they probably would never show on social media.
One amazing upside of moving solo is freedom and empowerment.
When we move abroad alone, we have the freedom to make decisions according to our own preferences and needs. We don’t need to consider the desires and opinions of others. We can choose where we want to live, how we want to live, what to bring, what to leave, and when to move.
We can determine if we want to have an intense social life or if we want to be more low key. And if something doesn’t work out, we can change, redirect, and recalibrate.
Moving alone also eliminates the need to compromise on important decisions.
While couples and families often need to find a middle ground that satisfies everyone, solo movers have the luxury of making choices solely for themselves. Whether it’s the type of accommodation, the duration of your stay in a particular place, or the level of commitment, you have the autonomy to decide what works best for you.
Are there downsides to moving solo?
Yes, there are – and I’m not one to sugarcoat the reality and challenges of life abroad.
Lack of Logistics and Emotional Support
Moving abroad alone means shouldering all logistical responsibilities and emotional challenges without the support of a partner or family.
Tasks such as finding a doctor, dealing with paperwork, or even getting through a bout of illness can feel daunting when you don’t have someone to rely on. It’s essential to be prepared for these situations and establish a strong social support system before your move to ensure a smoother transition.
While this downside is real, there are ways to minimize the negative effects and reduce the risks.
Solo movers may sometimes experience feelings of isolation, especially if they haven’t established a supportive network in their new location. Unlike couples or families who have built-in companionship, solo movers need to actively seek out like-minded individuals and invest time and effort in building friendships. Taking proactive steps to connect with others who understand your journey can help combat loneliness and create a sense of belonging.
Making friends when moving abroad can be challenging sometimes, so if you want to create a strategy to jump start your friend making when moving abroad, the Master Your Move Program might be perfect for you.
Find your path
Despite all the websites that promise all the check lists and solutions to moving abroad, this is a deeply personal experience, and there is no right or wrong way to approach it. Each individual has their own boundaries, preferences, and unique circumstances. What matters most is aligning your choices with your values and living authentically.
Find what works best for you where you are on your journey. When we are true to our values and priorities, we forge a path that feels right, no matter where we want to be.
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