Table of contents for Moving Overseas
In this series, Moving Overseas, I will share my experiences living and working overseas, sharing the lessons I’ve learnt to make your move less stressful.
Moving your family to a new home is a stressful experience but relocate to a new country and you release enough stress into your kin to put weak hearts at risk. So, why should you risk heart failure to live in another country?
By understanding other cultures and accepting that our differences enrich our lives, we can begin to walk the road towards global peace. OK, a lofty ideal but the stereotypes we assign each other are usually wrong and the differences are fascinating up close.
The Thaipusam festival is a frightening vision when you look at the images of men pierced by multiple hooks and spikes walking through the streets to cleanse their sins. In 1984, my friend Phil and I followed the festivities all day, watching the devotees prepare their minds and bodies before carrying their kavadi to the Sivan Temple at Dato Keramat Road, Penang. It is a lasting memory from my years in Malaysia, and gave me an opportunity to understand why this bodily abuse is an important part of Hindu society.
Living in the United States opened my mind to the nuances between Australian and American language, often with humorous results as we misinterpreted each other in meetings and social gatherings. For the record, rooting for her team is not something I’d let my daughter do in Australia. Two societies separated by a common language.
Find New Solutions to your Problems.
People face the same problems in every corner of this tiny planet of ours but have found unique solutions because each nation has a unique perspective on life. For example, when I lived in Malaysia my local car repair shop would weld a patch over the hole in a muffler rather than replace it. A cost effective solution, unlikely to be adopted in consumerist societies but I guarantee you will bring home new solutions that amaze your friends with their simplicity.
Reduce the clutter in your life.
Moving is an expensive process and the easiest way to reduce those costs is to take less with you. Walk through your home now and peer deep into your cupboards to see what is hiding in the dark. When did you last use those items? Look at the dozen pairs of shoes in your wardrobe, how many of them do you wear at least twice a month? The mass consumption economic model has filled our lives with so much choice that we feel compelled to own at least two of everything.
It took one hard working young lady four hours to pack the contents of our kitchen, and we have vowed to start culling the excess when we reach our new home (fortunately, my employer pays for the removal). In his book The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss advocates selling everything, packing a small bag and heading for your new locale but I think this is a little extreme for most people. However, we have reduced our footprint to less than 80 cu.ft of stuff plus the rented furniture and have maintained a comfortable lifestyle.
In the nest installment, I will discuss how to select the right country for your move overseas.