Archives for June 2007


Travel Photographs – Venice, Italy

Each week I post a few of my personal travel photos to inspire your travel dreams. This week I chose my favourite shots of Venice.



Venice (40)


Moving Overseas – Preparing for your Move

Moving Overseas LogoIn 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.

You found a job and now the preparation to move your life to another country is your priority, and you think to yourself, ‘Where do I start?’

Passport, Visas etc. For many jobs, the company helps you file all the applicable paperwork to authorise your employment overseas but passport applications are usually your responsibility (government jobs are the main exception). If you do not have a passport, apply now to enable your visa applications etc to be processed as soon as possible.

Check your current passport’s expiration date, is it valid until you plan to return? Do you hate dealing with bureaucracy? Dealing with your Government’s bureaucracy does not get easier with distance; renew your passport now if you answered yes to both questions.

Doing it all yourself, start with your Department of Foreign Affairs or State Department for advice about your selected country of employment. Then contact that country’s immigration department, most have a website, and establish your documentation requirements and download the application forms. Answer all the questions truthfully.

Prepare your finances. Establishing credit in foreign lands can be difficult but your bank can help smooth the way through local branches or affiliated banks at your destination. Your current credit and debit cards could suffice for short periods but establishing accounts at your destination is a better long term solution.

Sign up for online services to allow you to manage your financial affairs from off-shore.

Make arrangements to pay your final utility bills after moving out of your current home.

Automate payments for your current debts.

Send, store or sell. Even if your employer is prepared to accept the cost of moving you overseas, they will impose some limitations on the volume of goods you can take with you. Follow these steps to determine whether to send, store or sell the contents of your house:

1. Create an inventory of your possessions. I use a free software tool from Liberty Mutual.

2. Review your inventory, and annotate anything that has not been used for a year. This is the start of your sell list.

3. Divide the remaining inventory into send and store lists. Furniture should be stored for periods less than two years, and only include the most essential books from your library (then ask yourself why you have all the other books).

4. Prepare motors for long term storage, and clean everything to prevent deterioration.

5. Unless you can drive to your destination, it is rarely a good idea to take your vehicles.

Become a landlord or sell. Unless you plan to buy a house overseas, your current home is an asset that could be put to work earning rental income to offset your rent overseas. Discuss the options with a financial consultant before you make a decision. For the record, I chose to be a landlord.

Next week the final installment in this series, Establishing your Home Overseas.


Travel Photographs – Art in Berlin, Germany

Each week I post a few of my personal travel photos to inspire your travel dreams. This week I chose my favourite shots of art I found in Berlin.

Street Sculpture Berlin


Berlin Street Sculpture


Moving Overseas – Would you Move Overseas to Work

Moving Overseas logoIn 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. There is a lot of interest in this topic, and I have a question for you.



Moving Overseas – How to Select the Right Country for You.

Moving Overseas logoIn 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.

Choosing to live and work in a different country is common throughout the developing world whose citizens travel abroad to work for the more affluent people of the world. You can do it too but which country should you move to, where can your skills be put to the best use and where do you want to live?

The easiest way to move overseas and work is to take a position with your current company at an overseas office, they will pay to move you and arrange all the government permits (visa, work permit etc) on your behalf. Even if your company does not have an overseas office, maybe you can start one. Could you telecommute, Tim Ferriss shows us how to move your job out of the office, once you are out it is a short jump to move your home office to another corner of the globe. These represent the extremes of the available job opportunities, the decision is your employer’s or yours respectively.

Most of you will be looking for new work to support your new life as a expat in a far off land. You need to consider the following factors when you select the country that will become your new home:

1. Do you have any citizenship rights overseas? If your parents or grandparents immigrated to your birthplace, you may have rights in their homeland. For example, Italian citizenship is granted by birth through your paternal or maternal line. Be sure to check all the facts, national service may be a requirement of your new citizenship.

2. Do you have any in demand skills? There are skills shortages all over the world; teachers, builders and medical professionals are always welcome somewhere in the world but every skill set finds a niche eventually.

3. Do you speak a second language? Language skills help open doors but even your English skills are in demand to teach English as a second language overseas.

4. Can you get a work permit? You could work ‘off the books’ but you’ll feel more relaxed with the appropriate work permit. A work permit is much easier to obtain if you answered yes to one of my first three questions.

5. What is the Cost of Living? You can live well in any country for no more than you spend to live in most free-market economies and often substantially less if you choose wisely. Eastern European countries are very affordable compared to France, Germany and the UK. Consider living in a cheaper country near your travel dreams, the money you save fuelling your travels from this new base. I lived in Malaysia for two years, travelled extensively and saved a tremendous amount of money for future endeavors without living a monastic life of thrift.

These are practical considerations but this new phase of your life is about you and your travel dreams. Living in a country intensifies your relationship with it, you want it to be a good one. Look at your list of job opportunities and delete any job in a country you would not consider for a vacation but also ponder this question:

Do I want familiar surroundings or a exotic new environment?

There are many countries that feel like home within a few days of your arrival because of the common cultural traits and langauge to your home. Stepping off an aircraft into a completely foreign environment is a challenge, a woman arriving in Malaysia with her husband clearly had not prepared for the journey. At the top of the aircraft stairs, she surveyed the exotic scene then fled back to her seat and declared herself ready to return to Australia.

Many people love the challenge of exotic locations, revelling in daily adventure as they discover the new culture and way of life. Peer deeply into your soul and discuss the options with your family to choose a destination that excites everyone.

Choose wisely.

Next week: Preparing for your move overseas.