Your Guide to Moving to Another Country Alone: Part 2
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to check out “Your Guide to Moving to Another Country Alone: Part 1”, which was all about “Preparation”.
For those who have prepared, you would’ve gone through the tears and goodbyes at the airport and settled in for quite a flight. After countless films and attempts to fall asleep, you’ve arrived in what will be your new home for at least a good few months.
But now what?
The adventure starts here.
Dealing with jet-lag
Although getting to a new place will get the adrenaline going, that first spurt of energy will die down and you’ll be knackered. Not just physically from a lack of sleep due to all that travelling, but mentally too. You’ve been through a lot of different emotions in the past 48/72 hours and it will drain you.
Be sure to have a bit of self-care and look after yourself once you’re settled. A nice sleep in, a good meal and a bit of a chill will work wonders. Jet-lag can make you a bit snappy and can make you miss the familiar environment of home in the first few days (it definitely did for me!). It’s important to work through it. It’ll be a little tough moving to another country alone, but looking after yourself will make it easier and quicker to overcome.
Adapting to a new culture
This can take so many different forms. In different countries, some of the simplest things can be different, which can seem difficult. Being in America, it took me so long to get used to looking the right way when crossing the road, let alone driving over there. The local humour could shock you, or the speed of everyday life could be different from what you’re used to.
It can all seem a little daunting at first, but you’ll come to grips with it all a lot quicker than what you realise.
Getting set up
When you arrive, you should have given yourself a few days to settle and recover. In this time, you want to get a few of the essentials sorted, including your bank appointment and your tax number. On top of that, start looking at longer-term accommodation, if it’s not included as part of any package you’re on. This can be through local listing sites, facebook groups, accommodation providers and more.
Be sure to get to grips with average costs, what’s included and how much an average deposit should be. But most of all, be patient! This is all part of the process, get over the little frustrations and you’re then in a great place to enjoy the upcoming ride.
Discovering your way around
Getting to know the transport infrastructure of your new area is a sure sign that you’re settling in. Some areas have local transport cards (Like Oyster cards in London), which tend to work for all public transport and will save you cash. In your first few days, don’t be scared to Google a few places and test out your new transport card.
The quicker you feel comfortable in your local area, the quicker you’ll settle.
Getting used to new things
Anything from mobile phone networks to grocery shops will be different. It’ll be daunting at first, not seeing any shops that you know. It’s another level of familiarity that you've left at home. But the optimist will say it’s a great excuse to go checking out all the new local shops!
One word of advice; shop to the value of your new currency. It’s so easy to say “this comes to x amount back home”, but that’s a slippery slope as they’re different economies. Shop around, compare prices and start getting used to using your new currency. You'll find certain things might cost more, but it works out better in comparison to the wages you earn.
One of the scariest, yet liberating, things about moving to another country alone is the independence. It can be scary not having someone to lean on, but then you’ve also got absolute freedom to be ‘you’. There's no need to pretend or act. You can do exactly what you want to do and not worry about what others think.
This is one of the great things about travelling, is you’ll find everyone is in this exact same boat. So the friendships you do make, tend to be genuine, deep and based on you both being yourselves. So if you’ve always wanted to go zip lining; do it! Fancy going to a ski town and shredding the slopes? Do it!
Dealing with missing home
Every single person will go through this. It might not manifest itself in the same ways, as someone may be super close to their mother, whereas someone else has started crying because the cup of tea they’ve had doesn’t taste anything like Yorkshire Tea (honestly speaking from the experience of seeing it..)
It’s important to realise that everyone will miss home and it’s 100% normal. Times like this, connect to the Wifi and call home for a chat. You’ll find everything is exactly the same as when you left and there’s not much going on. You’ll also hear how much people 'would love to be in your position', so take a moment, chat it through and get back to kicking it in your new country.
Once you’ve got through these two main areas, of "Preparation" and "Settling In", you’re right around the corner from the time of your life.
Being settled means you can focus on growing and enjoying your time, so don’t rush it; it’ll come!
For those still interested in moving to another country alone, then check out the third and final part of the guide here, which is all about "Growth".
About the author
Mike is the Editor-at-Large at Smaller Earth, and the founder of The Lost Lot, a self-development platform helping young adults find direction when feeling lost in life.
He focuses on the bridge between travel and growth, highlighting how both can be a catalyst for positive change in your life.