Living and working abroad isn’t just a pipe dream anymore. In fact, hundreds of thousands have readopted the notion of expatriation in recent months. In the wake of this global pandemic, an uprising of digital nomadness has proven that remote work is alive and well. But how the heck does one uproot themselves and go? Read on to learn more about four fundamental follies to avoid when moving abroad.
Becoming an ex-pat isn’t as terrifying as it can seem, it simply requires a little preparation.
When it comes to the fundamentals of getting abroad, I’m all too aware that there are hundreds of existing blogs or online courses out there. Each offers step-by-step instructions and/or packing lists, etc. This blog, however, well cover three elements of preparation that are likely overlooked.
Fundamental folly numero uno
In addition to saying goodbye to the physical and emotional stability you’ve always known, you have to prepare for the unknown, too. Strategic packing and passports aside, don’t forget to digitize your life. Snap photos of all important documents: international healthcare coverage, passports, and even a few headshots against a white background. The latter being just in case any visas on arrival are necessary for travel.
It can be taken one step further by digitizing College transcripts (may be necessary for educational or professional growth applications). Be sure all important contacts are saved correctly in the contact list and don’t forget to include current mailing addresses. This is important for medical emergency purposes, but also helpful when mailing spontaneous postcards once you settle in.
Another great tip: Program the toll-free and out of country numbers to report lost or stolen credit cards into your contact list ahead of the scheduled departure.
Fundamental folly numero dos
Not having an unlocked phone. An old roommate purchased a new smartphone in the States that came attached to a service provider contract. Big mistake. Not only was she responsible for paying for the new phone (unnecessary debt) monthly, the phone itself was locked; meaning it could only be operational via that provider.
The plan is to move abroad, right? Establishing a local phone line will be among the first dozen responsible acts executed once established. By default, a SIM card will need to be installed and accepted by the smartphone, which it won’t be if it is locked.
Another great tip: The back of an earring works just fine to pop open the SIM card slot on any phone.
Fundamental folly numero tres
Don’t forget to make yourself accessible to loved ones. Being abroad shouldn’t translate to being unreachable. Especially not in this day and age of smart technology. This transition is difficult on more than just you, after all. If getting that locked phone was on your mind as a means to keep a US landline I’ll stop you right there. Instead, get a US phone line that can travel with you.
The Magic Jack App allows for such a thing for a small annual fee. This phone line uses WIFI and receives phone calls, and texts. It even has a voicemail on a local (national) phone line assigned specifically to me. This is epic for emergency contacts who are not as technologically inclined to leave DMs, etc.
Another great tip: Install both Tiny Fax and Tiny Scanner while you’re at it. This makes timely correspondence overseas far less complicated.
Fundamental folly numero quatro
Lastly, triple check expiration dates on everything. Especially if the relocation abroad will be longer than one year. Start easy and verify the expiration date on your passport is good to go for at least five years, but a minimum of one. Most major cities in foreign countries will have a US consulate available to assist with renewals or replacements if necessary.
As a digital nomad, maintaining a US mailing address, phone line, an active bank account, and my Driver’s License is crucial. That being said, knowing when my debit cards and driver’s license expire is important. Navigating bureaucratic paperwork overseas (digitally) is challenging, but not impossible. Especially with the assistance of the helpful applications I mentioned above. Being able to do so will save countless headaches and bouts of anxiety.
Fundamental follies aside
The decision to move abroad is one this adventuress whole-heartedly supports. How do you think I am able to provide you these four fundamental follies to avoid when moving abroad? Some I have made, others have been made by my peers. All of them help you prepare for the wildest adventure of your existence.
Get digitized in this digital world and be ready for whatever this journey brings while transitioning from native to a foreigner. Unlock that smartphone and download helpful applications that set you up for success. Become as accessible as possible for loved ones on the other side of the globe and triple check all contact lists are updated and that no expiration dates will creep up unexpectedly.
Wasn’t sure if you were properly prepared to board that flight, plane, train, or long-distance bus? Now you are!
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