Today’s post is actually co-written by my boyfriend Tomas! Though we both moved away from home, our stories are quite different, and his is especially worth sharing! So, I will be sharing a bit of both, to offer different perspectives, before we dive into some of our best take-aways and tips from our big moves! I hope you enjoy!
Tomas moved from his small town in Slovakia to London, England when he was 18 years old. He worked a couple different jobs and then got himself into University studying Management and IT. After some time, he got into corporate finance, software development, investment, and started his first business. For these few years, he did very well for himself, invested in a close friend’s logistics company (of which he still is an investor today), and had his own company. Over time Tomas made a couple other investments, including some property in Slovakia. Then, 2.5 years ago, he crashed.
Literally, he cracked his motor bike and ended up flying into a fence. He nearly died, had to get extensive surgery, and now has titanium on the left side of his head where the bones were crushed. He spent six months recovering. In that time, he kept his investments, but sold his company and was no longer a shareholder of the restaurant. He wanted a change of pace. He wanted to slow down and he felt like this was a brand new opportunity to start over. So, he applied for the job of Manager at Hotel/Restaurant/Pub in Wimbledon Village where is role included living on residence so as to rotate being on-call with the General Manager, and that’s where he stayed for 1 year and 9 months. It’s also where we would meet and where I ended up staying and working for 9 months. In this time, he was able to live the simpler life he wanted, he studied some more, continued with his investments, and worked on building his new life.
Now? I am an Operations Manager and Brand Strategist and I work from home. I am also a Grad student and study from home which helps a lot! I get new Units to study and research every two weeks, and 3 months per Module. I have my Yoga training every two weekends. They alternate perfectly so I can dedicate each week respectively. Week 1: work and study. Week 2: Yoga intensive weekends, then spend the week on therapy trainings, yoga, anatomy, and the business.
And Tomas? He is working in software development at a financial firm. He loves it. He is also working on his second business! He works so hard, long days, and still has time to be the best partner. I’m so proud of him and all the he has accomplished. We are also so excited to go to Canada and he is almost more excited than I am! I can’t wait to see him accomplish even more things!
As for the move? This time around, I have my freelance work, and my business so I will continue that there. I’ll be quitting my job sooner anyway because with the business growing more and more, I needed to make a move. Tomas has his business as well that he can take with him, and if he wants to do something different or alongside that in Canada, he has enough skill and experience to do so.
* To find out how to organise and manage your life mindfully, check out How to Organise Your Life Part II: Time Management, Mindfulness, and Details. It is possible to have a business, go to school, and have another job, kids maybe, travel, and whatever else you want. One of my Yoga teachers has 3 kids, owns a major Law firm in London with 2 partners, and teaches Yoga! I mean, wow! There are so many people out there doing amazing things!
** What’s more? We are moving to British Colombia at the end of the year. We are currently planning on moving to Oak Bay, B.C. Oak Bay is in the top 10 places to live in Canada. Some studies find it in the top three, due to its robust economy, high wealth and incomes, home affordability, low taxes, being transit friendly, health accessibility, low crime, and great weather (rain shadow from the mainland mountains allow for much drier weather in that part of the Island). Just some fun facts!
Now, let’s dive into the tips!
- Do your research
Moving to another country is a big deal, and if you are doing it on your own especially. You can never know everything and there is so much you will only find out when you get there, but prepare yourself in advance! Know your required documentation inside out. Know the procedures, application deadlines, costs, and conditions like the back of your hand. This is so important. More important than where you will live or what you will do there. Trust us! If it helps, go through a company. I didn’t use a company so I don’t know much, but there are several services out there. It’s more expensive but it will get done. Tomas came to England rather easily as he is part of the EU, but I came from Canada and it was a tedious but exciting process. It was not cheap either so I had to get it right! 😉
2. Look at flats
It’s not likely that you will get the flats you look at before you move, especially if you are unable to visit it before you go, but research flats regularly. Before moving to England, I was receiving emails about listings daily for nearly one year to get an idea of the different areas in which I was interested. I signed up with Zoopla, Rightmove, and similar sites. We have been doing the same now with Oak Bay and surrounding. It’s just good to get an idea and weigh your options.
- Get an AirBnB (or hostel, hotel, stay at a friend’s etc.) upon arrival. It’s better to book for a couple weeks or a month and really find the right place, than to sign for something and lock yourself into a mess. Or, get a short let. That’s an option. You can stay for just 1 month, or perhaps 3. This is if you don’t go for a live-in position and/or can’t go straight to your new flat. Tomas and I did that with our first move this year and it really helped ease the stress that comes with property shopping. Particularly in London, flats come and go every minute and it can be hard to get bang for your buck!
- You can also consider flatmates. I have a few friends who love living in flat shares. They pay the same bills every month because they are included in rent (most of the time, but you can just choose this option when searching), and they are happy. They make friends with their flat mates and it’s a very Big Bang Theory or Friends type situation.
3. Look at jobs
Again, you may not actually apply for any of these jobs especially because you may be doing this way in advance (and we recommend you do), but it’s good to get an idea. In fact, why not even try applying to some and explain that you will only be there in several months or something. I have done that! I even got in touch with some recruitment companies before moving to England. For Tomas, he was younger and a bit more of a badass than I was so he came with what he had, and got a job. I ended up applying through this company that places Expats in jobs with live-in positions where your bills are a fraction of what they would otherwise be.
- Consider live-in positions. They are actually brilliant! So many people are ignorant and don’t understand this, but, when you move to another country, especially on your own, and young, and post-travel as was the case for me, it can feel nice to have it planned out and sorted. It helped me ease into everything nicely, meet amazing people, create my little family of friends, and be part of a wonderful village where Tomas and I ended up falling in love. I have a friend who did it when she moved from New Zealand and she loved it! Don’t forget, after Tomas nearly died in his accident and wanted to have a different life for himself (he felt the accident was a sign, and he’s not usually into “that sort of thing”), this position was really good for him.
- I HIGHLY recommend this. If you can get a live-in position, do it! It’s a big thing in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Honestly, it’s a big thing everywhere in the world, especially amongst travellers. Tomas loved it as well. Part of his job sort of required it, to be fair, but he did love it. And BONUS: You can save A LOT of money, if you’re smart. In our case, we lived in the original house above the pub that was there way before the hotel was created. The live-in part was very Mama Mia style where we we lived in the Inn. The adorable and charming Village was very Gilmore Girls. Have we inspired you yet? 😉
4. Realise what moving means
It means you are living life elsewhere, which means it won’t always feel like a holiday. Some people go study-abroad for a while, sure. Some people just spend time somewhere and don’t have to deal with the actual living. That’s great! But in this case, we are writing about moving somewhere to live the good, the bad, the extraordinary, and the mundane. It won’t always be peachy. But it will also be filled with with some of the highest highs. It’s full of possibilities, it will test your limits, your patience, your faith, you strength, and I swear, it will be so worth it! There’s something so special about moving to a new country. Starting a life somewhere you choose and building it from the ground up. It’s also a luxury. Many people don’T get to leave their home towns, and not from lack of wanting to. Others are forced away and can never go back. So, if you are moving by choice, you are so fortunate! Enjoy it!
5. You don’t need to know everything!
You can’t anyway. As I’ve said, so much will happen when you move that you never expected. It’s such a high-energy time, things will be moving quickly, especially at the start. So take it easy, let it flow, ride the tide, be smart, be aware, and make it happen! You wanted this, so let yourself have it.
MOST OF ALL: DO IT! Don’t let anyone stop you. Don’t let anyone discourage you. Go live your dream life.
Happy and blessed living!