Life’s a Beach: How to Make Your Expat Dream Come True
Living your life at a warm and sandy beach while watching the sunset may be the perfect way of living. It seems a bit unachievable, though, seeing that we have responsibilities here at home and a real life to take care of. What you may not know, however, is that so many people are living that dream right now – and it’s just as sustainable and possible as your life at home is.
Exactly how they do it and manage to make a living while also being a part of society, in general, might be a bit harder to see. Here at home, everything is so easy to grasp and understand, after all, and your career has been mapped out rather clearly.
If you really want to try to something new and make your dream of becoming an expat true, there is only one thing to do: figure out how you can live abroad and make a sustainable living. It’s really not that difficult, after all, and once you’ve settled into it, you might even find it a bit tough to go back to your regular life at home.
That’s where you get those cold and grey Wednesdays, after all, chasing after the next paycheck and worrying about getting enough sleep.
First: Figure out if you have what it takes
Even if you manage to get everything below done, manage to get a visa, a place to live and find a way of making a living, you might not feel like this life is for you, after all. Many expats before you have felt this way, and some of them end up moving back home – their years abroad become a short-term adventure instead, and that’s alright.
Keep in mind that you never have to live away from your home country permanently unless you’ve been outlawed like some villain in a Western movie. If you start to miss your friends and family too much or if everything feels a bit too foreign, you can always just move back home, and it’s never more than a plane ride or two away.
With that being said, it’s a good idea to consider how much you really want this before moving over. You may have different reasons for wanting to become an expat; perhaps it is to join your partner abroad, maybe it’s because your home country is starting to go slowly downwards – or you could just be looking for an adventure.
No matter what your reason is, you need to consider if it’s a good enough reason to go through all the trouble and move out of your country. Is the relationship likely to last, for example, and is the economy in your country likely to pick up again? Is an adventure enough reason to quit your job and put your life at home on hold?
Most of the time, the answer will be a firm yes, but it’s a good idea to go over it in your head a few times first. That way, at least you’ll be able to tell yourself that you’ve thought long and hard about it, and particularly when you start to feel a bit homesick.
Because you will be homesick from time to time, and it’s better to be prepared for this before moving. Sooner or later, you might feel homesick when you’re away from the country you’ve moved to – and suddenly you have two homes.
Next: Think about where you’re going to live
Every expat’s situation is different, and it’s impossible to provide you with a one-size-fits-all solution to how you’re going to find a place to live. To most people, this is the first challenge they encounter when considering if they should become an expat; how do we find a place to live when we’re not actually living in the country yet?
Moving to an entirely new country without having a set roof over your head when you land can seem pretty daunting. Particularly if you’re moving over on your own – and we should take our hats off to those who just get on the plane, all happy-go-lucky, hoping to find a place once they land.
While it seems like a terrifying thing to do, even these people are likely to find accommodation at one point. You could simply check in at an Airbnb, in the meantime, and look for apartments for the first week or two while staying there.
Make sure that you have quite a bit of money saved up, though, so that you’re able to rent a place on short notice; money tends to talk and most landlords will welcome you in with open arms if you’re able to pay a few months up front. Bring a bulk sum, in other words, and you won’t really feel too scared when boarding that plane.
You do have many other options, though, and you certainly don’t have to go without having any other preparations than your savings account. If you already know someone living there, you can always ask them to have a look at a few apartments for you. Ask them to take some pictures or even a video of the place, and you can rent it without actually seeing it yourself.
Consider buying rather than renting
While we’re on the topic of finding a place to live; have you considered buying an apartment or a house? It will surely fix that whole accommodation issue for you. This is tricky to do properly unless you’re there yourself, though, so try to make a quick trip over before making that final move so that you can view a few places.
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You’d want to do some proper research on the real estate market in the country as well, by the way, as it’s not going to be the same as here at home. Remember to take a closer look at the individual neighbourhoods and areas, in general, as well so that you’re making an informed decision.
Some countries will be a much more lucrative investment than others, and you really don’t want to put your hard-earned money somewhere it’s just going to disappear. Start by having a few thorough looks through the web, first of all, and search for keywords such as Malaysia property market 2018 to understand exactly what’s going on in the market in each individual country this year. That way, you’ll safeguard yourself from making a poor investment decision just because you want to become an expat.
If the real estate market is going downhill in the country you have your eyes on, it’s probably better to put your money to better use. Put it in a fond, for example, and let it grow and prosper while you’re sipping cocktails at a beach somewhere.
When you decide that you’d actually prefer to buy a place rather than renting it, and you know for certain that the market is in a good place, you should get in touch with both a real estate agent and a lawyer. They will be able to help you out in terms of finding the best neighbourhood in the city and making sure that you’re up to date on all the rules and regulations.
You need to do things quite thoroughly when investing abroad since you’re not as in-the-know about the country’s laws as you are when it comes to investing at home. It’s the best way to avoid being scammed.
Find a way to make a living
Now, we need to talk about how you’re going to make money while you’re abroad. Undeniably, it’s going to be tiring to just live off coconuts and papayas after a while and you need to fund all of those fancy beach drinks in any way.
Luckily, there are a lot of ways to make money while you’re an expat and technology hasn’t just made everything possible for you – it has made it a whole lot easier too. You will probably find a lot of other digital nomads to connect with while you’re abroad, by the way, and they can also point you in the right direction.
It is best, however, to have an actual job before making the big move. There is a lot to choose from and the jobs that are highest in demand online are web design, programming, SEO, copywriting, and photography. Have a look at this article as well, by the way, to learn more about the skills you should acquire to ensure a job while you’re overseas.
If you’re not good at either programming or web design and lack the writing skills, you might want to consider trying to do what you used to do at home. A lot is still possible when you have your laptop and a decent Internet connection; teachers, counsellors, and coaches of all types will have a great chance at continuing what they used to do through video calls.
Have a chat with your boss, for example, to ask about remote opportunities or consider establishing your own company. That way, you can be your own boss while still making money abroad in your home country’s currency.
Keep in mind that if you’d like to work for a company in the country you’re moving to, you need a visa that allows for this. It’s not always that easy to get, though, and the company will often have to prove that you’re the best and only candidate for the job.
There you have it; that’s all you need to know about moving abroad. Other than a different climate, a strange language, and a culture you need to get used to, life will pretty much be the same as it was at home.