How to Quit Your Job and Move Abroad

Hi! So sorry I’ve been a bit MIA on the actual blog side of things since launching the blog this summer. As you can imagine, my husband, Andy, and I have been a bit busy with our move abroad to the Netherland. Unfortunately, writing content for on here was put on the back burner. Either way, I’m so happy that I decided to get the blog up and running before heading abroad so that you are already acquainted with my platform and I can just pick up where I left off. If I’m being totally honest, the blog has changed a bit after throwing in the element of life abroad. When I started this blog, I thought it would be a fairly straightforward fashion and lifestyle blog. After moving to the Netherlands though, I feel it totally necessary to speak to the expat/travel side of things as well. Hopefully you’ll bear with me while I try and figure out how to mush it all together! If you’re new here, check out my “About Me”section to learn a little bit about what this young blog is all about.

Now, for the fun stuff! If you’re like me, you’ve probably thought about moving abroad a time or two but get totally overwhelmed just thinking about where to begin. When we started talking about moving abroad, I had sooooo many questions and was constantly trying to find answers online. Having recently gone through it all myself, I feel it a personal need to share a brief summary of how you too can quit your job and move abroad.

Find your “Why”:

Ask yourself why you want to move abroad and what you hope to get out of the experience long-term. What are the things that motivate you to embark into such unknown territory? It’s important to weigh out if your “Why” makes the move worth. Moving abroad WILL NOT be easy.  For us, moving abroad was an opportunity to see as much of Europe as possible before settling down and having kids. It was a combination of timing being right, flexibility in our careers, and endeavoring to push ourselves out of our comfort zone.

Find your “Where”:

If you’ve already made up your mind that you want to move abroad, the next question to answer is,“Where will you move?” It’s such a big world and though it may seem easy to just close your eyes and point to a place on the map or choose somewhere based off of a previous trip, you may want to consider how things like finding a job and daily lifestyle will align with your personal wants and needs. Simply visiting a place can be a lot different than actually living there. We chose the Netherlands for a number of reasons including the city’s extensive biking community, how close everything within the country is, ability to find work, etc. As an added bonus for us, most people that live in the Netherlands speak English quite well, and though we want to learn Dutch, knew this would help with our transition.

Rotterdam Port View of Hotel New York

Find your “What”?

When formulating a plan to move abroad, its definitely important to consider what your means of supporting yourself or filling your days will look like. Will you find a job before moving, begin a new study program, or wait until you’re actually living in your new home to look for work? Maybe you decide to take a brief sabbatical and live off of savings. Regardless of which path you end up choosing, it’s important to take a step back and think this one through. For us, finding a job before heading abroad was crucial. We knew that having support from a company during the transition would be important for us and we didn’t want to add on the stress of looking for work and how we would financially support ourselves to adjusting to a new country. Fortunately, in our family, Andy’s job as a software developer can support us both while I look for my own work.

 Commit to Your Plan:

Once you’ve decided to move abroad, you’ll have to figure out how to set your plan in motion. Since we took the finding a job first route, Andy immediately started looking for jobs. Just as he would do in the US, he researched companies that would interest him and started aggressively putting in applications. Whether you’re looking for a job or not, this step will take lots of patience, tons of research, and dedication. Finding answers won’t always be easy and it might not be fast but if you’re committed to your move, you’ll be able to make things happen! Even if you do secure a job before moving abroad, you’ll also have to commit to the fact that actually quitting your current job might not be as easy as it feels during your daily daydreaming session.  It’ll take a lot of time spent outside your comfort zone to reach your goals.

Simplify your Life:

What will you bring abroad? You may decide to sell everything and start fresh. You may be like us and take a few things and throw the rest in storage. Either way you’ll want to begin the process of sorting it out as soon as you’ve committed to moving abroad because it will definitely take some time. Andy and I did not choose to bring much stuff. We sold a lot of our belongings (cars, furniture, etc.) and put the rest in storage for when we move back to the US. We were each allowed to ship three suitcases under 70 pounds, which we took full advantage of! Also, we decided to ship one vehicle (my car) so we could have it for travel between countries with the dogs and also to pack full of some essentials for our new home.

Surrender to the Process:

If you’re like me, this one might be a toughie. I am super open-minded to new experiences but I always for whatever reason go kicking and screaming. I am perpetually afraid of the unknown and moving abroad was scary as heck to me. Realize that it’s ok to be scared and that it’s all part of the process.

Rotterdam Ferris Wheel near Markthal

Realize that Everything You’re Leaving Behind Will Still be There:

One of the hardest parts of moving abroad for me was leaving my friends and family. I’ve lived a fairly transient lifestyle over the past ten years, jumping from home to home and city to city. All of that was within a very reasonable amount of distance from my actual home-base of friends and family though. Moving abroad removes the physical proximity to things you’ve grown attached to like people, stores, gyms, etc. You have to realize that it will all still be there if and when you decide to move home. Realize that you’re not as much saying “goodbye” as you are saying “see you later”. You’ll find new normal in your new home and cultivate new attachments.

Get Familiar With Being Uncomfortable:

Living in a new country is one of the most uncomfortable feelings I’ve ever had. It’s a never-ending cycle of excitement and then harsh realization that this is my home now and EVERYTHING is different. Things like going to the grocery store or visiting a new gym become endlessly more complicated. Life will be a lot harder until you adjust to the culture and you’ll have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Put Yourself Out There and Just Go for It:

Sure, you might hate it. Sure, you might fail, but you’ll never know unless you try, right? There are always a million reasons why you shouldn’t do something but a million more for why you should. If you’ve decided to move abroad, chances are you’ve done so for good reason. Don’t let your anxieties and fears hold you back from this life changing experience! Just remember that nothing is permanent and you can always change your situation. I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to get on the plane the day that Andy and I finally made the move. Honestly though, the days leading up to our actual moving day were so much harder than the actual leaving itself.

There you have it! A few (not all) steps to picking up your life, quitting your current job, and embarking on an adventure of a lifetime abroad. Hope these tips help whether you’re just starting to play with the idea of moving abroad or have already made the decision to do it! Feel free to email or leave questions in the comments.

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