I often write about travel on this blog, despite it being called relocationjunkie.com. However, I’d like to start this post off by saying that I believe there to be a distinct difference between relocation and travel.
Travel can be short term or long term, budget or high class, but there is a definite transience to the existence of a traveller. As a traveller, you know that eventually you will be returning back to a place you can call home at some point in the future, you may just not know when or where that home is.
Relocation on the other hand has a more permanent state and feel to it. You are literally taking all of your worldly possessions with you and physically moving yourself away from your previous home and into a new place which you may or may not already be familiar with. That said…
Relocation is exciting stuff!
Depending on where you relocate to you may be transitioning yourself into a place with a whole new language, work ethic, culture and traditions. Even if you’re simply relocating to a new place close-ish to home you’re still given the opportunity to re-build your identity, refresh your friendship circles, explore new work/lifestyle opportunities and renew your outlook on what it means to be you on this planet.
However, relocation doesn’t always make sense for everyone. Travelling is a lot easier in that sense, because you can save to travel, go on your trip(s) and then come back whenever you’re ready (or in some cases simply when you run out of cash…).
Deciding to relocate takes a slightly bigger commitment though as the likelihood is you won’t have a job or place to run back to in the event that all things go Pete Tong. That’s why I believe it’s always important to consider a few key questions before making the final decision to relocate. For example…
Why do I want to relocate?
I think the first big question that needs to be answered is the WHY question. Why do you want to relocate? Are you bored of where you are now? Are you looking for a better job opportunity? Is your partner asking you to move closer to home? Are you running away from something/someone back home?
Relocation is a big step and especially if you’ve been living at home all your life with your loved ones close by, it can seem like an intimidating step to take. It can be totally worth it with the right attitude and opportunities, but you should be doing it for the right reasons.
Think about your reasons and see how relocation might affect you further down the line, instead of just at this moment in time. How will it affect your career prospects? How will it affect your personal life? How will it affect your family?
If you are choosing to relocate for positive and progressive reasons, the likelihood is that you’ll be able to weather any potential differences/disappointments a lot better than if you’re relocating from a negative place. So, make sure to carefully consider your reasons for relocating before making the move so that if you do decide to make the move, you’re in a good place to adapt to what’s coming.
Tip: 4 Great Reasons to Relocate
- To learn a new skill
- To pursue an interesting job opportunity
- To improve your current living standards
- To increase your/your family’s global awareness
What can relocation offer me?
This question is very closely related to your life goals, so you might want to take the time to evaluate what exactly it is you’re after.
The first time I independently relocated after my undergraduate degree it was because I wanted to be a translator and in order to do that I needed to improve my Korean language skills.
Moving to South Korea to study Korean full-time, therefore, made sense. It was going to bring me closer to my goal of being a tri-lingual translator and it would give me a deeper understanding of the culture, which would inevitably help me understand differences in linguistic nuances.
Tip: 4 Skills You Can Gain When You Relocate
- Cultural awareness
- People skills
- Foreign language skills
How can relocation hinder me?
Believe it or not, relocation might not always be an amazing move for you. If you’re moving for a spouse’s job, for example, it could be that you need to leave your own job in order to make it work.
Or it could be, that if you’re only planning to relocate for a short period of time, that you won’t have the emotional stability your close friends could otherwise provide you with. If you’re single, frequent relocation might also mess with your confidence to build a relationship.
It’s really important to at least briefly consider how relocation could negatively affect your lifestyle, but at this point I’d like to stress that this is mainly due to the need for balanced thoughts.
Many people like to think of relocation in extremes. It’s either a super-positive thing or a super-negative thing, but in reality, it is often somewhere in between, so it’s good to have at least an idea of what your life could realistically look like if you do decide to move.
Tip: 4 Effects to Consider When You Relocate
- Can you communicate in the new place?
- What job opportunities will there be for you?
- Will your standard of living be affected?
- Do you like the look of the new area?
For me, personally, relocation has played a great part in developing my skills, increasing my opportunities and improving my global awareness through gaining work experience and connections across the globe.
However, each one of my moves has been carefully designed to coincide with my current life goals, which I believe is one of the biggest reason why I am so successful at it.
Anybody can have a positive experience relocating, but it has to make sense, so before taking the leap why not save yourself a few headaches, ask the questions that matter and then decide on your next steps?
What have your experiences been relocating? Why did you relocate? How did you decide to relocate? Feel free to leave your comments below!