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Balancing the Logistics and Emotions of Moving Abroad

I have a coaching client who wants to move to Italy. Right now, she's mired in the logistics and planning.

What type of visa do I need?

Can I run my business there?

Where will we live?

I know from my own experience that this is completely normal, but I also know from my experience that dealing with the nitty-gritty details isn't the most important part of preparing for a move abroad.

It's the emotional part that's more challenging.

When You Untether Your Life by Moving Abroad

I've used that word a lot, "untether," and it's an accurate one. We tend to get so excited about a new life in a new place that we overlook the fact that we are disconnecting from the familiar.

Even things we take for granted, like drive-through fast food, car washes, or even the DMV...these are all things that we have been raised to understand how they function, but once you move to another place, either these things don't exist, or they function slightly different from the familiar.

Starting over in building a friend circle is another thing people don't consider. Some of us have had friends for decades, if not longer, and we don't consider how long it took to build that core group of friends. Enter another culture where people already have their established friends, as well as strong ties to family, and it can be a bit harder to find your tribe.

Plan for Discomfort

After my move to Italy, I'd say it took me a good nine months to stop the feeling of fight or flight and really feel more comfortable in my new life.

I've called the myriad things I struggled with "death by 1,000 cuts" (which I reframed to "strength by 1,000 cuts"). It wasn't that any single thing was overwhelmingly difficult to figure out, but add to that the fact that my brain was still trying to catch up as I rapidly improved my Italian skills AND learned to drive manual, and you pretty much have a 24/7 meltdown going on.

You may have visited the country you want to move to. That's a good start, but realize that your perspective has been exclusively one of a tourist. You haven't stood in line to pay your car tax, tried to decipher local dialect, or struggled to find a restaurant that offered anything (God, ANYTHING) besides pasta and pizza.

Living in a country is different, and it's difficult to truly prepare for those shifts until you arrive.

But if you take off the rose-colored lenses before you arrive, if you give yourself the grace to figure things out, and the time to do it, you'll manage just fine.

Just get off of your to-do lists and start checking out how you FEEL about the move!

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