What It’s Really Like to Move to a New Country by Yourself

By Megan McCormack

Reading a title like this usually renders one of three emotions in its readers: exhilaration, fear, or admiration. Sometimes it’s only one, sometimes it’s a combination of all three. Those who are exhilarated by it tend to be the adventurers, the soul-searchers, the DIY, “ain’t nobody need a man” type of humans, while those who fear it come from an angle of confusion. Why would you want to do that if your home country was perfectly suitable for you? If you had a nice setup? A free place to stay under your mom and dad’s roof? Or friends to move in with in a city not too far from home?

It seems the only way to make any sense out of the whole predicament is to bring the two types together to have a drink and discuss their viewpoints. But what about the admirers? They probably feel a bit of exhilaration and fear.

“Wow, I wish I could do that. But I wouldn’t make it on my own. I’d be homesick, or go broke, or get lost….” the list goes on and on. Excuses are what I tend to call them, and believe me, I’ve made many of them. They’re the reason I almost stayed an admirer rather than a go-getter. The reason I almost threw in the towel on my dreams because, quite frankly, it just seemed too hard. I didn’t know if I could handle it.

But what I’m learning now, 9000 miles from home, is that if I couldn’t handle it, it wouldn’t have been such a pressing thing in my mind. If I couldn’t handle it, it wouldn’t stir my soul to see the sun set on the other side of the world, content with the knowledge that the same sun will shine over my friends and family at home after I kiss it goodbye.

So, what is it really like?

It’s like this: you put one foot in front of the other and search for routine in the strange mechanisms of this brand new world you’ve just entered… so, yeah, you could say it’s a lot like kindergarten. The new faces, different voices, and lack of familiarity is enough to throw you off, but wait, just around the corner, what’s that? A brilliantly shining cafe inviting you inside, or a roped-off cliffside walk urging you on, or a stranger who accidentally makes eye contact and smiles at you; welcoming you to this strange new land in their own carefree way.

To say it’s easy would be a lie, even if you’re extremely extroverted, for obstacles have a way of showing themselves when you least expect them. Nailing the paperwork and public transportation and customs, all while battling the urge to check social media and wallow in self-pity that all your friends at home are together, while you’re alone as can be, is certainly not easy. But, the good news is, it’s certainly not impossible either. If you were strong enough to step on that plane, or that train, or even drive away in a car while your hometown disappeared in the rearview, then you’re strong enough to carry on through a bit of loneliness or frustration.

The point is, there was a reason you were so keen to leave home in the first place. Home is great and home is comfortable, but home is not challenging, it’s rarely inspiring, and hardly ever does it present the answers to the innermost questions and thoughts ricocheting inside our mind. Who am I? What am I meant to do with my life? And, most importantly, what am I capable of?