For better or worse, I decided during 2019 to pack up my life and return to live in the United Kingdom (which I had done before). As you can imagine – never an easy choice, but as my children were grown and engaged or married, I felt it was now “Mom’s Time” to follow her dreams. All this was before Covid-19 and before it was even on anyone’s radar.
I decluttered, donated, disposed of, and packed what was left over a period of about 4 months. Being a professional organiser (and having moved globally no less than 4 times) you would think I would have this down pat! But as I am only human, I still made mistakes, left things out of the packing, and had to send a couple of extra boxes (with the precious family genealogy records) as an afterthought!
Here are my main takeout’s from having packed up and moved (in a global pandemic):
- You will pack too much stuff – it is human nature to become attached to our possessions. I still do not have a permanent home after 10 months of living here and I am still living primarily with what I brought in my suitcases!
- Do your research – often the spaces in your new home country will be quite different from what you are used to – South African or American furniture does not fit comfortably in European or UK homes. Unless it is a family heirloom, or you honestly cannot live without it – leave it behind and buy what works in your new home.
- Take the time to be clear on what you will need initially and what you can wait for – you may need the summer clothes before you need the crock pot! And honestly research the prices of items in your new home country – often it is cheaper to buy new (which also then means guarantees/warrantees) than it is to bring items with you.
- Make sure you can easily access all the critical records you may need – education certificates, birth, and marriage certificates etc. And have digital backups of everything. In this case – the Cloud is your friend.
- Take the time to review your Curriculum Vitae or resume and make sure they are in a format that works for your new country. There are always subtle differences, and it may be worth your while to have it reviewed by a local professional to help with your job search (if you are not going to a job directly).
- Look for and join local area Facebook groups – there is a wealth of information available to you in these groups, including recommendations for trades people, great places to visit and generally helpful local information.
- If possible, set up some type of banking account before you leave – even a global account will make it easier to access funds once you land and will give you time to get the necessary paperwork to open a local account. At the same time, research what is needed in your new home to open a bank account, local government services and utility bills. As much as this seems like TOO much information – it will make it easier particularly if you have limited access to the internet or are relying on your phone.
- Talking of phones – get a local SIM card as soon as possible. Initially in most places you will not be able to open an account but everywhere I have been there are companies that offer a data heavy package at a reasonable price.
I am sure I have left off a ton of things – but that just means I have a chance to come back and share some more lessons from moving globally – Covid or no Covid!