Why You Should Try Living In A Different Country At Least Once In Your Life
It’s admittedly easier than ever to live anywhere in the world now that online business and remote working is a thing, and yet we still have so much resistance bubbling away stopping us from going for it. Even if you don’t make a living online, it is still completely possible, with some planning and working out how to make it work that you can choose to live aboard for a period of time longer than a usual holiday. As you’re probably aware from our feed and articles we’ve been posting, we’ve just been living in Los Angeles full time for the past two months. There are certain reasons why we chose to be there for a while (more on that soon) but even if there wasn’t another purpose to us being there, we truly believe that having that experience of living somewhere completely different for a while has completely changed and revolutionised our lives. We’d recommend living in a different country at some point to anyone, and here is why:
You’ll overcome big things and get more confidence in your ability to take big steps
All of those things that you think might go wrong whilst you’re away? The truth? They’re limiting beliefs. I had it in my head that there would be something seriously wrong happen when we were away, the business would fail or we’d get there and realise we hated it. The crazy thing is, none of those things happened and it ended up being one of the most incredible, life changing experiences I’ve had so far. Our brains want to keep us safe, it’s a natural response. Except we are not in the days of being chased by tigers anymore, and most of the time our fight or flight response is overkill. An experience like this, where you’re actively saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to all of the worrying thoughts that come up, and feeling into the fears and doing it anyway, you’ll give yourself the evidence you need to do bigger and bigger things. I often find that when I first think about doing something new, I’ll feel scared. It’s hard to determine the two apart, but feeling scared is actually a similar feeling to being excited. The more experience you get in going for what you want and not giving fear your driving seat, you’ll be able to build on bigger and bigger things.
You’ll discover fresh perspectives and new ways to do things
Before we headed out to LA, we were stuck in a cycle of laptop work for weeks at a time and then adventures. The laptop work, of course needs to happen to make those adventures happen for us, but we often found we were cranky and didn’t feel like we were really able to do what it was we wanted. We decided LA would be a place where we could try a new way of working, and rather than spending weeks at a time at a laptop, we’d break up the week so we’d spend some days a week out shooting and creating and other days answering emails and working on projects and editing. We also decided not to make rigid plans of what we’d do whilst we were around. It wasn’t easy to transition into this way of working and we felt so much resistance around it at first, but once we got into it, it really changed things for us. Because we were getting out much more frequently into the wilderness and creating and doing the things we loved, we felt more inspiration for our times at the laptop. This is something that we are using as our fail safe work method now, and whilst there are obviously periods of time where we are working at our laptops more due to deadlines, launches or really pushing some new ideas out, we are making a lot more time for adventures as much as possible rather than leaving it to big trips when scheduled. If we hadn’t have spent this time travelling, we probably wouldn’t have moved into this new way of working, and it feels like we have catapulted our business but also our joy and pleasure so much more by living and working in this way.
You’ll learn to go with the flow a lot more
As a recovering control freak, that was not my favourite phrase to ever think about! The idea of ever being able to truly relax and enjoy an experience that I had created for myself sounded great, but in reality I didn’t used to be someone who truly relaxed. There was always something to do, something to worry about. Shortly into this trip, I started to truly relax into what I’d created for us. Sure, there were tough times, there were ups and downs, but since we’ve been back in the UK, I feel like I have my head screwed on a bit tighter and my heart a little easier. My obsessive need to plan everything in the past stopped a good while ago, when I realised that my inability to be flexible was actually killing any room for spontaneous fun, but never the less, it’s a long term process and there are still times when my need to control take over. The idea of not planning out every trip to within an inch of its life is still something that I find I have to be really aware of, but a trip like this is a really great lesson and example in why you shouldn’t and how you can’t plan everything. There is no way I’d have been able to plan every single hike and adventure we’d be going on in advance. If you open yourself to the possibility that things might not look exactly as you had planned, but better, you’re going to allow yourself some truly magical experiences. Because I allowed myself to get excited and spontaneously plan things, we were finding incredible places that I didn’t even know existed. Local knowledge is another great resource as well. One of my favourite moments was when we took a road trip to Alabama Hills; a trip that we’d planned out just two days previously. Tent in tow, we tried to pitch a spot, only to discover swarms of mosquitos ready to take a bite. We decided to take our luck and head to the nearest town to try and find a motel for the night. Not having a definite plan of where we’d be staying that night is something that in the past would have had me worried, and come to think of it, isn’t even something I achknowledged as an awesome development until writing this just now, but my developed skill of being flexible and just going with the flow has really allowed me to actually have the kind of adventures I know I’ve been craving deep down for so many years.
You’ll realise that pretty much all of things that held you back from going weren’t actually true
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut when taking a step like this into thinking that your life will fall to pieces back home. Or you won’t have any friends. Or you’ll be lonely. Or you’ll make no new friends. The truth is, those things can all be true if we want them to be, and sometimes self sabotaging a new friendship is all the evidence we need that this ‘new life’ or ‘new chapter’ isn’t for us. In reality, it was really easy for us to strike up conversations with new people, and since we’ve been back in the UK, we’ve scheduled in meet ups with friends. Things certainly didn’t fall apart back at our place in London either. I was absolutely terrified about leaving our cats for two months straight, but within the first couple of hours of being away when I recieved a barrage of pictures of them looking safe and well from our friend who was house sitting, all was well.
You’ll realise the logistics of sorting our your trip and anything that comes up is easy if you break it down, and within that, build a really useful skill
Over the years, I have really learnt to use all of the tactics, skills and techniques I learnt whilst on a journey to dealing with crippling anxiety and how to apply them into my business. In that time, I became a really good at breaking down complex tasks and making them simple and manageable to achieve. The truth is, we can often be overwhelmed by a dream or goal that we have because the ultimate thing we want to achieve seems so far away. There are usually two reasons for this, the first is that it seems difficult to comprehend it materialising into reality because your life/actions or thoughts are not currently in alignment with that goal and also because we can’t see how we can get from where we are now, to where we want to be. When I think about anything I want to achieve in my life, I always think about how I can break it down into manageable, achievable steps - and planning this trip was no different. Planning two months in a different continent seemed incredible at first and even more so the idea that for the time being, living between Europe and the US was going to be our reality, but then the doubts set in. I got caught up in worrying about how we’d organise this and how that would work. I was quickly able to see that I was getting in my own way. Once I broke it down, I realised it was actually quite simple. My tip: don’t overcomplicate it. If there are some things you forget, they can be sorted out when you’re away. It doesn’t need to be this big complicated thing, especially if you allow yourself to get into the enjoyment of planning it. Once I got out of my head, I started to really enjoy looking at where we wanted to live and some of the things I wanted to do.
You become incredibly unmaterialistic
I got my first feel of travelling without much stuff when I was at university and travelled around Europe with the band I was in. I loved it, that realisation that I do not need loads of stuff. We collect so much over the course of our lives and so much of that is stuff that we don’t need. When you’re travelling, you start to realise the key things that you need with you and what you can leave back at home. When you’re spending your time enjoying experiences, you find so much less of your focus is on ‘stuff’. When you’re living for a prolonged period in another place, you really start to see what you actually need and what makes your life feel better. It also makes you reevaluate where you spend your money in the future; potentially being more inclined to spend your money on experiences over possessions that don’t bring you as much joy.
You might find somewhere new you want to live
If you never try something else, you’ll never know what else is there. One of the main reasons we don’t allow ourselves to try things that intrigue us is because of the worry of what enjoying it might mean. The idea of heading off to somewhere new and realising that it was actually the home you’ve always dreamed of can be a daunting thought. What about all of the people back home you’d leave behind by moving here? What about your job or business? In reality, making a decision to move to into a new life is always going to cost you your old one, but realising that you feel fulfilled in another place is an incredible feeling. Allow yourself the excitement to see if living somewhere else is possible for you. You might also go and realise that there is nothing like your home and return with a newfound gratitude for everything you have at home.
You’ll learn about a new culture and learn more about your own at the same time
We found it funny when we first started exploring America properly in the last couple of years at just how, on the surface, America and England look kind of the same. We both speak the same language, we both have similar cultural appropriations. What we actually realised was just how different the two places and cultures were. There are so many words used in the vocabulary of people living in England that Americans do not know or understand and vice versa. We often found that we were having to explain certain things we were saying to people and asking for clarification ourselves. There are also so many different traditions that are missed and unknown on both sides too. In terms of business, the way Americans do business is quite different to people in the UK and it was a great skill to learn. We found it so fun to have conversations with people where we learnt about different words, phrases and it was a great way to start connections with people. We also learnt a lot about the UK in this also, which made us understand more of where we’ve lived for such a long time. There are obviously massive degrees of that, and going to a country that speaks the same language as you but going to an entirely different language, religious beliefs, culture is a whole other level. You’ll really start to embrace the culture and because you’ll be there for a while, you’ll start to really introduce that culture to your own. Because we were away for a long period, we have found that since we’re back in Europe we can help but naturally have slightly more rounded accents and laid back Californian attitudes.
You’ll come back with an almost tourist like eye for your home
This was something we never realised would happen, but since we’ve been back in England, we’ve found ourselves feeling so alien and removed from it all. We had become so used to the desert, to those sandy mountains, the heat and the haze. Everything looked yellow and it was beautiful. We’ve always taken England for granted because it’s been the place we’ve, admittedly always felt lack lustre about returning to. As we came into land, everything looked so green. As we drove back to our place we saw green fields and trees like we hadn’t seen in a long time. We saw quaint houses and cute cottages, it felt like we were a tourist in our own home again. On various hikes we’ve done since we’ve been here, we’ve been really blown away by the smooth fields that make up the landscapes surrounding London and they appear so surreal to us. What that goes to show is that you can become used to anywhere if you’re there for long enough, but it doesn’t take as long as you think. Once you switch things up, you’ll really start to see just what small things you begin to take for granted in your home environment.
You’ll know that you can
Before we left for the US, we had so many worried and apprehensions as to whether we would be able to do this. Now we’ve done it, we know that we can. The truth is, if you don’t try to do the things that put you far out of your comfort zone, you’ll never realise that your comfort zone is such a stretchy thing it’s unreal. Once you’ve stretched it, it’s pretty hard to un-stretch it and you’ll start to see yourself doing things that you didn’t think you would before you left.
You’ll start to wonder what else is possible for you
You’ll start to think ‘maybe if I can do this, the other thing I want suddenly feels much more achievable’ and you’ll find yourself making bigger plans based off of what you’ve done for yourself and your self esteem.
Start thinking about where it is you’ve wanted to go but never have. Make a short list of contenders.
Once you have your list, start thinking about how you could make it work. If you’re freelance and work remotely or own a business that doesn’t rely on your presence, it’s going to be a lot easier to work things out, but if not try to think of any ways you can that you can continue to work or even not whilst you’re away.
Start to make a lost of all of the things you will need to arrange and sort out before you go, this will make it easier to get everything into one place. Our biggest tips here are not to overthink this, really you’re making a list similarly to how you’d go about booking a holiday and the things you need to consider there. Allow yourself plenty of time for this step if you need to arrange things like a house or pet sitter. You do not need to cover every eventuality in this list, just the essentials.
If you need to start saving up money for things like rent etc whilst you’re away, start thinking of a realistic timeline and a budget for what you need to save. Having this goal here will really help you to stay focused on what it is you want to achieve.
If you feel resistance to this at any point and start to become fearful that you’re making the wrong decision, try to sit with your thoughts and remember that you’re safe and it’s completely ok to do what you’re doing. Often when we feel resistance, they are the things we need to do the most.
Enjoy it! You’ve put in a lot of thought to make this possible, but if you find yourself stressed by where you are, what you’ve left behind or feeling lonely, remember that this experience is not forever and it is safe to enjoy it, all the things you’re learning and how you’re expanding.
THIS EXPANSIVE ADVENTURE
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