When my husband and I were first presented with the idea of relocating from Toronto to London this year, it was a much harder decision then it once would have been in our 20s. We had settled in Toronto, bought a home, and were recently married – to most, it would have been an easy “no”. Time to have kids and slow things down, settle into Toronto.
I’d consider myself to have been fully wonderlust through my 20s. There was never a turned down opportunity or place left unexplored. After all, that’s what your 20s are for. But now, it was too late… right?
We went back and forth weighing all the pros and cons. In order to execute a move there were many things to manage through. A career change for me – even though I was in job I loved. The renting of our home – although we had only just moved in a year earlier and loved our neighbourhood. Family and friends – what about all the things we would miss – weddings, nieces and nephews, birthday parties?
Despite all the challenges, eventually we decided that as husband and wife and eventually a family we wanted to always be flexible with opportunities and open to new challenges. We believed that despite any distance our personal family values and our prioritization of friends and family, would allow us to continue to make them a priority even if we moved across the pond.
This adventure is still very new, but I have already learned a few things that might be worth sharing. Hopefully these might inspire you to think a little harder about your next opportunity and not lead with a “30 something no”.
Here are seven things you might expect on a 30 something adventure:
Less Bars, More Dinners and Museums
In my 20s, if my travels were a soundtrack and a drink they would probably be a Tiesto remix and a vodka soda. In my 30s, the soundtrack feels a little less cluttered, more lyrics and a glass of wine (with a good book). The truth is travel and experience now actually feels a little more real. More time in to read and learn, a desire to experience the right foods, and more life experience to appreciate the history.
You will Have More Skin in the Game
Whether it is savings, a home or a long term plan you will no doubt become more vested in your new and old country’s politics, economy and long term potential. You will find yourself becoming more passionate about issues at home and abroad.
Reinventing Yourself can be a Good Thing
One of the reasons I think a 30s adventure becomes more difficult is because as humans we get incredibly comfortable in our surroundings. We tend to become a product of our environment – largely formed by our friends and family. Typically this is a good thing, as most people tend to surround themselves with people who share similar beliefs and hobbies. That said, breaking out from this gives you a chance to reevaluate things. You can try and do things you normally wouldn’t do, or stop doing things you have always done. Away from home you realize that certain social norms are a product of the environment you choose to sit in, they are somewhat relative. In a new environment, you can re-calibrate yourself and self-improve without the fear of criticism or feeling like you can’t break your previous world’s bias.
Technology will be your Savior
I’ll be honest, without Facetime, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Google Maps or Uber I’m not sure I really would have been up for this journey. The truth is technology is scary, but it makes adventures like the one we are on incredibly manageable. Daily facetime updates and group chats make it feel as though you are just down the street. Google Maps and Uber make it seamless to understand where to go and how to get there. Social Media can be an incredible tool for exploring and connecting with inspiring people.
It will be a Relationship Game Changer
Our life was crazy busy at home. Between work, friends, weddings, family, work socials, coffee dates, couple dinners and so on, we were always finding ways to fill every space of quiet time. It’s been nice after a crazy phase of life to settle into our marriage, reflect, and enjoy quiet time. If you choose to take an adventure with a partner, it is a game changer for your relationship. It is incredible to have someone that you can experience everything with. That said, I can no doubt see how some relationships do not survive a move abroad. The sheer logistics alone are incredibly stressful. They will either pull you apart or bring you together.
It won’t go as Planned, but that’s the Fun Part
Rest assured not everything will happen the way you plan and some things will happen in an amazing way out of sheer luck. A few months after we decided to move and few days after I had resigned at work – the Brexit vote happened in the UK changing the landscape of everything drastically. Whether you are traveling or moving to a new country, you will no doubt blame everything different, scary or confusing that happens in the first few months on your new location/ culture. The reality is that more often than not, you would face the same issues at home (traffic, grumpy people etc). In your first few months you are incredibly aware and sensitive to all the differences, but after a while, it becomes a new norm. A norm that starts to feel like home.
Making Friends takes Work, but it’s Worth the Investment
By and far, the largest challenge at any age of moving to a new city, is making friends. Friendship takes time, it takes luck and most of all it takes WORK. As we grow up, we become lazy with new friendships. That said as life progresses we tend to make more meaningful connections and friends, because we know exactly the type of friendships and hobbies that are important to us. No matter how old you are the biggest game changer is being open to new conversations, people and having a set of hobbies to keep you out and engaged in conversation. Personally, I have found the people we have met and started to establish relationships with incredibly interesting, intellectual and kind. At this stage of life most individuals know who they are and are incredibly comfortable in their own skin, making the base for incredible conversation and friendship.
Contributor: Elizabeth Fraser