Can't decide where you should move abroad? Follow my bullet point journal exercise to compare key factors for finding your best life overseas.
Feel like something is missing in your life? You’re not living to your full potential, or things just seem better elsewhere?
Well, you’re not the only one. While a lot of people may feel like they are settling when it comes to their work/home location, only a fraction of these people actually do something about it and take action.
Don’t spend another moment wondering and imagining ‘What if? This post explains the most important aspects of life that come together to make for a really great balanced lifestyle in your new location overseas!
Based on my personal experience and taking into consideration the international polls/surveys of happiest countries to live in, the most important factors of living a fulfilling life are:
- WORK/LIFE BALANCE
- ACCOMMODATION & LIVING CONDITIONS
- FRIENDS & FAMILY
- HOBBIES & INTERESTS
- CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
- + PERSONAL GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT (Bonus category)
= QUALITY OF LIFE
In your journal, write down the name of your current location as well as all the places you are thinking about moving to abroad. Write the numbers 1-5 underneath each place. We’re going to rate each category to calculate the overall quality of life you could have there.
1. WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Definitely the most important category. The question is: Can you actually work there?
If you are part of the new financially free lifestyle entrepreneurs working from their laptop then you can choose to skip this category. However for the rest of us, you must figure out how you will earn money.
After researching the job opportunities you may have to rule out this country altogether or focus on how you would gain the required skills. Consider these critical points:
- Can I find a job here?
- Will I enjoy this job?
- Are the working hours good? (consider paid holidays? etc)
- Will I be able to save money?
- Is this job sending me in the right direction, career-wise?
In your journal, draw 3 symbols (😀😕😢) to answer each bullet point above. For example, the first question, ‘Can I find a job here?’, put a 😀 if you can easily work abroad there. Draw a face for each question. This is catergory number 1. Then calculate the score from: 😀=+1😕=0😢=-1
2. ACCOMMODATION & LIVING CONDITIONS
Another serious topic that needs to be clarified before we continue is what kind of place you’ll be living in?
Being comfortable in your home is certainly going to affect your happiness, especially if you’re someone who is more of an indoors person. So in your journal ask yourself:
- Can you afford a place in the part of town you ideally want to be?
- How is the overall quality of accommodation there?
- Are you happy with the living arrangements, whether it be with housemates or having your own place?
- Will you be able to have guests over?
- How difficult will it be to organise accommodation?
3. FRIENDS & FAMILY
Next is about people. The question is: Are you prepared to meet new people and make new friends overseas?
Dealing with loneliness abroad is something that people don’t see coming and is generally an underrated issue across the world.
The people you spend time with have the biggest effect on your mindset and overall happiness. Taking language classes is a great way to start as you’ll meet people in similar situation to you.
If you are single, you will surely be thinking about your dating prospects too so ask yourself and score in your journal:
- Will I like the behaviour/social norms of the local people?
- Will I either live/study/work with other people I can spend my free time with?
- Will I suffer from homesickness?
- Will there be a big language barrier?
- Am I going to be romantically satisfied in this country!? (are you seeking a partner?)
4. HOBBIES & INTERESTS
Another big aspect of moving abroad, which is often dismissed as less important, is what you will actually do in your free time.
Evenings, weekends and holidays need to be filled somehow so if you’re considering going somewhere just because you’ve been offered a great job there then seriously figure out what will bring that essential passion and spice into your life.
For me, this has been something I have overlooked in the past and paid the consequences by having boring evenings and weekends, pushing me to move and try somewhere else.
Questions to answer:
- Am I interested in the social lifestyle there?
- Am I interested in the local popular hobbies/sports?
- Will there be something to get me out the house for 1 full day each week?
- Am I interested in the culture/history?
- Can I continue with any current hobbies/sports?
5. CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
Now have you thought about the weather abroad? Climate and pace of life is oftentimes what creates the image you have of a certain place. It totally sets the scene for what kind of lifestyle you’ll have.
Moving somewhere with drastically different climate can critically affect you’re mood. Ever heard of S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder)? Yup, it’s very real. So you must consider:
- Generally, how much does the weather appeal to you?
- Will you be close to nature? Is there sufficient ‘green space’ to keep you satisfied?
- Are you worried about the area feeling either noisy/overcrowded or too quiet/remote?
- How clean is the air?
- Will you feel safe here?
After getting your last score, use highlighters or coloured pens/pencils to identify which category each country scores best in.
Now add up each score to get your overall QUALITY OF LIFE SCORE which is marked out of 25.
Depending on how many locations you are comparing, or how differently you scored each place, I suggest considering this final category to reach your ultimate decision…
6. + PERSONAL GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT (Bonus category)
As self growth and building your best life is a big part of my blog and ethos, I have added this bonus category.
Continually improving and upgrading yourself is so important to live a fully fulfilling life of purpose so if you really want to focus on yourself and becoming your own boss, rather than working your way up the corporate ladder this could be the most important category for you.
Use this final list to see if moving will align with your future vision and goals:
- Will you have time to work on making different streams of income? (e.g. side business, investments, freelancing)
- Will you be able to network and meet like-minded people?
- Is the move, in itself, an upgrade from your current location?
- Will you be able to reach your health/fitness goals here?
- When you picture your best self does this image and the way you look/dress fit with the location?
Calculate the bonus score. For me the bonus category is the decision-maker so my final decision will be based on that.
And there you have it folks. I hope this managed to clear a few things up for you. Don’t forget my specially made ‘Move Abroad Journal’ that will smoothly take you through the decision process for choosing a location! Check it out below ↓↓↓↓
These days there are so many fantastic international opportunities out there it is overwhelming – If I could experience life in every city in the world I would!
Don’t forget to google expat bloggers who already made the move abroad to your dream destination and have first hand experience you can learn from.
I’d love to hear where you are thinking about moving, leave a comment below or post a picture of the list from your journal!
Thank you, and good luck on your journey!
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