Step to Step Guide
Falling in love is one of the most wonderful feelings on the planet. It most often happens when you least expect it. So, you’ve just set off on your #familyadventurevacation to a place of wonder, and the last thing on your mind is falling in love. Then bam, out of nowhere, you fall in love, steals your heart and your return home lovesick.
Since I was a little girl, my dreams of travel always took me to the other side of the globe. Even though my nationality comes in a nice blue book, I always felt there was another “home” on the planet for myself. Over the years, I have travelled to many places. I have fallen in love with several of my destinations for different reasons. Some for their ability to show me tangible proof of information I had been taught in schools, like Rome. While others have left me memorized by their rich traditions and ways of life, as in Morocco or South Africa. Similar to meeting “the one”, I have only met a special few that have left me dreaming of waking up each day to their daily routines, their daily smells, and their daily sounds.
The more you travel, the more you will fall in love with the nature, the people, the food, the culture, the ambiance and so on. But what happens when you fall in love with all of these things at once, and you can’t stop thinking about it?
You move there. Because if you don’t one day you will regret it and wonder “what if” we had packed up and just did it.
All the excuses in the world will sound like a good enough reasons to stay put. Friends, family, job opportunities, bills, responsibilities, the children’s education, the kids friends, stability, what will people think… the list will go on and on. Home is where the heart is. That is what they say. So, if you are in love with another country – one where you don’t live, there is always an option.
I know, it sounds very romantic, and easier said than done. Keep your thoughts simple, if not permanent it could be temporary. For everyone, there is a way. You just have to find it, have the courage to make it happen, and do it. Here’s my Step to Step Guide to how we decided to move to the Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
Step one: Communicate
“Does my partner feel the same way I do?”
You simply don’t know until you talk about it. Maybe you both secretly fell in love with your vacation destination or maybe just one of you did. Regardless, unless you share those feelings you simply don’t know what the other is thinking. From the moment the Alejandro and I made our feelings public to each other, we were able to consider the possibility of the “what if”. For sure, it was not an overnight decision. We had a lot to consider and obviously had to weigh the pros and cons, not only for ourselves but our children as well. What we had defined was a platform for communicating. That became the foundation for our ideas towards making the relocation possible. Thanks to a bit of courage, both of us were up for the adventure.
Step two: Make a plan
“A wish without a plan is just a wish.”
Define what will need to happen and a realistic timeframe for your desires to become successful.
First, we defined what we felt were important variables towards our relocation. Are there schools available and do they meet the level of standard you would like to provide for your children? Can you afford them? Will you need to look for a job or are you able to become self-employed? How much money would you (ideally) like to have saved up and in the bank for your move?
Next, each of us took responsibility towards acquiring the information we required to start creating our plan. For ourselves, we decided it would take us 12 months to relocate. This timeframe was purely picked on the idea that I wanted our children to begin at the beginning of a school year, rather than in the middle. For you, it may be dependent on a job or different opportunity. Whatever it is, make it realistic and try to pick a timeframe that will allow you enough time to get your plan 90% done without adding additional pressure to yourself because you don’t have enough time. Moving abroad is a big decision and even though you can always return to your home country, it is not as easy as 1,2,3 and can be very costly.
Step three: Set benchmarks.
“Small hurdles are manageable and can be adjusted if needed along the way.”
This was possibly one of the best planning ideas we had from the beginning. For a living, I create functional fitness training plans for small to medium sized Fitness/CrossFit centers. I always have a series of objectives I am working with. I have found my plans to be most successful if I work backwards, starting with my objective and defining what it will take for me to get to that objective. Patience and time are important here.
Our objective was to move on the 15th of August 2015. We began our plan on the 15th of September 2014. Our biggest task was the need to sell our businesses, as we decided to rebuild our them in our new location. This required several for them to be even considered for purchase. One by one we mapped out those steps and fit them into our timeline. Approximately, every three months we had benchmarks. The first two were met without a problem. Unfortunately, the 3rd had a hiccup and the forth, well we are patient.
Even if your plan does not pan out exactly the way you worked it out to be, that’s ok. The important point here is, without a plan you will not feel as if you met most of the requirements you wanted to achieve before relocating, leaving you with unfinished business and more stress in the end.
Step Four: Define your role.
“We is beautiful, but I is very important too.”
Please don’t forget to consider your individual needs. One of you will fit perfectly into the relocation whereas one will need to adjust or find their way within the process. If you are as creative and passionate as I, this step is very important. From the beginning, I was very excited about our life changes and relocating plan. However, I was also a bit uneasy about letting go of a career that I had invested eight years of my heart and soul. Alejandro was putting a bit of pressure on me about the need to “let go and move on” or find something “there” to do. Obviously that was not the way for myself. I went through a process of defining exactly what it was about my career that kept me so passionately and involved. Was it the place of work? Was it the people I worked with? Was it my employees? Was it the brand? Was it a business owner? What exactly was it? It took me six months to define what it was that I loved so much about what I do – I love giving people a platform to make positive physical and mental changes in their lives from. As a CrossFit coach, this could be about coaching but was not exactly there yet. For myself it was about the program and the standard in which the program was given. Out of nowhere, one morning I finally had seen the light… fitnessfuelled.com was born. Give yourself time and dig deep to find out what lights your fire. Living in another country can feel foreign, but doesn’t mean you should feel lost. It will be home at the end of the day, make it close to your heart.
Step Five: Stick together.
“Not everything is rainbows, but you made the choice together so keep it beautiful.”
Like all great couples, we never disagree… ha, ha, ya right! Like all great couples, we have our independence. With this independence come opinions, expectations (I try not to have these), and a bit of fear. These three components together can start a fire like no other. Especially when there are two different sides. Alejandro and I had our moments throughout the year when benchmarks weren’t met, he blamed me, I blamed him, we don’t have enough money, our kids don’t want to go, what if this, what if that… Most importantly, remember you made the decision together to relocate, so stick together on it. Simply by taking a step back, re-evaluating your plan, communicating how you’re feeling, and giving each other a big high five your process with being a lot more enjoyable.
There is no right or wrong way to approach a life change, such as relocation to another country. There is also no shame is sharing with you, I had shed tears of frustration from time to time, Alejandro had brushed me off, we continuously communicated, he most often seemed to be right on track, and I just wanted everything to fit perfectly into a plan. These five steps I shared with you are gold but are not the only way. The bottom line is, if we had never opened our mouths about our secret love affair with Georgia to each other we would have never made a plan. Our plan gave us guidance, whereas our courage kept us strong and together we shared the work, which has led us to the place we now call HOME.
Have you ever fell in love with a country so much you picked up and moved there? If so, let us know where and why?