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For 26 years I lived in the same country, the same province, and the same city. My biggest move was when I was 5 and it was from one neighborhood to another one (and I cried). So you can imagine how nervous I was to move from my hometown of Calgary, Canada to Esbjerg, Denmark.
In June of 2016 my fiance found out he landed a job in Denmark and we were incredibly excited for our new adventure together. Although nervous, I knew that moving across the world was something I had always dreamed of doing.
We spent the next month getting all of our paperwork in order and making sure our 1 year old dog had everything she needed for the move as well. I quit my job, said goodbye to my friends and family, and on August 1 we left for the airport.
I’ve been away from home for almost four months and in those months I have learned a lot about myself and the type of life I wanted to live.
Life With Less Is Easier
Our society is obsessed with “stuff” and over consumption, and it’s overwhelming. So when I found out we only had two suitcases each to pack all of our stuff in, I was a little stressed out.
“How will I fit all my shoes?”
“Where will all my clothes go.”
“What about dog toys?!”
“And my makeup?!!”
I spent weeks going through my clothes trying to decide what to leave behind and what to keep. I had a pile for “100% keep”, “maybe” and “maybe, but most likely no”. My clothes were strewn all over the place and our bedroom looked like an episode of TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive.
It was quite the ordeal, but I managed to fill up my two suitcases (and a bit of my fiance’s) all while keeping them under the airlines maximum weight.
After being here for a few months, I’ve realized that I packed way too many clothes that I don’t actually plan on wearing. There are a few things I wished I had packed, but a lot I wished I had parted with.
Now when I buy things I ask myself if it is something that I really need. I’ve learned the types of items that I can (and should) live without.
I still have a long ways to go in terms of living a more minimal life, but I’ve made significant progress compared to how I was 6 months ago.
If you are looking for some more information on minimalism I highly recommend checking out YouTuber Jenny Mustard. Not only does she inspire me when it comes to design (her minimal Instagram feed is beautiful) but her videos are full of great ideas to help get you get started.
Put Your Passions First
When I found out I was going to have to quit my job I was neither happy nor sad. I enjoyed my previous job, but I knew I was meant to be doing design work. I’d work all day and come home and spend hours learning to code, and learning about graphic design and the fundamentals of art.
I have never felt happier than working on what I love and am so thankful I can devote 100% of my time to my passions.
That being said, I understand most people can’t afford to quit their jobs to focus on something that may not provide a stable income right away, so for now, spend any extra time you have on what you love. You owe it to yourself to find happiness and if you work hard enough it will lead to a career change if you want it to.
If I didn’t have to move, I would have still been working in an office and probably would never have had the guts to quit to pursue something else. I liked the security and am a resistor of change. It took me a move across the world to realize I have the potential to do whatever I want but it doesn’t need to take that for someone else.
The Other Side Of The World Isn’t Far Away
My relationships with my friends and family have not been negatively impacted through our move. My relationships haven’t decreased, just the medium in which we communicate has changed.
For instance, rather than going over for dinner every Sunday at my parents place, we now set aside time to Skype every Sunday.
This should be a no-brainer, but technology has made it easier than ever to keep in touch with our loved ones no matter where they are.
Virtual reality is the next trend in technological communication. While there is nothing that can substitute face-to-face communication, this demonstration of social VR by Mark Zuckerberg is nothing short of impressive.
It’s incredible to think that one day I could be playing a game of cards with my family and friends when they are thousands of miles and a couple of oceans away.
You Have To Roll With The Punches
I like plans. I like knowing what my day, week and even month will look like. I have always been the type of person who needs to have a plan.
Since I began working, my schedule was always the same. I went from an incredibly structured week to being on my own and doing my own thing. Although staying up all night and sleeping in all day sounded like it could be enjoyable (who doesn’t enjoy binge watching their favorite show on Netflix), I began to feel restless. This new routine, which was essentially having no routine, really threw me off and was a difficult adjustment to make.
On top of that, I didn’t know if I would be able to stay in Denmark, as my residence permit was still awaiting approval. I was in a weird limbo where I didn’t know if I should make myself at home or if I should keep my suitcase half packed in case my permit didn’t get approved.
For several weeks I allowed myself to stress, but I soon realized that needing to control every aspect of life makes everything significantly more difficult, especially in a foreign country.
Learning to find the balance between structure and mayhem has been something I’ve started to work on, and has made me feel happier and more calm.
This is just the beginning of everything I will learn throughout our adventures across the world. What was an important lesson you learned when you made a big move? Share in the comments below!
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Dana Nicole is an award-winning freelance writer for MarTech/SaaS who was rated one of the best SaaS writers by Software World. She specializes in writing engaging content that ranks high in search engines and has been featured in publications like Semrush, ConvertKit, and Hotjar.
Dana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has over 15 years of experience working alongside national brands in their marketing departments.
When Dana’s not working, you can find her dancing en pointe, cooking up new recipes, and exploring the great outdoors with her two big dogs.