Relocating internationally has a funny effect on you, as once you have made the initial first jump to a new life abroad often other jumps occur later on in your life too. Of course for some it is a 'one and only and never again' jump. Others it's a permanent relocation. And for increasing numbers in the modern workplace, one international relocation leads to more chances to live and work abroad.
My First Jump Overseas
At four years old, I experienced my first jump overseas. By a jump I don’t mean a holiday, that had happened for the first time when I was just a baby. But to leave one life behind and start again in a new location. My family were relocating. To America. Land of Opportunity my father thought. There was a business idea and he was going to give it a go. My mother agreed and she packed us all up to follow and live there with him. I have distinct memories of having to pack some toys into a cardboard box and wave them goodbye. This was my first flight on a Jumbo. We flew with PanAm (showing my age here!) and children at that time got to go up and see the pilots during the flights and get their autographs and a little wings flight badge. Now sadly things have changed and children rarely get to meet the pilots. But the good news is, there is no longer smoking on the flights!
My Second Jump
As things didn't work out as expected, it was only a year later when we packed our toys up again with a new destination in mind - Australia! I was five and already in my third country of residence. Me and my brother attended the local school and by the end of the three years we spent there, I had the strongest Australian accent in my family. In fact I don't think my brother really picked up the accent at all. Of course in Australia, I didn't think I had an accent... but when we then moved back to the UK, the new English friends didn't half tease me about it. I was a novelty, this was the time before 'Neighbours' and 'Home and Away' hit TV screens bringing the Australian accent into living rooms and lives of children across the UK.
Jump back ‘Home'
After three years and the end if the initial visa to live in Australia my parents had to make the decision whether to stay and apply for full time residency or move back to the UK. Due mainly to family reasons, the decision was made to return to the UK when I was 8 years old. But it was an odd feeling being told you were ‘going home’ when most of my living memory I had been living elsewhere. We had done one trip back to the UK in the time abroad, and that was the year it snowed so much in the UK all I can remember of that time was it being cold and white!
But as a family we settled into UK life and I went through all my schooling, University and first job in England. Lots of holiday travel interspersed these years. But I was settled.
My First Adult Jump
Then the phone call came.
It was Friday afternoon and my husband rang me at work ... "How do you fancy going to France?" I was a little confused as we had been planning a French holiday already. He then clarified. "To live, not visit... My company has asked if I would relocate and work there. In Normandy, North France for three years on International Assignment.”I have to admit I was open to the idea from the start as we were looking for a new adventure together. I had limited French from studying at school, my husband had no French. He was going to have to work in French too. He was up for the challenge. So we decided to go for it.
Then the work really started. Lists. Lots of them. Each day the lists seemed to double in size too.
Thing is, moving abroad is like moving in your home country. Except there is a lot more paperwork. And delays. And different rules and regulations to follow, and probably a language difference too. All this leads to a lot of tiredness and frustration, but also excitement and energy. Then tiredness again, then an overwhelming sense of no progression.
Then all of a sudden it's moving day!!!!!
Since that initial adult jump, I have jumped another three times with another beckoning soon in our future.
This website is designed to share my experiences with you, in the hope of making any jump you make far more enjoyable and informed. I am gradually developing a relocation tool-kit to help you plan for your new life abroad. These tools have helped me and my family with each move, and these I think would be beneficial to others. I have also set up an online Relocation Academy with specific coaching modules to help you through the hardest points in a relocation.