decided to write this blog post because I’ve had a lot of people ask me what it took to actually get my ass overseas. They ask because for years they’ve been thinking about exploring the world, but instead of going, they spend all their time running over the notion of moving overseas. They grind their teeth on it, going over and over it again and again in their tired grey matter—considering every possibility, each what-if, and all conceivable scenarios.
And then meanwhile, back at hamster wheel camp, they remain chilled out in their comfort zone practicing an overly familiar routine that is the WHOLE reason they wanted to go overseas in the first place. It’s a wicked cycle.
You need to live your dream, trust me. You MUST get going before you turn to bone chunks and skin dust—which you will and possibly before you want to.
And this is how you do it. This is how you ACTUALLY pull the trigger on the kind of global exploration orgasm that rolls your eyes back in their happy sockets.
Where are you going?
The first step to going overseas is deciding where to go. If you want to hit a lot of countries, you’ll still need a starting point—so pick a country, and then pick a travel trail that moves you onward from that point. Feast your eyes on a map. Use your finger to point and trace different routes, and then you’re almost done. If you’re only going to one country, pick a town or city, and then do some research.
That’s step two.
Do some research
Research is important. Learn how much places cost. Learn what’s going on there at the moment. Visit embassy websites. Read books, blogs, or the writing on your favorite bar’s bathroom wall. Whatever blows your hair back. Just make a semi-informed decision about your travels. You don’t have to research long, but I’d say to put in a few days at least.
The next step is to figure out how much the flight will cost.
For those wanting to move around all over the planet, I recommend checking out the Round the World ticket from STA Travel. For one awesome price, you can purchase a ticket that has multiple-country stops and flexible travel dates. Cool, eh? You can buy this ONE ticket that takes you all the way from England, to Indonesia, to Australia, to Brazil…for example. STA Travel is crazy helpful and used to selling these types of tickets, so don’t be shy. Give them a call. Ask lots of questions and get a quote.
Now for the other people, for those wanting to just go and live in one country while overseas and to get in bed with one culture (and who knows what else), you can always just get a round-trip ticket to and from your destination. Get some quotes online from different airlines, and then you’re done with the flight cost homework.
Next, you’ll need to know what the countries want from you if you’re going to be there for long. If you’re going to stay in one country for a while, you should look into the stipulations surrounding a long-term stay in that country.
Do your homework, because every country has a limit to the amount of time you can just hang out there. Some give you a month. Others maybe three. Some only a few weeks. Always follow the rules when it comes to length of stay, because if you don’t, you’ll get labeled an “overstayer”, and that means you’ll have a hard time ever getting a visa again.
And that leads us to the kingpin of world travel preparation—THE VISA.
I’m not talking about a credit card, here. I’m talking the kind of visas that adhere to the pages of your passport. I’m talking about a document that grants you conditional entry and length of stay in a country. This type of visa is a like a guideline for your new life overseas. It will give you dates that dictate your entry and exit, and sometimes visas even dictate where you can travel within a country and what you can do there.
If you want to work, you’ll need a work visa. If you want to study, you’ll need a student visa. There are different kinds of visas, but there is no such thing as a party visa, a slangin’ visa, or a sex visa, so those options are out. You can thank me later for saving you the research time.
If you’re staying in one country for an extended amount of time, you’ll either need a visa or you’ll need to leave every few months and then return. To do your visa homework, you can visit the embassy website of the country you want to travel to. Call if you need to. Again, ask lots of questions and definitely ask what the chances are of you getting the visa you want, what you have TO DO to get it, how much it will cost, and how long it will take to actually receive the visa if you’re granted it.
I know. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s what you’ve got to do. So just quit thinking about it, put your head down, and complete all the homework I’ve mentioned above one, slow step at a time.
And then one day—SHAZAM; you’re done with your research! You’ve collected all the info you need, and most importantly, you kind of have a budget in mind.
If you’re going to work overseas, you’ll need only the amount of money the visa stipulates you have to have enter, because you’ll be able to find work once there. If you’re just passing through as a tourist, travel sites and travel books should tell you how much a location costs per day on average, depending on your level of travel. And now that you know where you’re going, for how long, and what documentation you need, you’re ready to quit thinking. SHIT YEAH! Reach out, grab your brain knob, and twist it to LOW.
Now is the real challenge—puttin’ back those Benjamins. It’s peanut butter saving time.
Ready? SAVE SAVE SAVE SAVE. Deep breath….SAVE SAVE SAVE SAVE. Don’t ever quit saving until you’re on the plane. Put X amount of dollars back each week—the most you can afford—and don’t freakin’ touch it. Sell things you don’t need. Don’t buy anything new. Minimize. Strategize. Realize that regret sucks, so make sure you don’t ever regret not seeing that giant, golden Buddha in Thailand IN PERSON.
Handcuff yourself to your dream of living overseas and throw the key into the bay. And when you have enough money saved to buy the visa and the flight—buy them.
DO ALL THIS WITHOUT MUCH THOUGHT, the same way you buy groceries or push your foot down on the accelerator when the light turns green. Be excited for what’s coming, but don’t obsess over it. It will come. In the meantime, breathe in your present surroundings.
And then low and behold, one day, your trip will be around the corner. You might get shweaty-palmz, but don’t worry. Just pack without thinking, because you don’t have to have everything in your suitcase. You can always buy what you need overseas.
Then, say goodbye to the USA like it’s a temporary trip, because mostly likely it is unless you fall in love with another atmosphere and set up a new camp. Get more excited than you are nervous. Remember, you’ll have a return ticket, because you have to have one. Flying into any location on a one-way is rarely allowed unless you’re a citizen or have good reason, so with that in mind and your round-trip ticket in hand, know that if all else fails—and at any point—you can come back and stand in the exact place you are right now.
So what’s the big deal about moving overseas—to India, or Germany, or The Cook Islands? The truth is…not much. It’s only in your head. The buildup is the hardest part. So quit thinking, take needed steps, and then…just GO.