You’ve read hundreds of blog posts. You’ve watched countless hours of videos on YouTube.
You’ve stayed up until three in the morning imagining how to move overseas, obsessing about every detail of your future life.
Yet, you’re still stuck at home and haven’t made that jump that you’ve been dreaming about for so long. What is it keeping you in this position, and how can you finally make that great leap into your future?
I used to be in this same position before I first moved to Asia nearly three years ago. In fact, I had wanted to leave the States for over two years before I finally made it happen.
I had many doubts along the way and wanted to give up on the dream many times, but now that I’m over here, I couldn’t possibly think of any decision in my life that was nearly as good as the one to become an expat and explore this big, beautiful world of ours.
But I don’t have to sell you on how awesome living in Asia is, you’ve already been dreaming about it. So instead, let’s focus on how you can take it from a dream to reality.
Get Real (Make The Decision)
The first step to making anything happen in life is to decide that you’re going to make it happen. You need to have the right mindset as you go along the path of getting yourself overseas. Without the right mindset, you’re not likely to make it out of your hometown in the first place.
Make the decision in your mind that you’re moving overseas. You’re going to go to China and teach English. You’re going to learn a new language and have experiences that your friends will never obtain living their boring lives back in your hometown. You’re going to be different.
Don’t think of this as something that you’d like to do. Think of it is something that you’re already in the process of doing. You’re moving overseas. You’re becoming an expat. When you have full belief in this idea, you’ll be able to power through all the steps that you need to do in order to get overseas without giving up.
Shout It Far And Wide!
Once you’ve made the decision on how to move overseas, you want to make it known. Tell your friends and family about your plans. If you have a blog, write about it on your blog.
Get other people involved in the process. Ask other people about their experiences living overseas. Get involved in online communities of expats and teachers. Make new connections.
This serves a few purposes. First, it will help reinforce the idea that you’re really doing this. When you state your intentions out loud to your friends and family members, you’ll gain even more confidence in yourself and be even more sure of the decision you’ve made.
In addition, you’ll also have your friends and family members constantly asking you about your plans and how the process is going while you’re getting things ready to go overseas.
This will keep you motivated and excited and never allow you to forget about what you’re working towards accomplishing – even if you hit some bumps along the way and get frustrated.
Learn How To Use Fear
Fear can be a great motivator, or your worst enemy. It all depends on whether you know how to properly deal with fear – of if you allow fear to rule you and determine the outcome of your life instead.
Fear is probably the single thing that keeps the most people from reaching their dreams and goals. Fear has certainly kept me from doing many things I’ve wanted to do in the past. But I’ve since learned how to use fear to improve my life, rather than keep me from my full potential.
Since fear is a biological response, and we’re never going to get rid of it, here’s how to use it.
Run towards the things you’re afraid of doing. The fear is telling you something. We’re often most afraid of the things in our life that we know could drastically change things around for us – most of the time for the better. We’re afraid of our own success. We’re afraid of what might happen if we fail. We create all kinds of stories in our head about how the future might turn out, even though we really don’t know.
A good trick is to sit and meditate on the worst thing that could possibly happen if you go in any one particular direction. For example, when thinking about moving overseas, what happens if it goes wrong and you have to leave? You may have to borrow some money, move back home, and live with your parents for awhile while you get back on your feet. Is that really so bad?
Keep in mind that the worst thing you can possibly imagine happening rarely happens. In fact, you’re much more likely to instead move overseas, have an awesome job, make great friends from all over the world, learn a new language, and totally own the boss level on the game called life.
Again, mindset is everything. Embrace fear. Move forward.
Save That Cash
Now that you’ve got your mindset correct, it’s time to take care of logistics. When you go overseas, you’ve got to make sure that you have enough money to make it work.
You’re going to need to get a flight ticket, buy travel insurance if you want it, buy any electronics or other items that you want to take along with you, and you’ll need to have money for all the other little things that pop up along the way.
If you’re going to come teach English in China, you’ll often be lucky enough to have a free apartment with your contract, so you may not need that much cash when you arrive. However, it’s always best to have as much saved up as you can – it feels great to be financially stable when you move overseas. Remember that you’ll often experience some stress acclimating to life in a new country, so it’s a good idea to not have to stress about money as well.
When I originally decided to move to Bangkok nearly four years ago, I decided I wanted to save up a lot of money, and I created a budget to make it happen. You should make a budget as well.
The first thing I did was decide that I was going to save half of each paycheck that I got. I then decided that I was going to move out of a house I was sharing with a good friend in Phoenix and move into a small and cheap studio so that I could save more money.
I got rid of my cable, I lowered the package on my cell phone bill. I started freelancing
I took on extra hours at work. I cooked all my meals at home. I only went out a few nights a week.
These are all sacrifices, but they’re easy sacrifices to make if you keep the end goal in your mind. Remember, you’ve already decided you’re moving overseas, so saving up the money is just one more thing to check off your list. Would you rather go out and eat a pizza tonight, or get that much closer to seeing the amazing skyline of Beijing with your own eyes? Pretty obvious decision right?
Take Care Of Business!
It’s so easy to get caught up in romanticizing about your new life overseas that you might forget there’s a lot of logistics to take care of. It’s so much easier to take care of these things when you’re back in your home country. Again, we want to eliminate as much stress as possible at all times.
You’ll want to first make sure that you’ve got your passport. You’ll need this to leave the country and in order to get a work visa to come and start teaching in China.
You’ll then want to decide what you’re going to do with all your stuff when you leave. When I moved to Thailand, I decided that I was going to sell or give away most of my stuff, and I still store some stuff that I didn’t want to get rid of at my parents’ houses.
Depending on your situation, decide what works best for you. Own your own house? Maybe you can rent it out furnished and make some extra money to help you out with the new life overseas.
It’s so much easier when you pack light, so don’t bring much but the essentials with you. I’ve traveled before with too much luggage, and it definitely takes the enjoyment level down a few notches.
Call your bank(s) and make sure they’re aware that you’re going to be living overseas. The last thing you want is getting to a new country and not having access to any money.
You’ll be able to open your own bank account in China when you start living and working there, but it’s definitely a good idea to keep an account back in your home country as well.
Get a VPN set up so that you have reliable and consistent access to the internet and all the sites that you’re used to using. Get any items that you want to bring on the journey that you have’t gotten yet.
Most importantly, buy your ticket. Make it nonrefundable. This makes it so much more real and you’ll feel like you’re finally over the hump and ready to quit dreaming and start living.
Get On That Plane
You’ve done it. You had the dream, you planned out how to make it a reality, and now you’re at the airport ready to get on that plane to China.
This is where the fun begins. You’ve already done all the hard work.
Come to China with an open mind and a desire to learn and have new experiences. This is your time to discover so much about yourself and others.
Once you’ve found the courage and discovered the tools to make this dream a success, you’ll be able to duplicate the same process in the future with any other goals you want to make happen.
Are you ready to make a real change in your life? The decision is yours.
Should you choose to accept this challenge, there’s a big world out there waiting for you.