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Expat MovesWhat comes to mind when you hear the word expat?

A Glamorous international life style

B Amazing travel

C Being constantly on the move

D Meeting interesting people

E All of the above

I still have all these associations, now living in the UK, my country No 4. Being an expat is truly all of the above and more. That’s why so many people dream about it, work towards it, and invest into making their first move abroad. You need to have the right mindset about your transition, particularly in order to successfully reevaluate must- haves and nice- to-haves in your life.

My first flight across the pond came with a seat at the very back of the plane, right before the lavatories. It didn’t really matter. It was taking me to the US to fulfill my dreams. The ticket was a must-have. The quality of the seat was not relevant. It was equal in price to my old car, so I thought it to be a fair exchange.

Years later while planning the move to Switzerland, I was considering whether I had to have a car during my two year assignment. In California, I drove a nice little sporty convertible and believed I forever joined the car culture. I was not going to be able to use infamous public transport every day again! Well, for those who haven’t experienced Swiss transportation system yet, prepare to be amazed when you finally try it.

Swiss trains are still my favorite way to travel. They are always on time, very comfortable and extremely frequent. Added bonus: you can write your blog or read books on coaching throughout the whole journey. City transport is very reliable and can get you to the office in much shorter time than I spent every morning driving between San Jose and Mountain View on highway 101. It did take some adjustment and initial surprise at long forgotten discomfort of having to carry groceries, laptop bags and building more precise schedules of your life to fit everything in. The benefits included rapid weight loss from much more walking every day and savings to use towards that very glamorous travel around Europe.

We form new habits and adjust to new circumstances much quicker than we imagine. If you start with a mindset that you are giving something up and it’s going to be annoying, uncomfortable, or something that you will have to “deal with”, that’s precisely what you will get. Evaluate your options in the new country. Is it wise to spend money on the same things you owned or used? What does an equivalent level of a life style actually mean? No matter how great your new work contract is, understanding your budget is important. May be by giving up a little, you will gain a lot more!

By Yelena Mackay

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