Welcome to our guest bloggers series! This week we asked Instagram guru and adventurer abroad Ash Fanning to share her experience of taking the leap and moving overseas.
The wonderful thing about a career in travel is it opens up a world of opportunities. If you're gaining your travel qualifications with us, you might be thinking about an overseas working holiday after graduation – take Ash's advice and just go for it!
If you’ve been thinking about moving overseas, I’d say you’re already ready to take the plunge. Uprooting your life and leaving family and friends behind can be a daunting thought – especially if you’re doing it on your own – but it really will be the best decision you ever make. Trust me!
I don’t know when or how I decided I was going to move – it was just my plan. As I slogged through my uni degree and began teaching, I knew I wanted to experience more. More what, I don’t know; there was just something urging me to experience life on my own in a foreign country.
It didn’t take long to plan moving abroad, first to London, then Paris. I applied for leave from my job, filled out the visa application, booked some tours and flights, signed up with a teaching agency and VOILA, I was on my way!
In hindsight, I was completely naive about the whole thing. I had never lived out of home, never had to look for a rental, never had to choose between job offers and never been without my network of friends and family close by. Once I arrived and the novelty of staying in a hostel wore off, I realised I had to get my A into G to start my new life!
It was difficult adjusting to the new way of life AND learning these things they call ‘life skills’ at the same time, but I did it. I found a house, went to some social events and asked a lot of people a lot of questions to help me find my way. Things were starting to look up.
I was travelling somewhere new every month. I was eating foods I had never heard of before. There was so much happening and I’d often be out in the middle of the week. I was learning about history, culture and geography – things I actually wanted to learn about. I was speaking new languages and I was making some of the best memories with the most incredible people. I was loving my overseas life!
Unfortunately, most working visas have a two-year time limit. Many people long to extend the experience and apply for visas in new countries, gain sponsorship or travel around for a bit longer. By this stage, most people are usually running out of money, missing home or can't get approval to stay longer. I was the latter.
Here’s the good bit... the reason why EVERYONE should experience living overseas: it is magical. There are no words to describe how this experience changes you and how it makes you feel.
The struggles, the homesickness, the food, the endless travel opportunities, the learning, the new friends – it all combined to give me a new appreciation for, and perspective on, life.
After I’d caught up with the friends and family I’d missed over the years and the novelty of being home wore off, I got back into ‘reality’ and realised not much had changed – but I had changed. So I learnt to adjust the new me into my old life.
The Urge (again)
It’s always there. Lingering in the back of my mind, urging me to go and experience something new again. I can’t resist it. I have to go...
I’d love to hear your stories. Post your living overseas experiences on Travel Into Living's Facebook page or use #travelintoliving on Instagram.