With my move to Amsterdam just days away, I’m starting to feel the mix of nerves and excitement that come before any big change. While I can’t wait to start this new chapter in my life, there are a few thoughts that I keep coming back to.
The benefits of modern technology
Travellers today are fortunate to have access to technology that allows them to stay in touch with loved ones back home. When my parents travelled after university, the only way they had to communicate with friends and family was through letters, postcards and the occasional, pre-planned phone call.
Today, the world has never been smaller; we can see and talk to those back home with the touch of a button thanks to programs like Skype and FaceTime. For someone who is moving out of the country for the first time, this is a very comforting thought.
Maintaining long-distance friendships
Maintaining my friendships when away from home for this extended period will take effort. For the first time in my life, my friends aren’t going to be just around the corner; they’re going to be on a different continent with a different time zone. To avoid the distance taking a toll on my friendships, we have already looked at the calendar and scheduled time to get caught up.
Being in different countries also means that I can take advantage of good old-fashioned snail mail and send letters and parcels to my friends back home. Everyone loves getting mail, right?
Overcoming language barriers
I’m fortunate to be moving to Amsterdam, where English is one of the primary spoken languages, but I’m sure there will still be situations where language barriers will occur. Fortunately, with today’s technology travellers have plenty of resources right at their fingertips to help break down these barriers.
The Google Translate app lets you use your smartphone’s camera to translate printed text into different languages. If that wasn’t cool enough, it also has a voice conversation mode that does real-time translations as you talk.
Modern technology is great, but isn’t always reliable. To be prepared for technology-free situations, it’s never a bad idea to practice a few important phrases or even carry a pocket phrasebook. You might worry about sounding silly, but it's a safe bet that the person you’re talking to will appreciate the effort and be patient with you while you try to get your message across.
A sense of adventure
The most important thing I keep reminding myself is to have a sense of adventure. Moving to a new country can be intimidating, but it provides countless opportunities to experience new adventures and grow as a person.
I can’t say for sure what this next year will bring, but I can tell you that I will experience things I never would have experienced if I had chosen to stay home.Add this article to your reading list