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Moving Abroad: The Small Things You Don’t Think About

Ashley & Carter at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Ireland. Waypost One

Two short weeks in Ireland have put us through the wringer and brought us out stronger. 

Travelling abroad is all we thought it would be more and less at the same time. It’s brought us closer together, caused us to fight, and made us realize how strong we are.

On May 8th, we left our home state of Georgia for two years. On May 10th, we arrived in Ireland and started our new life. The weeks that have been passed have been far from seamless, though. Here are some of the mistakes we've made in our move abroad and how to avoid them:

Travelling with everything

Leaving Georgia, we had in tow everything we owned: two duffle bags and two backpacks. First, we travelled to New York for a 30-hour layover, where we enjoyed our last day in America. There were lessons even this early in the game. For example, the necessity of planning. The place we were staying in New York was a far walk from even the closest train stop. While our bags aren’t heavy, carrying them more than 10 minutes at a time is very hard. By the time we got to our room, we were both in pain and tired.

Lesson learned: Think about how far you’ll have to walk and spend the extra money to save your body the harm.

Flying red-eye

When we left New York to go to Dublin, it was 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time and when we landed in Ireland it was 8:00 a.m. Ireland Time. However, there were only six hours in between and we were on a plane.

If you’ve ever flown a red-eye flight, you know where this is going. If not, then the lesson here is to be prepared. When you fly red-eye, it’s important to dress comfortably, bring supplies, and get ready for a bad night's sleep. Unless you shell out the big bucks, you’ll be sitting for hours. That means you need to wear pyjama pants, have earplugs, and maybe even a mask. Your feet will swell from sitting for so long, so it’s important to wear loose fitting and comfortable shoes. Lastly, make sure to try and stick to the new schedule (time zone) when you land. Doing so will save you pain later.

Picking accommodation in your new home

Planning this trip, we used Airbnb almost exclusively to find long-term housemate situations. We wanted to stay in a place for a month or two at a time as a roommate to someone (versus having to stay in one place for months).

However, it’s important to ask specific questions before you book. A family member once told me to expect everyone to know nothing and work your way up from there.

As remote workers, we need a good supply of Internet. Therefore, when we want to book a room, we ask them if they mind people working from home all day and if they can provide a Google Speed Test screenshot result. We let them know, in writing, that we require fast internet and that we can’t book otherwise. This, a lesson learned from our first stay in Ireland, ensures that should something go wrong, you have proof of what you were promised and agreed to.

Our first home in Ireland was great. We were there for a week to get our bearings and prepare anything needed. However, our second home was a nightmare. The Internet was non-existent, and the home wasn’t what it was made out to be. By the end of 24 hours, we wanted nothing more than to give up.

However, with the help of our network, we made it through. Now, we sit in a Workaway on Inishmore working 25 hours a week for room and food. It’s not what we had in mind, but it will be what we need until we get to our next place.

Lesson learned: It could get hard, but as long as you keep trying, everything will find its way into some answer. Don’t let travel scare you; just come prepared.

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Ashley Madden

Ashley Madden is a free-spirited digital nomad, writer, photographer and content creator. She owns Helianthus Advising through which she helps small businesses grow. In her free time, she creates videos to help the world.

Website: www.ashleymariemadden.com

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