Updated: May 4
It's been 6 weeks since our family went into lockdown, family and friends around the world have been going through various stages and levels of quarantine depending on where they are.
At the time when the UK went into lockdown, we were near completion of a long renovation project on an apartment in my dream city of Edinburgh. Ever since signing the paperwork, everything seemed to go wrong! From being made redundant the day before getting the keys, to discovering damp was a lot more extensive than the survey said, the old back-boiler from the 60's being so old that it was dangerous, forcing us to install a new one, dealing with asbestos, wood rot, old electrics, and replacing kitchen and bathroom with delays from suppliers and workmen not showing up when they said they would. (Hense the lack of blogs here lately, sorry about that!)
So the last thing we needed was a global pandemic! The lockdown put everything on hold and has delayed things indefinitely, just when the end was in sight!
But I know I am very lucky compared to many others who have to move through this time with a level of uncertainty unparalleled from any other time in our lifetimes. Whether you are moving during this time, your move to your dream city has been delayed, or any other reason you are moving, here are some practical tips that I find useful for any move.
Get rid of unnecessary items, clear out your closest, organise your paperwork. No one needs to be spending money on extra storage or moving costs on boxes of stuff that you don't need anymore. Go full on Marie Kondo on everything! Can you even remember what's in that box in the attic or garage that you've moved 3 times but never opened? Also think about the climate and lifestyle of where you are going and donate the things you won't need. You're unlikely to ever need those heavy ski coats if you're moving to a tropical or desert climate, and those high heeled shoes are unlikely (read 'never') going to leave their box again, in an old city with lots of cobblestones!
Do your homework. So much is now available online, find reviews on travel sites, city council websites, local real estate websites etc to find out about the different neighbourhoods, schools, transport options, house prices and even details like how to get a parking permit. This research could help you find the best neighbourhood for you, which could make a huge difference on your whole experience of your new city. You can start getting recommendations and quotes for removal companies, estate agents and getting the paperwork you need in order. You can also get a headstart on learning the local language, whether it's with an app like Babble or Duolingo or a more one-on-one service like Amolingua.
Join Facebook groups and expat forums where you can ask questions, find out where you can join your favourite activities and hobbies, and you might even find like-minded friends before you even arrive. Groups like Girls Gone International, I Am A Triangle and Expats On The Move are a good place to start.
4. Say Goodbye
Saying goodbye to the place you have called home is a really important step in leaving a place well. This can be hard to do at this time as you might not be able to have the farewell dinners and parties with friends that you would like and can make the sadness of leaving even more acute. But there are other ways you can help get closure, like writing a letter to your city like this one from AndThenIMovedTo.com. If you are able to go out, go for a walk past your favourite buildings or parks, or get some takeaway of your favourite foods. Here are some other tips from Jerry Jones of TheCultureBlend.com.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
Don't beat yourself up if you can't do everything and you're not fluent in the new language. There is no such thing as a perfectly smooth move, and there's almost always something that does wrong! Remember you are doing the best you can. Break it down into one job or room at a time and take a break if you start to feel overwhelmed.
What tips would you add to this list? Share your tips below as it could help make someone else's move a little easier.