Thirty-two years ago, my husband and I started a big adventure with a pretty big risk. We sold our house in upstate New York, packed up our furniture and our four kids and moved to Florida. Without jobs.
Our children ranged in age from seven years to 12. In school, the youngest was finishing first grade, the oldest was in seventh. We were pulling them out of the small school where they knew everyone into larger schools where they knew no one.
We were tired of the cold and the grey skies. We wanted sun and adventure!
A lot of folks thought we were crazy. “You’ll be back,” one member of our church warned my husband.
It was a risky move. For one thing — and it was a biggie — we had no jobs in Florida.
What does this have to do with becoming an anywhereist? you may be thinking.
A lot of what we learned from that move, and from other life experiences, is actually proving pretty useful right now.
Balance the Risk with Careful Planning
During the five months preceding our Florida move, we had visited the area, made an offer on a house, sold our NY house, sold a lot of our stuff and quit our jobs.
Of course, it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, but taking a big step is less intimidating when you can create a safety net of sorts.
For example, we had no jobs in Florida. (This all happened back in 1989, about 20 years before a remote job or location-independent business was even possible.) What we did have was a lot of confidence in our abilities and a cash reserve from our house sale to tide us over the first few months. We had also done some research so we knew that work in my husband’s field was available. (We had actually chosen not to move to an area that we liked better, because the type of work he did just didn’t exist there.)
That move taught us that we could make a big, adventurous change in our lives and execute it successfully.
Twenty years later, we applied that same knowledge to planning our move to Panama. Then to our move back to the US. Then to a few other moves. . .
The trick is to make the risk manageable (careful planning is one of the keys). This also lessens the ambiguity, and allows you to enjoy the adventure.
Even if you’ve never made an international move before, you probably have life experiences that can help you plan better.
Do you have some tips for minimizing the risks of an overseas move? Share them in the comments section below!
It’s always interesting to see a situation from both sides:
From the perspective of your friends and family, you were up and going without a safety net.
From your perspective, you had made quite a few preparations, even if you hadn’t created a completely risk-free situation.
I look forward to following you on your journey to Panama. The more pictures of palm trees and beaches, the better. 🙂
Thanks, Jana. Will do my best to provide the tropical pix you’re yearning for 🙂