Enjoy Moving Abroad
[Perhaps Seville, Spain?]
How to Feel at Home Wherever You Go
By Karen McCann
Photos by Karen McCann except where noted.
Fifteen years ago, I was living in Cleveland, Ohio following an early-to-bed, organic-vegetables-fresh-from-our-garden kind of lifestyle. It would never have occurred to me to have wine with lunch, take a siesta during the afternoon, or stay out until 2:00 in the morning — let alone finish up the night by walking home, arm in arm with friends, singing a medley of old show tunes, Beatles’ hits, and Bésame Mucho.
After moving to Seville, Spain in 2004, I realized that spending time in a foreign country is an opportunity to reinvent yourself that rarely exists outside of the witness protection program. It’s a fresh chance to build a new life that’s authentically yours in a country that isn’t … whether you’re there for a weekend, a year, or a lifetime!
Over the intervening years, I have written a great deal about this experience to help others to decide whether, where, and how to make their move, enable them to avoid some of the pitfalls and cope with others, and give everyone the confidence needed to relax and enjoy the ride.
Let me say that while living in a foreign country has its challenges, it can be easier, more fun, and more affordable than you may think. You don’t have to wait until all the stars are aligned, the dog passes away, the grandkids are grown, and you win the lottery so you can spend a fortune buying a Paris penthouse or restoring a ruined castle in Scotland.
Bring the dog along, and do expect frequent visits from family and friends. Using a little common sense, and such money-saving suggestions as you’ll find in my book, Enjoy Moving Abroad your cost of living may actually go down or, as in my case, remain about the same as it was when I made my home in Cleveland.
While not every career can be uprooted and taken to another country, today many jobs can be managed online, and thanks to social networks, I am in closer contact with many of my loved ones than I was when we lived five minutes apart, or even in the same house. In fact, my initial concerns about missing family and friends evaporated when I learned that when you live abroad, especially in a destination city like Seville, they come to you.
And before they do, you’ll really want to review the book tips in the section “Guests: Suggestions for Making Their Stay More Enjoyable (for You)”. Among other things, you’ll learn tactful ways to dislodge guests who overstay their welcome and refuse to budge … yes, it happens!
I love to share the best strategies I’ve figured out, learned from experienced friends, or discovered the hard way by doing the opposite and then having to sort out my mistakes. It covers the essentials I wish I’d known when I moved to Seville with my husband, Rich, and our dog, Eskimo Pie. In fact, I wish I’d been aware of these coping strategies before my shorter stays in other countries including Kenya, Thailand, Bhutan, El Salvador, Bosnia, and the Republic of Georgia. While this guide reflects my experiences as an American who moved to Spain, it’s valid for anyone who is moving from one part of the world to another, and in many ways, it applies to domestic relocations as well.
Living abroad can be enormous fun, and I hope my book and blog make it easier for you to navigate your transition and feel at home wherever you may find yourself.
Enjoy Moving Abroad: Insider Tips for Living Well Overseas by Karen McCann. Café Society Press (2018), Paperback, 208 pages, US$8.99; ISBN-10:0985028386; ISBN-13:978-0985028381. Kindle edition US$2.99. Available from Amazon.
Enjoy Moving Abroad will make it easier and more fun to live overseas. You’ll learn how to navigate the logistics, move your stuff, make friends, cope with the inevitable moments of pandemonium, and build a new life that’s authentically your own, filled with generous amounts of friendship and laughter.
Karen McCann is the author of three bestselling travel books and the popular Enjoy Living Abroad blog. Her travel tips and adventure stories have appeared in Huffington Post, Lonely Planet, New York Daily News, and Los Angeles Times. “Here’s what I’ve learned,” she says. “No! You absolutely do not have to settle for boring, predictable travel — or a boring, predictable life — at any age.”
We also invite you to read Karen’s delightful feature article in our Travel Article Library about the McCanns’ adventures as railway nomads exploring 13 countries of Continental Europe using a Eurail Pass.