I was holidaying in the rocky mountains, Canada, when I first heard the news that IBM offered me a new role in Ireland. Excitement came over me immediately, while I considered the logistics and economics of the situation. I accepted the offer a short time later, as it was an excellent opportunity and everything I was looking for.
In the months preceding, I had already successfully interviewed for many other countries – Netherlands, Belgium, UK and even as far as Poland. I felt very comfortable with my interviewing skills, as I had much practice to-date. The greatest challenge I faced in this case was finding and convincing a company to sponsor my visa application, which is vital for a long-term residency in most foreign countries. The key to obtaining sponsorship and finding an international job is to establish your worth and passion for the company prior to any residency discussions, plus a little luck. After accepting IBM’s offer however, our relocation efforts properly kicked into motion.
Preparing for a long-term overseas career move is no easy task, even with the one to two month lead time we had. Although we lived in a small apartment, we still accumulated a lot of gifts, mementos and day to day items. The mountain of bathroom products that a lady typically collects is a great example! Sadly, ninety-eight percent of these things ended up stored in random boxes, but this is part of the price you pay for a life of adventurous travel. Today, we have little more than a large suitcase and a carry-on bag, each. Quite an achievement in itself – and we could have packed less! Luckily, there wasn’t a need to sell much; we had decided to rent the apartment out fully furnished.
Besides packing our personal effects away, the number of other organisational tasks to consider filled a long list – so we made one and stuck to it. Above all else, we prioritized family and friends then balanced it with our remaining work and critical tasks. Everything from who to catch up with, services to cancel, and what to remind ourselves to bring was added to our list. Phone plan, health insurance? Cancelled. Vegemite? It’s coming with us!
About two weeks before we left, nostalgia started to kick in. I deliberately caught myself spending long moments checking out the places and concepts I’d taken for granted for the past couple of decades. Springtime is my favour time of year in Brisbane, I’m glad I caught most of the bloom this year. The jacaranda trees and warm breezes are unparalleled phenomena.
The final week was always going to be a rush. Early in the week, I said ‘see you later’ (never goodbye) to my oldest friends. I said the same to my colleagues at an after-work farewell, coincidentally at an Irish pub. My last work day was Friday, and we left the continent that Sunday. As a result, we had Saturday and most of Sunday to catch-up with family and enthusiastically (desperately) finish our packing. Plenty of time! Right? In the end, we finished packing with just enough time, thanks to some great help from family.
Upon arrival at the airport, we weren’t even sure we would make it on the flight; flying standby is never a sure thing, albeit cheaper. With our flight to Abu Dhabi due to leave in less than an hour, we stood anxiously at the check-in counter waiting for some good news, any news. Waiting with five other standby travellers, we waited to see who would be left behind. Would it be us, is our trip over before it started? Somehow, luck was in our favour and the check-in staff gave us the thumbs up!
Ireland gave us a warm welcome – here’s what it was like to move to Dublin. Just eight days later, I started my new job.
Life is short. Time passes in the blink of an eye, and it never slows down when you want it to. Even though I’m physically on the other side of the planet, my mind still feels like I’m in Australia. Time will change that, as we achieve our goal to travel the world!
So what would I suggest to anyone about to embark in a similar journey?
- Make a relocation task list and keep it up to date. Celebrate when you finish something!
- Schedule and specifically set aside as much time for friends and family as you can
- Take time out to feel nostalgic about your home, or you’ll be homesick too quickly
- Pack as little as possible, with essentials first and a small amount of mementos last
- While travelling, be realistic about costs, but minimise unnecessary expenditure. Remember your travel goals and plan financially for them!