My experience moving across the world & tips for a successful relocation.
My story is a bit of a cliche, a young Aussie moves to Canada to do a snowboard season and never leaves. I spent my University break at Silver Star Mountain learning to snowboard. I was gobsmacked by the beauty of the mountains and the heavenly layer of snow coating everything. I felt as though I had walked right into a Christmas village, especially thanks to the gingerbread-style homes and horse-drawn sleigh. It was hard coming back to reality after snowboarding every day, partying every night, meeting new friends, and barely working for 2-months. I fell deeply for BC, and although it wasn’t easy, I made it my home.
15-years later I am a Canadian permanent resident and homeowner in Vancouver. I permanently moved to Canada around 12-years ago and haven’t looked back! Here are some of the most helpful things I learned from my move half-way around the world.
Tips for a global relocation
- Get involved in your new community: join a book club, sports team, or other social hobbies.
- Pick great roommates: living in a fun shared household is the easiest way to make instant friends. Even if you can afford your own place, consider shared housing for a few months.
- Look for Facebook forums & groups: There’s a group of ‘Aussies in Vancouver’. Most cities have similar forums.
- Focus on fun for your first 6-months: Treat yourself like a traveler in your new home and get out and enjoy it! The more you love it in the beginning, the easier it is to stay.
- Work with like-minded people and make friends quickly! If you work remotely, try a community workspace.
- Take yourself out of your comfort zone: say ‘yes’ to things you normally wouldn’t.
- Go Solo: Don’t be afraid to go out for drinks, meals, movies, concerts, or events by yourself.
- Move when the weather is good: for example, moving to Vancouver in November, the rainiest month, is a bad idea!
- Location is everything: rent a place in a great area to get off on the right foot. Get local advice before you pick a location!
- Move with some savings so that you can really enjoy your new home and not worry about finances.
I settled in Vancouver a decade ago and found it to be the perfect marriage between nature and city. Living in North Vancouver I can be in Whistler in 90 minutes, the local mountains in 20 minutes, and the city center in 20 minutes. I can also be on a direct flight and home to Sydney in 13-hours. That’s important when you’re an only child and very close to your parents and cat siblings!
I often get asked how I’ve made it work living so far away and settling into a new country. Technology has certainly made it easier to stay in touch. I FaceTime my parents every chance I get. Another tip is to save your visits for longer trips. On the short trips, I would return to Vancouver more homesick than when I left, as it just wasn’t long enough!
Settling into a new place is made easier by making a new ‘family’. I was able to do that pretty quickly through work. I started at Flight Centre as a travel consultant on my second day in Vancouver and I made some of my closest friends through work. I met my fiance through the industry and six years later, he is my family here. It helps to insert yourself into your new community right away. Whether through work, sports teams, having a local pub, book clubs, anything that’s social really! I met a lot of people through snowboarding. Once you have a few friends, they will introduce you to more people.
Put yourself out there in ways that sometimes make you uncomfortable, say yes when you don’t always feel like it. I still enjoy acting like a traveler in Vancouver by taking myself on adventures. The more fun you have in the beginning, the more you will get to know and love it. The hardest part is the first six months, if you make it through that, it only gets easier every day.
It is hard to live a world away from my family and my childhood home but I love Vancouver and the life I have created here and it makes it worth it. I make a huge effort to stay connected with Sydney, my old friends, and my parents. I love Australia and I am proud of my Aussie background. One day I will achieve my dream of spending half of the year in Sydney and half in Canada, but for now, I will settle for incredible holidays back home!
Interested in learning more about Vancouver? Check out my whole page on Vancouver: https://www.novatravels.org/category/vancouver/