November in Sweden makes even the most enthusiastic patriot want to pack up their stuff and move somewhere less like… Well, Mordor.
My boyfriend and I set foot in our new country Portugal in the end of November 2015, without ever having visited it before. It was wonderful, 19 degrees and sunny, far away from grey and depressing Sweden.
Our road here, however, had a few more bumps than just the flight. Here’s how we did it.
Giving notice at work without having a new job is scary.
Giving notice at work before your boyfriend even starts to apply for internships and therefore putting all the pressure on him is something beyond scary.
In my case, it was my only option because many jobs in Sweden, including mine, has 3 months notice. Which is great if you get laid off, but not so great when you’d rather make all your plans and just go “so long suckers!” a week before leaving.
When deciding to move abroad, make sure your partner is talented enough to land at least three internships in three different countries, making the decision to pick a location almost impossible.
Three months notice turned into one and we still hadn’t decided where to move. I was weirdly calm throughout the whole thing, I think my brain was in denial until the day we sat on the plane.
Our three different options all had it’s ups and downs, Copenhagen was close to home, amazing, safe, but expensive, cold and again — safe. Safe doesn’t help you grow (although, understanding Danish would have been a major challenge).
Three months notice turned into one and we still hadn’t decided where to move. I was weirdly calm throughout the whole thing.
Amsterdam was last in our priority list, it would still have been cold and not that close to home, but a few of his classmates were gonna do their internships there.
Lisbon was unknown territory for us, neither of us had been in Portugal but it looked amazing and warm (I thought it would be like 20 degrees all the time. It isn’t, it rains a lot here).
Taking bold risks (not like sky diving, more like quitting your job without a plan) has always excited me so Lisbon became our destination for the next six months.
Renting a second hand apartment sucks for the most part, but it makes for an easy escape. We hardly owned any furniture and didn’t have to go through the trouble of subletting the apartment to someone else.
It wasn’t easy to leave an awesome, reasonably priced apartment in Stockholm (anyone who has lived there knows it’s easier to find the holy grail than a reasonably priced apartment) but it was also no reason to stay.
The biggest perk of not having an apartment to come back to is just that, we don’t have the pressure to come back. We can stay here in Lisbon, move to the Seychelles and become digital nomads or go back home. It’s insanely liberating (and like 10 % panic-worthy).
I love to make big decisions and then not tell anyone until right before (or even after). I did it when I moved to another town to study Graphic Design, when I got my first tattoo and my driver’s licence, to name a few times.
My plan here was to tell my closest friends (and Instagram, apparently) and let everyone else get totally surprised when I got there. Only one problem — I forgot to tell some of my closest friends I was leaving. Having a big going away party where I invited everyone would probably have been a better idea, I’ll do that next time.
Also, in the end I’m glad that I wasn’t able to leave work all of a sudden a week before moving because my co-workers threw an amazing going away party with decorations, a music quiz and piñatas in the shape of my home town symbol, the sun. I cried all the way home on the subway.
Looking back, I’m so glad that we took the opportunity to move to Lisbon. Everything hasn’t been a walk in the park but overall it’s been a great experience. I would highly recommend everyone to move to a place abroad for some time instead of just travelling there, it’s totally different.
I knew it would be hard to find a job here because of the economy, and as designer I have the privilege to be able to freelance from wherever. I miss having an office with colleagues and a standing desk though, my back hurts.
You can move abroad without too much research or time. If you’re thinking about going, don’t let the details get in your way, it never turns out as planned anyway. And if you hate it, no one will care if you just return home.
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