As you can see from the title, I have some big news to share with everyone. After, literally, years of contemplation, I have finally decided to make the plunge to move to another country. I’m moving to Vietnam! For those of you that read my previous blog post about traveling once a month for a year, you know that 2017 has been busy. I’ve stayed true to my goal so far, and have been able to travel once, sometime twice a month this year.
It’s now November, and I’m almost done with a full year of traveling. I have a trip planned in December, so I’m pretty positive I’ll be able to reach my goal. As I sat down and reflected on this year of traveling and what it meant to me, I realized one thing. Even after all of these amazing trips, I never once felt satisfied.
If 12 months of travel wasn’t going to sustain my travel bug, I didn’t know what would. I decided to look into another solution, something that will allow me to travel for longer with more to offer. I decided the best way to do this was to change my environment, and move to a new country. After researching some ways an American can move abroad, I decided to do it.
Is Moving Abroad Going to Satisfy Me?
I have no idea if moving abroad is going to help me cure this travel bug. It may never be curable, and if that’s the case, is that such a bad thing? I love exploring new cities, new geographical regions, and learning about new cultures. Languages and local customs have always fascinated me. I feel like a short two week trip somewhere doesn’t allow you to learn all of the local customs there are in that area.
For example, during my trip to France, I learned that the French population has little patience for American tourists. As someone who has studied French for quite a while, I wanted to be able to practice my language skills. Because of my thick American accent, it was a struggle to get the French people to respond to me in French. They saw it as a burden to listen to me. Since I was only in France for four days, I never had the chance to learn how to keep a French person speaking French. It took me the full four days to learn that they were annoyed of Americans.
With a move abroad, I’ll be able to immerse myself into the culture and learn how to adapt with it. In France, I may have been able to learn how to keep a conversation in French easier. Or how to not be a typical annoying American. With short trips, these lessons are just not possible, so I really want to be able to learn more. Will it be enough? I have no clue. But I’m willing to try.
How Will I Sustain Myself Abroad?
One drawback to moving abroad is cash. I need money to do so, and I need a way to support myself in my new country. After doing my intense research on the easiest ways an American can move abroad, I decided the best option for me was to teach English. This is a great way to use the life that I grew up with to help others gain valuable skills and opportunities.
Teaching English is the path I have chosen to support me during my life abroad, and I’m so excited to get started. I found a company called TEFL Heaven that helps you plan for a big move like this. They even train you and provide you with the internationally recognized TEFL Certification, so I can bring this with me to any country in the world. I have a friend that used this company to teach in Thailand, and she had a very positive experience, so I’m excited to give it a try.
Where Will I Teach Abroad?
After planning on where my income was going to come from, I had to pick a country to move to. English teachers are in high demand in many South American and Southeast Asian countries, so this is where I began my decision process. I narrowed down my options based on weather, price of the program, cost of living, and proximity to home. I narrowed it down to two options: Argentina and Vietnam.
I’ve never been to either Asia or South America, so both options were appealing to me. Argentina seemed to have a vibrant European influenced culture with amazing views to explore. I was excited to be so close to Brazil and Patagonia, it seemed like a fun option. On the other hand, Vietnam had a very low cost of living with stunning beaches. I also had a friend in Thailand, so I’d have more of a support system in the area. After lots of going back and forth, I’ll be moving to Vietnam for its low cost of living and the support system.
What do My friends and Family Think About the Move?
I think Asia has this unreasonable stereotype that it’s not as safe as other continents, such as North America and Europe. My family did wish I would choose a country closer to home, but they supported me moving to Vietnam overall. They did have their concerns in regards to safety and distance from home. Going from Seattle to Ho Chi Minh City isn’t the cheapest trip for them to take either, so it’s going to be harder for them to visit.
When do I Leave?
I’ll be moving to Vietnam on February 26th, 2018. Stay tuned for more updates on my story abroad! I’m so excited for this opportunity and I can’t wait to share my experiences with everyone.
Make sure to check out our other blog posts about expats living abroad. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Our other Mentor Travel partner, Hailey, is currently living in Thailand. We have a lot of blog posts from her experiences you can check out as well. Let me know where you want to move to in the comments below!