When You Want to Move, But You’re Scared

Running trail---www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

Sometimes, new opportunities can seem amazing. Becoming location independent, traveling the world, taking a job in a foreign country.

But let’s face it. Those opportunities can also be terrifying. How do you leave a place where you’ve lived, maybe for years? How do you take your kids out of the only school they’ve ever known? How do you leave your family behind?

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With exciting new opportunities come LOTS of feelings. Mr. ThreeYear and I have wrestled with lots of these feelings and emotions during our three year experiment. And it turns out, we’re not the only ones.

Jaime, who runs the blog Keep Thrifty with her husband Chris, is facing the same daunting challenges of leaving what she knows and loves to face the great unknown as her family debates taking another year of mini-retirement, going back to traditional corporate jobs, or moving somewhere new.

Like us, Chris and Jaime are contemplating moving somewhere new or possibly, extended travel. They have lived their entire married lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and are surrounded by their extended families, whom they and their three girls see regularly. They’re facing the uncertainty and guilt of leaving behind their families in the face of a really strong pull towards adventure. 

Move Scared Bali Coast Blue Ocean www.thethreeyearexperiment.com

We don’t live close to our families, but we do live in a wonderful, safe, and ideal community for raising our boys. We have great schools, no crime, a community of like-minded people, and beautiful nature all around. But we, too, have felt like there’s more waiting for us than this small community, so far from our families and the places we grew up.

And, both Jaime and I regularly deal with long and lonely winters and the depression that they bring. For many people in New Hampshire, winter is the best time of the year. But though I love to ski, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the cold and isolating weather has made each winter harder to handle.

So here is our take on the scary side of moving.

When You Want to Move, But You’re Scared

Whether it’s wanderlust, geoarbitrage, or a unique work opportunity…maybe you are thinking of making a big move. Maybe you are thinking of moving permanently or just for a few years. Moving can be stressful and cause questions and doubts. Laurie and Jaime have their own stories, experiences, and hesitations about moving. Here are our unique answers to those scary questions!

Scared of The Unknown

Laurie: When I was a senior in college, all my friends were getting jobs or making plans to pursue a master’s program. I just wanted to travel. So I hatched a crazy plan to move to South America with my best friend. In April, right before we graduated, my friend confessed she’d signed up with the Peace Corps instead, so I was on my own. I didn’t have any other plans in place, so I decided I’d still move to Santiago, Chile, by myself.

The problem was, I didn’t know anyone there. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have a place to live. I had no money. Luckily, my college professors were great. They connected me with a couple of students who’d moved there in the past, and those students helped me get certified to teach English quickly, find a place to live the first month I was there, and connect with some “gringos” who’d done the same thing I was doing.

The whole summer after I graduated college, I was terrified. I actually developed an ulcer and couldn’t eat. I was moving to a continent I’d never set foot on, to a country where I didn’t have a job and didn’t speak the language very well. The only thing that kept me going was my stubborn streak that kept telling my scared side to shut up and get over it (and the fact that I had no other job prospects lined up!). That summer, I lived in fear. But I was proud that I didn’t let my fear keep me from what ended up being the most amazing experience of my entire life.

Hanging with family in Chile.

Jaime: When I was a freshman in college, I wanted nothing more than to study abroad during my college years. After my first semester, my grades were too low to apply to a study abroad program. It wasn’t for lack of effort. I studied my butt off, but I was exhausted and looking back – I wasn’t at the right school or in the right program.

While my desire to experience life somewhere else was great, it was also overwhelming. There were so many questions I didn’t have answers to. Those questions filled me with fear. How do you navigate moving to a different country? I had never flown by myself. I didn’t even have a passport. You need a visa? What about language barriers, different money, and not knowing anyone? Would I feel safe as a young 20 year old female in another country?

When I realized I wouldn’t qualify for a study abroad program, I was devastated. But I was also relieved. I was too scared to face the unknown. I was scared of leaving what I knew and let go of my desire to travel. I let my fear take hold and stayed put in Wisconsin where I felt safe and confident.

Jaime Keep Thrifty--www.thethreeyearexperiment.com
Jaime on her graduation day.

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Have you ever wrestled with a really hard decision, moving-related or otherwise? How did you make a decision about what to do?

Author: Laurie

Hi. I'm Laurie, and my family and I have set out to double our net worth and move abroad in the next three years. Join us on our journey!

2 thoughts on “When You Want to Move, But You’re Scared”

  1. I think I’m weird, I love the new and exploring new places. I’m only really staying in London the next few years as it makes much more financial sense.

    1. If you’re weird then I’m weird! Haha. I get scared but I also get depressed when I don’t travel enough. I think it’s scary for me when I think about a long-term place to settle/live, and I’m bringing my family with me. I worry about making the right decision. But for short term, I will go anywhere with nary a plan! We sort of winged our two-week Asia trip and did that a little bit with our recent Atacama trip too. It all works out, somehow.

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