Last week I spoke with Melany and Bill, a retired American couple who had been preparing their move for over a year. They started the procedures to become residents, sold their house and said farewell to their friends and loved ones. They joined our Online Coffee & Conversation and webinars to share experiences and ask their questions, and used the Covid time to learn the language. When all of that was done, they were ready to come over.
While we were having a small party online because they had landed, Melany shared with me that they only brought two suitcases each! Can you imagine? They got rid of 99.9% of the stuff they possessed and managed to put their remaining belongings into two suitcases. And it included a potato peeler! “Yeah, because we like that one,” Melany said.
Melany also gave most of her jewellery away and said to me: “This way, when I see my friends, I can also see my jewellery and then I think: Oh, that suits them well.”
One of my clients – let’s call her Veronique – shared with me that she decided to come over because she wanted to swim in the Atlantic Ocean every day. Wanting to live close by the ocean was the reason for her to make the move. Veronique simply quit her job in Australia to come over and swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Makes sense, right?
For me as a life coach, it is so interesting to hear these stories and I can’t help but ask people about their “Bigger Why”. Why did you want to make the move? What do you hope it will bring you? What do you desire on a deeper level that makes it worthwhile to go through all this effort, cut the cords with your past and take the leap?
I ask this because I know there is always a “Bigger Why”.
Some people want to step out of the rat race, some want to rest and recalibrate. Some realise that life is really short, and they want to enjoy it more and make the most of it. There are many reasons why people want to start all over again and, in this case, move to a new country or continent. Or should I say: people tell themselves different stories about the “Why”; sometimes without even knowing what their “Bigger Why” is.
For those of you who have made the move, did you ever ask yourself this question? – “What is the real reason, the ‘Bigger Why’ for me?
In the case of Veronique, I know – she finally wants to settle and find love. Melany and Bill want to “get rid of luggage” and enjoy life to the fullest.
For myself, the answer came over the years. The story I told myself was that I was following the man I love. Which sounds very plausible, right? But after a few years, I found out that the real pull that had made me come over had to do with a deep desire to heal and become healthy again. Something I didn’t know before; the whole thought of being capable of healing myself seemed so much out of my reach. And at last, now, it totally makes sense.
What is your “Why”?
Next time, when you share your story about why you want(ed) to make the move, pay attention to your feelings. What is it that you feel when you talk about it? What are the images you see in your mind’s eye? What do you see yourself doing? How are you walking? How do you hold yourself? Do you notice any images that arise of your “future self”, you in the future in your new country? It might start as a whisper … What is that change you are seeking?
Why do we make the move? I think because a “New You” wants to emerge, that is why. It doesn’t really matter what the story is you tell yourself or others. The “New You” wants to actualise and the only thing you need to do is to give it space!
By Ria van Doorn
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Ria van Doorn is a life coach for internationals living abroad and founder of the Expat Centre Portugal.