Thursday, July 23, 2009

Migration: the ultimate clean install?

The thirst for a life rebooting may have many origins, even for a single person. It can be some wish for prosperity, or a vocational calling. It can be the need for fresh, new air to breathe, or a passion for adventure. But a great share of these reasons can have a single motivator, many times unconsciously: you feel you should be in a completely different place, instead of the current one.

This, of course, is a need that can be fulfilled in very different ways, each one with its own level of difficulty. It depends entirely on what you want to achieve, and can range from moving to the next cubicle in your office to migrate to a new and strange country, the latter being in most cases the ultimate, most scary and epic move over the course of a clean install. Trust me, because these feelings are exactly the ones I have, as I am preparing to leave Venezuela for Australia on 2010.

Choosing to migrate is, as you can imagine, a big and difficult decision. We’re talking about leaving the place you call “your birth country” behind. There are a lot of questions to ask yourself before, because you really need to know if this step is for you. The next ones can help you find the much needed answers:

What do you really want to achieve? Is it a better-paid job? Or is it a change in your lifestyle? Do you want to feel safer when you walk the streets, or worry a little less about health emergencies for you and your family? This is important, because a lot of people can obsess with migrating to their dream countries without thinking what they really want of their new lives.

Can you achieve what you want in your birth or home country? Have you really considered your current options? If you are an office worker within a certain salary range and want to become, say, a fitness trainer that shouldn’t have to sacrifice your income, do a little research about how well would that go in your homeland and compare it with a similar search in your chosen destination.

How well do you handle changes? Obviously you need some taste for change if you are considering doing a clean install, but it’s also true that everybody has a limit in handling life transformations. Are you ready to leave behind things you take for granted, like your favourite food? What about hanging out with friends and relatives? Try and be sincere with yourself, and in the process not only you will gain enlightenment about your limits, but also you’ll have a golden chance to do an effort and get a little better or stronger in handling life changes.

Which external obstacles do you have in your migration path? It would be naïve to think the real world would make your quest for migration a road filled with rose petals. Some countries have only a few complications, but others can put you through a real torture. Consider also how much money you have saved, and how much of that can you convert to dollars, or euros, or the destination country currency. Search information on plane ticket costs, flight hours, and take into account if you can handle these numbers should you have to travel back regularly.

Which obstacles are you unwillingly imposing on yourself? Like external obstacles, internal ones keep you from reaching your target. Maybe you and your parents are enormously attached with each other and don’t want to put an ocean in between, or you are frightened at the sole idea of living the rest of your life in a foreign-language country. Try to identify these issues and see which ones are real concerns and which are just fears of change in disguise.

If you take a look at your answers, you’ll have a great resource for taking the right decision. Keep in mind that you are seeking change, and starting anew in another country may be just what you and your loved ones need.

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