Have you thought about living abroad, but you have a family? Have you been waiting to speak to your spouse about your dream of living in South Africa, Spain, or Japan but you aren’t sure they will support your dream? Well, you never know what will happen until you have the conversation. More and more people with families are packing their bags and trading their hectic lives more family interaction in a foreign country. So, really what are you waiting for?
This week I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Atlanta native Carmen Brown who moved to New Zealand with her husband and son. Proof that even with a family, it can be done! If you are interested in getting some assistance or learning how to start the process, check out my new book You Too! Can Live Abroad.
You Can Have A Normal Live Living Overseas…
Age: In my 40’s and fabulous
Countries visited? Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Maldives, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoa, South Africa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand
Where is home? Atlanta, Georgia
Where are you currently living? New Zealand
How long have you been living in this country? We have been in New Zealand for 2 years
Who is traveling with you? My husband and my 3 year old son
When did you first obtain a passport? In 2007! Believe it or not, I didn’t leave the continent until 2007 and between then and now I’ve visited almost 30 countries. I don’t think it’s ever too late to travel and explore!
When did you first know that you wanted to actually live abroad? After I went overseas. I realized that people have normal lives in other countries not unlike our lives in the USA. I also noticed that many places placed less emphasis on material goods an more on fostering relationships with friends and family and enjoying activities. I knew then that living abroad would be the best option for myself and my family. My husband is a former military “brat” and spent the first 15 years of his life living abroad so he was definitely integral in our decision to move overseas.
What is the most rewarding thing about being able to live abroad? Having a different perspective on life. I think that when you live overseas you have the opportunity to meet people who are so very different from your culture and background that you can’t help but to be inspired and educated by them. I didn’t realize how small my view of the world was until I found myself immersed in another country half a world away. I’m proud of myself for learning to grow and accept the beauty in differences.
What have you learned about yourself since moving abroad? I have realized that I didn’t need a fraction of the material goods that I spent a lifetime accumulating! I also realized that things can be done at a much slower, less stressful pace. I think I used to stress myself out back home, always trying to prove to everyone and myself that I’m a Superwoman. I have just recently learned here in NZ how to let things go… I’ve also learned that I’m an outdoorsy person! I would have NEVER tagged myself as a “hiking” or “camping” girl. Now these are two of my favorite outdoor activities! I try to do at least a 1 hour hike once a week-not only is it great exercise but it’s a perfect time to clear my head and think.
What do you most about living in New Zealand? WOW! First and foremost I love the safety of the country. New Zealand is consistently ranked as one of the safest nations in the world with low crime and even lower corruption. You feel that as an American in everyday life. I also love the beauty of the country. I feel like I live in a postcard with crystal blue water, white sand beaches, lush green forests and snow covered mountains. I can’t believe how stunning it is here!
What is the most challenging thing about living abroad? Trying to schedule time to catch up with friends and family and “Letting go” of the fast paced “convenience” lifestyle. When you are 17-18 hours ahead of all of you friends and family it gets VERY difficult trying to Skype or call them. It really takes some planning. I do miss some other things like Soul Food and certain ethnic restaurants but it has just made me a better cook! I make so many things from scratch now because I can’t find the things in the store…Like I make my cornbread from scratch now instead of using Jiffy and I can make my own “Jimmy Dean” sausage!
The one question or concern I get the most is, “Where will find work?” Tell me how you found work in New Zealand, and how feasible would you say it is for the average person looking for a job to move abroad and find work? I have found in most countries if you have a skill or an advanced degree of some sort, finding work will not be difficult. New Zealand publishes what they call a “Skills Shortage List” on their immigration site which lists all of the degrees and skills that they need immediately. This will make it very easy for you to find work and to get a Permanent Residency based on your skill set or degree. They do usually prefer you have at least 1-2 years of experience in your field. I have noticed new graduates may have a more difficult time finding work. There are lots of jobs available in IT, Science, Education, Medicine and Engineering. Recently one of my friends from Atlanta came to visit and was able to find a job in IT and has decided to move his family to NZ next year! It is possible!!