10 Reasons Why People Who Want To Move Abroad, Don’t

Everyone has been there, you’ve had a tough day, or week, or month at work, nothing has gone right, you’ve been doing the same thing day in day out for years, the weather outside is rubbish, your next holiday is far too far away to get excited about but close enough that you’ve had to pay for it so you’ve got no money, nothing seems like its going to change, ever.

How many times have you thought to yourself, ‘I just wish I could jack all this in and move somewhere sunny!’?

Well, we did that, right here, and it doesn’t have to be as big a pipe dream as you might think. There are so many reasons why people want move abroad, but don’t

We quit our secure, well-paid jobs in England and moved our young family to Malaysia to live and work in the sun for a couple of years. The amount of people who have since told us how ‘lucky’ we are to have done this is incredible, but we’re not lucky, we’re not rich, or particularly clever or anything like that, we just did it, and anyone can do it. I tell this to people and they say things like this.

I can’t because I have kids
I can’t because my family are close by
I can’t because I have a good job
I can’t because…
I can’t because……
I can’t because………..

I’m not for one second saying that everyone should quit their job and move abroad, the vast majority of our friends have absolutely no desire to do it, and good on them, I wish I was that content!

But this is for those people who come up with reasons not to do something when they really want to. Life is unbelievably short, if you want to do something, you should do it and do it now.

So if you’re sat in your office wishing you were looking at the sun (not directly of course) instead of the rain but telling yourself you can’t do something like this, here’s my response to the top 10 reasons why people who want to move abroad, don’t

1 – The Kids are Settled in School/Nursery

Far and away this was the biggest concern of ours, our kids were 2 and 4 when we moved so admittedly they hadn’t formed the kind of friendship groups that older kids will just yet but the main thing I’ve seen is that kids are incredibly adaptable. Yes, its hard at the start but kids make friends everywhere!

Another thing, exposing kids to a completely different culture, food, language, lifestyle can only benefit them later on. If nothing else, being able to say ‘when i was younger, I lived in xxx for a few years’ is a much more interesting conversation piece than, ‘its been raining a lot this week hasn’t it‘ (please don’t move abroad for the sole reason so you can have a good icebreaker in 20 years)

2- I Couldn’t Get a Job

I am not a qualified teacher, but in 2010 me and my wife took a year-long contract in South Korea to teach English in public schools. At the time South Korea simply wanted native English speakers in schools. A lot of countries require some form of teaching qualification like a TEFL but even getting one of these is very cheap and quick these days. Not everyone wants to be a teacher, but the point I’m making is that if you really, and I mean really want to get a job in order to move abroad, you can.

3- I Don’t Want to Teach, I like What I Do

ok great, have you looked into doing your job abroad? I mean properly looked? Not just typed into Google for example ‘Estate agent jobs abroad‘ and because the first hit wasn’t someone’s HR department in Hawaii, you gave up? I bet you haven’t because, without wanting to sound too corny, ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. I would also bet that apart from some minor exceptions, whatever job you do in your home country, also happens elsewhere in the world.

4 – I Couldn’t Leave My Family and Friends.

Another biggie, a huge one in fact. If you have decided you want to try living abroad, no-one is saying it has to be forever, in fact, I would even say you shouldn’t have the outlook that it will be forever, its too big a thing for most people, myself included to handle. We have come out on a two-year contract initially, then will see how we get on. With WhatsApp, skype etc the world is a very small place these days. Depending on where you are, you may be able to go back and visit every few months, people may come out and see you. Finally, if moving abroad is something you really want to try, you have to do it for yourself and your immediate family, our friends, even my grandparents in their mid-80s would have hated it if they thought they were the reason we didn’t do something we had our heart set on. People are a lot more understanding than you might think.

5- I have my house and all my stuff is there.

Rent your house out. Simple as that, it’s not difficult, get an estate agent to do everything. And your ‘stuff’. What is ‘stuff’? Take it with you, sell it. chuck it, store it, rent your house out with all your ‘stuff’ in. If ‘stuff’ is really the reason only thing holding you back, then you really don’t want to go Reasons Why People Who Want To Move Abroad, Don’t

6 – It’s Too Big a Thing

Yeah, if you tell someone ‘I’m going to quit my job, sell everything, take the kids away from home and move to a brand new country and start a new job’ or whatever, it does sound big, its sounds massive. But the reality is that all that doesn’t happen on one day. The reality is once you’ve decided to go is generally a long process where you do a little bit at a time. The finding a job process can take a long time, fill in an application form, wait a few weeks, get an interview, wait a few weeks, etc etc. You then call an estate agent, they take a few days to come out, they spend a day making an advert etc etc, you speak to some shipping companies, they take a few days to call you back etc etc. In all this time you’re getting more and more mentally prepared for the whole thing and by the end of it, you’re like a coiled spring waiting to get on that plane!

7 – It’ll Be Too Hot

Well, you say you want to move to a hot country, so by the very definition of that, yes it probably will be hot, but isn’t that what you want? Sometimes you plan your day around meals, nap times, school clubs etc, you just throw ‘the heat’ into that mix and you’ll be fine. Plus, have you never heard of air-con?

8 –  It’s Not The Right Time

A classic one, usually followed by …I’ll do it in a few years, it’ll be easier when…..(insert excuse here). If you hang around waiting for the ‘right time‘, you will literally never do anything. This is how I imagine someones life would go who really wants to do something but waits for the ‘right time’

It’ll be easier when…..
– …I graduate so I’ve got a degree
– …I get a job and try to transfer abroad
– …I work for a few years and build up some money
– …I buy a house so I can rent it out and come back to it
– …I’m married so I’m not going alone
– …The kids are born so they’re born in their ‘home country’
– …The kids are sleeping through so we won’t be as tired
– …The kids are walking so we haven’t got to carry them everywhere
– …The kids are talking so they can tell us what’s wrong
– …The kids are ready for school so they’re a bit more independent
– …The kids are ready secondary schools so they start at the same time as everyone
– …The kids have finished their exams
– …The kids are at college/uni
– …The kids have moved out for good
– …The grandkids are a bit older
– …We pay the mortgage off so we have no debt
– …We retire so can do what we want
– …I have a hip operation so I can get around more
– …The great-grandkids are born
– …it’ll be easier when……wait, now you’re dead

There’s never a right time to do anything if you’re going to do it, do it now

9 – I’ll Miss Christmas at Home

Now you’re just making up excuses not to go, you clearly don’t want to if you’re saying this, planes do still fly over Christmas you know

10 – It Might Not Work Out

Yeah, you know what, it might not work out. It might be a total disaster and you hate it. And what do you do if that happens? you come back and deal with it then. Do you not do anything in life in case something doesn’t go to plan? Best stop crossing those roads then! But on the basis you’ve read this far down, it could be because you’re actually contemplating something like this, don’t let ‘it might not work‘ stop you, chances are it will be the best thing you’ve done, if it’s not, cross that bridge when you come to it, if you don’t you’ll regret not trying it, then the next thing you know….well…see the last excuse of point 8.

Are there any other reasons why people who want to move abroad, don’t?


I am a stay at home Dad, from England, living in Malaysia. Talking about how we survive the heat, the cultural differences, the lifestyle changes, the travel and lots more challenges that being a stay at home Dad in a foreign country brings.

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6 Responses

  1. clive howarth says:

    From UK. I did it for a 2 year contract to “get it out of my system”. Hmm that was 1997 and still in warmer climes with no reason to return. As the Nike ad says….just do it!

    • me@thestayabroaddad.com says:

      Hi Clive, whereabouts in the world are you? there are certainly things we miss about the UK but the weather is definitely not one of them! But yes, it’s much easier to do than people think, the thought is a lot more scary than the reality!

  2. Love this! We’ve lived abroad for 10 years and we always get told how ‘lucky’ we are and how much other people ‘would love to do it’. it’s not easy and takes a lot. But still the best decision we made.

    • me@thestayabroaddad.com says:

      Hi there, definitely, people think its something that ‘doesn’t really happen in real life’ but it’s just a case of actually starting the process. You’re right though, it’s not always easy!

      I see you’ve been to Sri Lanka, we also went a few months ago, definitely my #1 country to visit now.

  3. Alison Wale says:

    When we moved abroad, everyone said how brave we were. We didn’t feel it, and I don’t think we were. It was something we wanted to do. Even so, Andrew needed a friend who was already living here to say “when I lived in London, I could think of a hundred reasons not to move here. Now I’ve done it, I realise those reasons mean nothing.” It’s worked for us. I’m glad it’s working for you.

    • me@thestayabroaddad.com says:

      Hi Alison, agreed, theres always reasons for doing something and not, its also easy to stay in your comfort zone but if its something you want to do, you definitely need to give it a go, and if it doesn’t work out, you come back!

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