This is a post for anybody going on a big trip, life-move, holiday or even just people who like lists!
So…you’re finally going! Now what? You’re excited, yet nervous. Terrified, yet relieved? It’s an amazing mix of feelings and you should revel in them. This article is about the Transition Period when moving abroad. Whether you are moving away for work, following a loved one to Europe or simply just travelling to escape, everyone needs a few creature comforts to get them through the transition. My list has you covered. I often wish someone had told me what to pack (other than the obvious necessities) before my departure. It would’ve saved a lot of time, effort, money and hangry tears upon my arrival.
I don’t mean the obvious pieces, like comfortable clothes, modest clothes, professional clothes, underwear, ect. I mean your comfiest, tattiest, ugliest jumper that you simply cannot watch Netflix without. It’s been there through exams, breakups, hangovers and happy moments. You know the one.Never mind if you’re moving to somewhere warm (say Dubai), the air-conditioning can be bloody cold! Sometimes, you just need to turn down the temperature to about 19 degrees and snuggle up with your soft, friendly jumper. Trust me, it seems stupid, but when you sleep in your new bed in your new room for the first time, and it’s completely bland…you’ll want the reassurance of something familiar.
2. Phone, Laptop, Tablet
…anything to stay in contact. See below.Even if you plan on buying a new phone there, at least take SOMETHING (even your dad’s old brick) to see you through until you have the time/energy/funds to buy something a bit more socially acceptable.
3. Adapters/ Power Board
Half of the time on this blog I feel that all I talk about is electronics. But seriously, if you value your sanity, social life and relationships, you’re going to want to have all of your chargers, with appropriate country adapters at the ready (a USB adapter is super handy, too). The best thing I have invested in is a Travel Sim. It is a prepaid sim card that you can load currency onto for the phone to work in set countries. I know I am a sook, therefore it was imperative to me that on my departure for Dubai, I had a travel sim ready and charged to call my family when I arrived. Best. Decision. Ever. Even if you buy a local sim, chances are it won’t be possible to get it set up/ put credit on it immediately…and that is often when you need to use it most, the early hours of the morning when you arrive, in your first days in your new life. Especially if you don’t know anyone else, you’ll want to stay connected to whoever you can from back home.
4. Photographs/ Keepsakes
Again, my inner geriatric is shining through…you may remember one of my posts “Long Distance Love”. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of printing photographs, but having them handy upon your arrival is a good idea. I find that a few photos can really personalise a generic space (office, hotel room, rental apartment) without being too intrusive, like nailing artwork to the walls or painting the ceiling. I took a small album away with me of photos that I had printed for a different occasion (my 21st birthday), and they served as the perfect make-shift headboard decoration for my miserable hotel room. I was so grateful for the company issued-accommodation (and wifi) but it was nice to see my familiar pictures around. It centered my mind every morning, to see these happy memories and look at some motivational words. A good day starts with a positive mindset.
I love food. Aside from leaving my comfort zone, the hardest thing about living in the Middle East was the lack of beautifully fresh food (not to mention pork). Most Australians don’t realise that you can take whatever you want leaving Australia (from a Border Force Perspective) it’s just bringing back fresh food that is a no-no. For example, you may take avocados, mangoes, bacon…virtually anything on the plane (in your big luggage, in a cooler bag, or in a cabin bag if it’s not a liquid) that you may desire. I wish that I took my favourite snack with me…chips, chocolates, nuts, coconut water…everything! Especially vegemite. Things that are native to your country may be easy enough to find over seas, but it will probably cost 7x as more as it does at home. You can keep your $13 Vegemite, thanks Waitrose Dubai Mall.
6. Books/Reading Material
If you like to read (or want to start) consider that it might be a good idea to pack some reading material in your own language. It will act as a meditation tool before bed, help you focus on something other than your current situation (whether positive or other). It is also a great idea IF YOU HAVE NO WIFI! Shocker. Some places do live in the dark ages and if I had a favourite book with me I would’ve felt 1000x more at home. Please don’t ask what that is, I will be here for years compiling a list of my favourites. At the moment it is “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng.
Obviously luggage allowances can be a hindrance with packing. Especially for females such as myself. The best thing to do is ALWAYS check the ticketed allowance for your flight (not what the website says generally), as some flights have code share agreements and this can impact how much/little you are permitted to bring free of charge. When in doubt, CALL SOMEONE and have your booking reference handy!
Best of luck to you if you are undergoing a transition of your very own, and congratulations on taking the leap!
Safe and comfy travels,