Welcome to Relocation Recap, a regular feature on the Health & Wellness Revolution blog – sharing the relocation experiences of women from across the world.
Feeling alone is a common challenge of relocation.
This interview series aims to shines light on the many ways you can feel more connected, inspired and capable when moving from your comfort zone to somewhere new and unfamiliar.
You may well read about someone who faced similar challenges to your own, and surmounted them. As you can too.
If you, or anyone you know, would like to be featured in this interview series, please contact Kylie here.
Welcome Cate, thank you for joining us!
Where do you live now, and where have you lived?
I currently live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I’ve also lived in Germany, and the US states of Michigan, Indiana, Washington, and Oregon.
What do you do, what ‘hats do you wear’, how do you spend your time, paid and unpaid?
I wear a few different hats in my professional life. First and foremost, I run Small Planet Studio, a personal and professional development company that provides services for global adventurers who are going through reverse culture shock and re-entry after being abroad. I also consult for international education organizations and teach an intercultural education service learning class at the University of North Carolina. I absolutely love my work!
What have you gained by relocating?
So much! New friends, new experiences, and so many fond memories. Relocating – both abroad and within my home country – has made me independent, adaptable, and resilient. I’m so glad I said yes to my first international relocation as a teen.
What have been some of the challenges?
Homesickness, maintaining strong relationships with friends and family at home, feeling like I never really fit in anywhere, my husband and I not agreeing on whether we should relocate again or not….
What would you have missed out on, had you stayed in one place?
A big one for me is learning a second language. I would never have developed fluency in German if I hadn’t lived in Germany. I also wouldn’t have the career I have now if I hadn’t lived abroad.
Did your physical and emotional health improve or decline after relocating?
The first time I relocated abroad as a teen I got really homesick and had a tough time for a while. I’d never spent more than a couple weeks away from my family and I’d never been out of my home country so it was a rough adjustment (especially since this was pre-internet/Skype/texting and I only rarely had contact with my family and friends). After that, I developed strong coping strategies and became very independent, so my physical and mental health have been strong on subsequent relocations.
What did you do to feel as healthy, capable and happy as possible while relocating?
Because of my difficult first relocation, I was determined to make subsequent relocations go more smoothly. Before I moved abroad the second time, I sat down and made a list of things to do if I started feeling homesick, sad or depressed. I also made a list of things not to do. When I arrived in my new town I immediately joined a choir and signed up for a dance class so I could meet people. I felt at home pretty quickly and didn’t experience the intense homesickness I had the first time.
When and if you experience self-doubt, fear or stress, how do you embrace these feelings and move on?
I’m still working on this, to be honest! I really try to set myself up for success by being aware of subtle feelings and thoughts that lead to self-doubt, fear and stress. For example, when I feel a twinge of self-doubt, I stop and explore a bit. Why am I feeling this way? Is this feeling helpful or hurtful? Am I working from an assumption or incomplete information? If so, what additional information do I need? Is there another perspective? What can I learn from this? When I do this on a regular basis I can avoid going into too deep of a pit of self-doubt, fear and stress.
What would you say to others contemplating a relocation?
Go for it! Yes, in some ways it’ll be harder than you expect. But it will also be amazing in ways you can’t anticipate. And just think of the stories you’ll have to tell!
Thank you Cate!
Now back to you, dear reader – are you contemplating relocating?
Check these out:
Free Resources (articles, recipes, tips – including an awesome moving abroad checklist)
Your Relocation Solution (the book): be healthy and happy, wherever you are. The ultimate guide for women wishing to feel connected, inspired and capable when moving from their comfort zone.
Healthy Relocation Coaching (one-on-one)
And please comment below, your thoughts, ideas, experiences and challenges are welcome and appreciated.