No matter how good a new location sounds initially, settling there won’t always go to plan.
Deciding when to call it quits is the hard bit.
I’ve talked before about what I call the Relocation Rollercoaster – the emotional ride of relocating and resettling in a new location, with recurring ups and downs that usually become smoother and ‘higher’ as the months pass.
As has almost everybody I’ve interviewed for Relocation Recap.
It takes time to settle in, at least six months, often more than a year.
Hence our personal guideline of ‘give it a year’.
Our year is just about up, here in Vanuatu, and we are very close to making the decision to leave.
Even though it’s a beautiful place with tropical weather, friendly people, a relatively easy language, a fantastic international school, relative safety, proximity to friends and family who are predominantly in Australia, and a good family income in our case.
However, for us, there is one very important piece of the puzzle missing – an element of work/life balance for my husband, the prime income earner for our family. We could not survive here on my income alone. Nor can he survive working in a stressful role, seven days a week, and not sleeping well as a result.
Hence we are close to pulling the pin. It’s not an easy decision to make. The children are halfway through their school year. We don’t know where we will move next – it will depend on employment opportunities. My husband is halfway through his contract and would normally never dream of leaving a project before completion. However, he’s pushed through for 11 months now, feeling ill for many of those due to the strain, and as a family we’ve watched him age.
It’s not an easy decision to leave, but we’re sure it’s the right one.
Have you been in a similar situation before? Forced to make a hard decision? We’d love to hear your story. Please comment below, or email me directly if you’d prefer.
5 Things to Consider Before Quitting a Location
- Have you sought help to solve the key problems, from your employer, landlord, old friends, new friends, relocation coach, cultural trainer or family counsellor? They might be able to spot solutions for your concerns that you hadn’t, or thought impossible to achieve. If you’re homesick, consider what you most miss – is it people, places or food? Might you be able to have more contact with those people, find places you love in your new location too, or prepare food that give you comfort where you are? Have you taken the plunge to make new friends, challenging for most of us however vital to feel settled in a new location?
- Have you given it sufficient time? After the honeymoon phase is over, most people find the next few stages in a new location really tough. Stick with it until you really feel these concerns are insurmountable. Draw on inspirational stories of those who’ve made it work after facing challenges, such as those in Relocation Recap. Don’t make decisions on the rough days.
- Can you draw and learn from earlier experiences, such as ‘this is a bit like when we moved to xxxxx, it wasn’t going so well until we met the Smiths / joined the yacht club / committed to leaving work at work / employed a cleaner so we could have family time on Saturdays / took a local holiday, then we all felt more settled and positive about the place’?
- Have you researched your Plan B sufficiently to know it will be an improvement on your current situation? Be aware that even moving back to a place you’ve lived before can be challenging, so ensure you go into it with your eyes wide open. I’d even suggest treating a previous location as a new location, because you may have changed, it may have changed, or both. This checklist will help prompt you in your research, whether your move is international or intercity. Having a job lined up helps if possible too!
- Consider writing in a journal to get your thoughts out onto a page. If your mind is like a pin-ball machine, with worries and concerns constantly bouncing against each other, writing them down helps immensely. Don’t worry about format, grammar, style or readability, just let the words flow. Later you can decide whether to read, burn or talk over the contents with a partner or friend – for now, just let it all spill onto the page. If you’d like help to get started, there’s a great resource within the free Relocation Ready course that will be perfect to prompt you, called 31 Things to Ask Yourself to Ensure a Successful Move.
Remember, you are as important to your health as your health is to you. If your health, or that of a family member, has taken a nose-dive in this new location, and it’s not possible to drag it back up again, then quitting this location is essential. We can’t get it right all of the time. You’ve not failed. In fact, you’ve probably learnt more about yourselves and what you’re seeking from life than had you not moved.
I call that a win.
If you’d like to talk through your options with an impartial person, that might be me. Check out my services and get in touch to book a session or if you’d like my thoughts on which option might be best for your situation – one-on-one coaching, online course, membership in our relocation community, book or a specific request.
All the very best making your decision!
In health & happiness