Priceless when abroad

I can’t live… if living is without you…

As we are currently in Japan, we have been reminiscing a lot about the years we have spent in this country. We have both lived away from home for many years – as have many of our readers – and we thought it was time that we shared some tips on the stuff we have needed during those sometimes tough times. Here is a list for those of you planning on doing the same that we came up with.

1) Skype

Probably the best invention ever made to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. You can even get a phone number for people to call you on and it’s so user-friendly that even my grandmother is on there!

2) Whatsapp

Most people already know about this amazing App, but just in case you have been in hiding – get this App! All you need is some internet and you can message all your friends for free. I have been using this for years…

3) Facebook

I know, I know… but Facebook really is an amazing network. You might be headed off to Fiji and once you post it in your status, messages will come pouring in – Who knew your best friend from school now lives there? Your friend’s cousin has a job available? A colleague went there years ago and gives you a list with the best restaurants? The amount of happy connections and opportunities that Facebook has given me is astounding!

4) MeetUp

Wherever you are in the world, this website links up people with similar interests. You enjoy boardgames? Volleyball? Eating out? The Eurovision Song Contest (–> I wish I was making the last one up but alas…). Some of the people you meet will probably be weird, but if you can find one or two gems, hold onto them. New friends and hobbies are a great way of meeting people and getting accustomed to your new life. Try something new and who knows – maybe you will be bouldering for the rest of your life!

5) Duolingo

This is a language teaching programme online that is completely free. It’s easy to use and fun. I find the best way to really get into a new culture is to learn the local language, so try and work on learning even a few words before you go and then drink lots of local beer and the courage to talk to strangers will come to you. All you need is practice and a whole world of communication opens up to you. If you have some spare cash, Michel Thomas is your man! His audio language guides help you learn to speak a language without even trying. All you have to do is listen and repeat – I have recommended him to so many people after doing the Spanish course and everyone is always delighted.

6) Bring a suit!

Every time I have been abroad there has been an emergency “formal-wear” moment. Whether it’s a wedding or a sudden meeting with someone important, trying to find a well-fitting smart outfit is hard and also expensive in your own country – imagine having to do it in another country!

7) A cuddly teddy

I know I’m an adult now, but we all have a cuddly teddy we can’t bear to part with. I would suggest bring this fluffy bit of joy with you – they squash into a small space in a suitcase and you wouldn’t want it sitting all alone in your attic at home now, would you?

8) Photos of home and whitetack

Print out some photos of your friends and family and here’s a gem of advice: bring whitetack with you! You will be able to stick your pictures to the walls wherever you are without leaving any trace when you move out. Trust me – this stuff leaves no marks and no pin-holes in the wall!

9) Boardgames

I’m putting this in for Jason. When we moved to Germany, I had a suitcase full of clothes and my ukulele. He packed one set of clothes and his 40+ boardgames. You can see our differing priorities… Through his hobby, we have made many friends and spend many lovely evenings together playing games. I always have on a different outfit, whilst Jason always wears the same thing – haha!

10) Cheese!

What’s the one thing you just can’t live without? Find it online – mine is cheese and although we have a supply of it in the freezer at all times (we have a LOT of guests from England), just in case we have an emergency shortage, we know where to get more cheese in Germany.

Cheese Cheese

Is there anything else you would add?

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