It is a known fact that moving and/or relocating is one of the most stress-inducing events one can sign up for.
Studies indicate that those who grew up with frequent moves show an increased risk of suicide, substance abuse, and possible early death. It has also been noted that people who move frequently are more likely to leave relationships behind along with physical possessions. Makes sense.
As a child, my family moved to different parts of the city, over the years. This meant new schools, new friends, and losing sight of old friends. For me, it also meant a language change from French to English, with serious implications and readjustments. For a young child, simply moving 4km away is enough to impact their lives and friendships.
I’ve often wondered whether all the moving about, as a child, starting with my parents leaving Europe for Canada when I was barely two years old, turned me into the restless spirit I came to be.
I have recently completed yet another gargantuan move, leaving the city behind and closing the final chapter on twenty years of my life. I have often referred to my life as a book, trilogy, or chapters because I feel I have lived many lives already, enough to write several unrelated novels.
This recent move is a life changer, but no more than when I chose to relocate to a new continent, across the ocean, and start from scratch, which included learning a new language. I will admit to having suffered stress and anxiety surrounding my moves or relocations, but ultimately these are always a rebirth for me.
I’ve never felt suicidal or hopeless, as a result of my numerous relocations to different cities and countries in both North America and Europe. I chose to. No one ever put a gun to my head, forcing me to leave behind friends, family, and a great-paying job that I actually enjoyed.
Life often dictates our moves. When I was younger I was looking for greener pastures, new experiences, challenges, and growth as I moved across Canada and the USA. I eventually took a leap and landed in Europe. A leap of faith would be more accurate.
A part of me believes that these leaps of faith are very much akin to time travel, or rather leaping in time. For those familiar with the idea of parallel universes, you will understand when I say that making big leaps at the right time is also a way of crossing over to those parallel universes.
Another way of explaining it, is that relocating can offer the opportunity of starting with a clean slate. You can reinvent yourself. Find new stimulus and motivation. Meet new people, make new friends and embark on new adventures. It is a way of getting out of a rut and growing. It is not for everyone. In a world where stability, continuity, and connections are valued, those who choose a nomadic lifestyle, embark on a brave endeavor.
The beauty of life is that no matter where we go, we will connect with kindred spirits. I came to realize, from a very young age, that time and space can’t stand in the way of kindred spirits.
In Milan, I spent 20 years that slightly resembled normality, where all I did was move to different locations within the city of Milan. Following one year of lockdowns, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I had no more use or desire for city life and I have relocated to a small town surrounded by lakes, nature and a lot less people.
I have everything I need, and it is the perfect setting for a writer. It is never too late to start over and do it all different. Relocating is not a magical solution to anything. Distance will not erase any outstanding personal issues. You may land a better paying job and resolve economic issues or find love, however, personal issues are never left behind. These are like your shadow, at the first sign of light they will creep up again.
I recommend spending some quality time in the location you plan to move to. Remember that you’ll experience a new location and culture differently when you are visiting as a tourist, as opposed to being a resident. Inform yourself well, so you are prepared for the changes that await you. Familiarize yourself with laws regulating taxes, wages, property rentals and purchases, driver’s license, and so on.
If you are considering moving to a country where English is not the spoken language, you had better start learning the local language, especially if you are thinking of setting up base for a while. You can’t expect to integrate into the culture if you don’t have at least a basic understanding of their language.
Relocating can provide the right stimulus for your personal growth and evolution, if you know what you want to achieve and you are committed to your own personal path.