1. Pick A Country + Paperwork, Paperwork
Figure out what country you want to be off to, how you're planning to so as to finance your adventures while there, and - important as - check out what visas you need to get there. Some visas make you jump through some crazy hoops while pulling notarized documents out of your hat.
Example: to be an ESL Teacher in South Korea on an E2 visa requires a federal police check, which in Canada can easily take 4 months - in addition to all the other rubbish paperwork! One more reason why I'm stoked to be off to Cambodia: almost complete lack of complicated paper piles.
|Sign in Asan, South Korea|
The time that you decide to get outta dodge is the time to start getting rid of as many of your belongings as you can. Kijiji, Craig's List, garage sale, throwing a party and having everyone leave with something... whatever it takes! Personally, I have a small closet in my parents house where I've kept some items of sentimental value, and I (stupidly?) kept my snowboard gear for the times that I visit home in winter, but everything else has been given or sold for drinkin-abroad money.
3. Podcasts and Blog Posts
First stop is the iTunes store to download some language learning podcasts (free!), then start searching for blogs written by people in your country of choice. Easiest and most fun form of research ever.
4. Funnel Those Funds...
...straight into your savings. Seriously, save as much as possible. I know it's tempting to go to a place like Mountain Equipment Co-op or other travel-oriented stores and blow a lot of cash - afterall, it makes it feel like you're really doing something and working towards your goal. I did just that and have not, to this day, used many of things I bought.
Even if you're headed straight to a waiting contract, you might be left waiting for the next pay period, which can be a major problem when pay periods are monthly. Don't overlook how much money it costs to start-up in a country, either. Surprise paperwork like alien registration and health checks (Korea) can pack a punch.
|Fushimi Inari Shrine, Japan|
Okay just the last one. Make sure you get everyone's address before you leave - nothing bungs up a secret super surprise care package like an addy-request message. On that note - don't forget to send care packages!
Bon voyage and best of luck!
xx Lady Expatriate