5 ways to ride the emotional Roller Coaster of a move abroad with confidence

5 ways to ride the emotional Roller Coaster of a move abroad with confidence

It’s a fact: moving abroad is an emotional roller coaster. The planning phase comes with many ups and downs and lots of emotions. You get anxious, excited, overwhelmed and some days it is hard to remember why you wanted this in the first place. 

So, how can you stay motivated and not let all your emotions distract you from achieving your goal? How do you deal with the ups and downs when moving abroad? How can you ride the emotional roller coaster with confidence?

Here are 5 ways to ride the emotional Roller Coaster of a move abroad with confidence:

#1: Be prepared for the bureaucratic madness

Now that you’ve decided to move abroad, there is a lot of paperwork to organize and many government institutes to deal with. The process of getting a visa varies per country, but in almost all cases, you can expect long processing times and unexpected delays. Oh!, and don’t be surprised if all of a sudden you need a document or two in addition to the thousands* of documents you’ve already provided.

So yes, your patience will be tested, and the only way to deal with it is to take a deep breath and ride the exhilarating waves of bureaucracy ;-). On top of that, make sure you allow yourself enough time for the whole process and any appointments you make. Be flexible when things change or take longer. And always make sure you check all the paperwork requirements and come to visa appointments prepared. With good preparation, the bureaucratic madness should hopefully be a lot easier and less stressful. 

#2. Take charge of your thoughts

Yesterday you had an incredible day and received the confirmation that your visa application is approved, yeah!! And then, all of a sudden, the doubts and worries creep in. “Am I doing the right thing?”.” What if..(insert concern)..?” Having these feelings is completely normal! Of course, you are scared and unsure; you are making a life-changing decision! 

5 ways to ride the emotional Roller Coaster of a move abroad with confidence
This was my “What if” brainstorm from almost ten years ago when preparing for our move to Australia.

There are many ways to manage your doubts or concern, from meditation sessions to positive thinking and journaling. To put your wondering mind at rest, make sure you have a plan in place for when things DO happen. Personally, I like to address those feelings rationally. There are a couple of ways to do that:

  • Find out what is holding you back, by asking yourself “Why” a couple of times. Face your fears and find out any hidden insecurities or fears that you can address.
  • Write down your worst-case scenario(s) or what-ifs and come up with scenarios and solutions.
  • Reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.


When we moved to Australia with nothing but a suitcase and a working holiday visa, the fear of not finding a job would often keep me awake at night. So I came up with alternative scenarios or solutions. Having this little brainstorm with myself, helped tremendously in preparing for any unforeseen events and gave me the confidence I needed. In fact, I wasn’t even worried about finding a job, because I loved my backup plan. Although I never had to use the backup plan, just the thought of having one gave me the confidence and peace of mind that I needed in challenging times. 


5 ways to ride the emotional Roller Coaster of a move abroad with confidence

 To help you take charge of your thoughts and prepare yourself for any worst-case scenarios, you can download the “‘Take charge of your moving fears and doubts’ Activity Sheet” via the button below.

[purchase_link id=”2851″ style=”button” color=”yellow” text=”Activity Sheet” direct=”true”]



#3. Think of the bigger picture and put it in perspective

When you are moving abroad, one of the biggest fears is that something happens to you or your loved ones while living (far) away. And yes, sadly, things do happen. In our almost ten years abroad, my husband and I experienced a loss in the family and we also saw expat friends deal with (sudden) losses or serious health scares. These things happen. They are part of life. But the truth is, they also happen when you stay where you are (and don’t follow your dream). 

Instead of fearing what could happen, wonder if it should keep you from living your life. If we always live in fear, we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy life to the fullest. When you live in a foreign country, these “what ifs” might always be in the back of your mind, but they shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your life and your abroad adventure. Think of the bigger pictures and the greater goal, and try not to get distracted too much about your “what ifs.” 

#4. You are not alone; reach out to others for help

Moving abroad is stressful and overwhelming, but don’t ever think you have to overcome that all by yourself. If you’ve hit a roadblock and are at a bit of a loss, reach out to friends and family. Talk to them. Let them support you and help you.

If you are really uncertain about your visa application or other paperwork requirements, reach out to others. There are tons of Expat Facebook groups or organizations like InterNations, where you’ll find people who are happy to answer your questions! Or consider hiring an immigration lawyer, expat coach, tax agent, or any other specialist that you might need along the way. 

Having others help you is never a sign of defeat. Instead, it shows that you are humble and eager to learn, and these are qualities that will stimulate your growth mindset. So if you are having a hard time at any stage of your moving abroad journey, reach out to others, ask for help, snuggle up with your mom on the couch, or have a coffee with a friend. You’ll quickly see the light again, ready to keep going.

#5. If all else fails…Breathe!

Nelson Mandela once said, “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” It has been a great motivator when I was feeling down. Achieving your dreams can be frustrating and stressful, but it will be all worth it in the end. So don’t give up!!

Take a deep breath, take things day by day and keep going. Believe in yourself, in your dream, and trust that you will make it happen. Say it out loud: “I believe in myself. I believe in my dream. I will make it happen! Now go get them, tiger!


Yes, you shouldn’t take the moving abroad phase lightly. Yes, it can be a real emotional rollercoaster. Yet, there are many ways to take control of your thoughts and help reframe, or rephrase any negative thoughts or doubts. We hope the options that we shared today will help you through the ups, and most importantly any downs. And don’t forget to ease your mind, by writing down your thoughts and concerns in the FREE activity sheet.

[purchase_link id=”2851″ style=”button” color=”yellow” text=”GET THE FREE ACTIVITY SHEET HERE” direct=”true”]

Need extra motivation to keep chasing your dream? Get inspired and motivated by the stories of people from all over the world who follow their dream to move abroad.


*yes, this is (obviously) a slight exaggeration, but it can feel like thousands of documents ;-).  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Let's Move Abroad

At let’s move abroad we are passionate about helping you achieve your living-abroad-dream and make your living abroad journey an experience you’ll never forget. 

Explore the guides

Our guides are the ultimate handbook for everyone who is dreaming of moving abroad. 

Check them here >

Content ideas?

Can’t find what you are looking for? Or have a unique living-abroad-story that you want to share?

Contact us for any content ideas and suggestions!

Related Articles

Coping with the Emotions of Planning a Move
Coping with the Emotions of Planning a Move Abroad

The process of uprooting your life and starting fresh can trigger a range of emotions, from excitement to fear, from hope to uncertainty. In this article, I will share ways to cope with the emotional rollercoaster that comes with planning a move and overcome the stress and anxiety that can arise.

Read More »