I moved to Vienna Austria from Mullumbimby Australia exactly 4 years and 7 months ago and 3 days. Actually I don’t know how many days it has been. I made that bit up. But I know it has been 4 years and 7 months.
Mullumbimby Australia is a 10 minutes drive to the well-known town of Byron Bay. Byron Bay if you will imagine is like any hippie counter-culture town you can think of. Think VW vans, hash cookies, drumming circles and beautiful beaches. And there is no 2 locations more unlike than Byron Bay, Australia to Vienna, Austria.
I was fortunate to have an EU passport. So I had no stress, pressure or paperwork to do in preparation to come here. In fact I don’t remember really thinking it over too much at all. I was bored in my job and thought that a European chapter of my life seemed glamorous and would work well in my future memoir .
I was too busy assembling and packing my European wardrobe to actually consider the reality of living overseas in a non-English speaking country. I thought I would pick up the German language like a savant, mind you having never spoken a 2nd language in my life.
I Imagined I would land a well-paying glamorous job almost immediately. Eat macaroons all day. I would sip coffee in sidewalk cafe’s. Carry a baguette at all times. I think I thought I was moving to France instead of Austria.
I considered Austria & France in my limited knowledge of European geography like close neighbors with the cultural differences of say Melbourne to Sydney. I pictured myself riding a cute bicycle with a wicker basket over the border to France for some Camembert cheese or to Holland to pick up some tulips. Only to realise they don’t even border Austria. I joke (a little)
The only thing I do remember considering was how cold it was going to be. And how I could look cute – taking my style from laid-back beach bum to European urban winter. Some may call it shallow or stupid. I like to call it impulsive and style orientated.
Obviously it all didn’t turn out exactly like that. Because life doesn’t seem to turn out exactly how you imagine it. But 4 years 7 months and x amount of days later I am still here in Vienna, Austria. Some-days I feel like I am really killing it and loving it. Some days barely holding on, cursing all Austrians and the culture.
There are many tips and tricks & tales on how to survive or be an expat. But I will start with this solid gold nugget of advice. If you are considering moving abroad for an unknown amount of time. Please think & consider things carefully. Things like culture shock, jobs, language barriers & climate changes. Vitamin D deficiencies.
I learnt the hard way that these are critical things you should perhaps plan for. Before selling everything you own and jumping on an air-plane. It may save you some heartache or rude reality type slaps to the face later on.
Or just say F^&k it and jump on a plane because life is all a gamble. And you got roll the dice sometimes and sing Kenny Rogers songs on the way to airport. More expat tales to come.
PS – Never take my advice. As you have just read above I am not one for careful well prepared thoughts.
PPS- Or alternatively do the opposite of what I would do and you should have an awesome well prepared balanced life.