I’m Moving Abroad for a Year and I’m Actually Really F*cking Nervous

I booked my flights to Asia today, and I’m actually really (pardon my French) fucking nervous.

And I’m not nervous in my typically exaggerated sense, such as when I ‘panicked’ on finding out I was travelling the Middle East during Ramadan, but nervous in the traditional sense. My blood is thrumming lowly through my body, my heart is beating just that bit quicker and I can feel a light-but-ever-present tension since my flight confirmation came through. My neck, my arms, my shoulders, every part of my body, is just that bit more rigid, that ounce more stiff, unable to relax no matter how much I inhale and exhale and eat to distract.

I’m overthinking everything but nothing.

In fact, I know that if I think about it too much, I may have a full-blown panic attack.

So actually, even though I’m blocking all coherent thought out, I’m incapable of blocking the feelings out.

Because this summer, I’ll be leaving my home to go on my longest solo trip ever – to teach English in South East Asia. My year long draft contract has come through, I’ve been in contact with the two lovely women I’ll be living with, and I’ve even ‘met’ some of my colleagues at the school via a Skype meeting with my supervisor.

It’s real.

It’s real and it’s happening, very much so. And not like how I thought moving to Colombia was happening. This is genuine.

I’m moving abroad for a year. This is considerably more time than the two to three months I typically spend abroad, such as when I went to India in January 2017, or to Thailand, Cambodia and Bali in September 2017. Hell, even right now… I’m only in the Middle East for a couple of months. This will be for a year.

I’ve desired this since I was 16 years old (when I first discovered my love of history and different cultures because I was obsessed with my Eastern European history class) and the utter want to move abroad and discover and learn something new has never died down. Ignored and pushed away certainly, but never entirely forgotten. So it’s not like the excitement and amazement that I’m doing this nine years later isn’t present, it’s just that those feelings are currently heavily buried under the sheer amount of nerves I’ve already mentioned I’m blocking out.

Also, I find that, on all of the travel blogs I’ve personally followed, I’ve not read one article on people who are freaking the hell out because they’re moving abroad. Or if they are, it’s mentioned in passing and then neglected as they write about all the things they’re instead excited about (although perhaps they’re too blocking the feelings?). But I can’t do that yet. I’m too nervous about what I’ll potentially miss than to write about what awaits.

Because my nerves are only because I’ll miss people. Everything else, like culture shock, keeping my veganism in a heavily based meat country, finding make-up that won’t break me out, etc. can be dealt with once I’m in the country, and I actually look forward to those challenges (although maybe not the make-up one!), but it’s just… this feeling, I’m not sure how to remedy. I mean, can I really look forward to missing people like I’m looking forward to the hardship of everything else?

Firstly, I’m worried that I’m throwing something good away. That I’ve found someone who I absolutely adore, and who I believe adores me, and that I might ruin it all by leaving. Notwithstanding the fact he’s 100% supportive of this, I can’t help but think about what could be, and the affect and changes this will cause.

Then, I’m worried about my friends. I have the most amazing friends. Friends who I’m blessed to have. Friends who I miss the most whenever I go travelling: I send them voice messages when I’m in a club and ‘our songs’ come on, drunkenly screaming the lyrics at them, I message them everyday with stupid pictures and facts and they do too. I’m literally in love with them. And even though I know our relationships won’t change, I keep worrying that I’ll miss the important things. I mean, what if one gets married? And another pregnant? Or, oh God, maybe someone has a house-warming party because they’ve finally managed to get on the bloody expensive property ladder and they now have an actual mortgage!? I would love to attend. My point is, is that I would want to be there for all of it, and it bothers me that I may not.

Lastly… it’s my family. My Mum is literally one of my best friends, and the prospect of only seeing her once in the year if she can fly out to see me, is quite upsetting. We speak pretty much everyday, and see each other when we can. I’m already missing the Brasilian restaurant with its passion fruit caipirinhas we frequent in Camden Town, alongside our shopping trips where I usually ask her to buy me shoes and hats I don’t need because I’m a cheapskate.

My brothers will grow older, and that will be strange too, to not be there as it happens. I’ll be buying my Dad and stepmum presents from across the globe (as I already am for Fathers Day, as I’m in Jordan), and thinking about my return journey, when they’ll be there to greet me upon my return at the airport, is already making me quite happy – and I’ve not even left yet!

I can write a much longer blog post about each of the people I’ll miss and why. I could probably turn it into a novel with just how many words it would be, but I’m refusing to do that here as I’ll probably end up cancelling the trip due to homesickness before I’ve actually left home!

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for this opportunity – I always am when I travel because I recognise how much of a privilege it is – but damn, the nerves are getting to me tonight. I don’t think I realised, in the months between getting the job and then getting prepared to leave England, that I would be this affected. I thought that excitement and dream fulfillment would be the overriding emotions by a long shot. Not this dull terror. Because I really am quite frightened now that it’s actually happening, and I’ll be honest, if the right people seriously asked me to stay, I would consider jacking in the job strongly. But, as aforementioned (because I do need to keep reminding myself too), I’ve wanted exactly this since I was 16, and it may be a good idea to also have some stability for a while.

But this, this dream that has plagued me and shaped my life immensely over the past two years… is, dare I say, coming true, and yes, I’m worried.


  • livechicandwell

    And… breathe! 😉
    Seriously, your worries are understandable and perfectly normal. I went to work and live in Italy in my gap year when I was 18 and I didn’t think so much about the serious things, so caught up I was in feeling excited about my first big adventure. However, once you leave your teens behind you start to think more about life in general, especially our friends and family so it’s bound to be scarier now that you’re in your mid twenties.
    But…a year sounds a long time, yet flies by surprisingly quickly. And with Skype and all the social media we have these days it is easy to keep in touch with people back home. In fact, I know a few adults who have worked abroad who say that they kept in better contact with friends while working away than when they lived at home because you make more of a conscious effort.
    The anticipation period before you leave can be the hardest time. Once you arrive and settle in it should get easier. Best of luck with it!

    • Francesca

      Thank you for the sweet reply, it genuinely warmed my heart reading it. <3 Yes… that's true. I find that I generally make more of an effort when I'm travelling to stay in contact with others more often than not, so you're right, I should remember that that is always an option. Thank you 🙂

      The anticipation period! It feels crazy! I haven't even told everyone I've booked my flights yet, and I feel like there's so much to do like plan my leaving party, buy appropriate clothes, pack, etc. lol. It's going to be a busy few months!

      Thanks again for the response. It brings a lot of comfort knowing that others have gone through the same thing. 🙂 xx

  • Antonia

    OMG, you’ve already booked your flight. I can’t believe it. I know that you’ll be fine, like I always say I have faith in you even when you don’t. You just need to take things one day at a time and before you know it, it will be time for you to come back and you’ll be wanting to stay. I’ll definitely join you while you’re out there. But I’ll miss you everyday that you’re gone. Sometimes you just need to live your dreams and I’m happy your finally doing it. 😉

    • Francesca

      I couldn’t believe it either! Like, I’ve told about 3 people in total (including my Dad who booked it 😂) and thank you so much ❤️❤️ when I come back to the UK we are absolutely having a dinner, ASAP. Yep.. one day at a time, I’ll have to remember that, lol. Love you so much my dear! xx

  • Holly Goodyear

    Where in southeast Asia are you moving to? I’ve been here teaching English in Vietnam for around ten months now and I haven’t looked back. I like your point about not hearing about people freaking out before they move. My freakouts manifested in me buying very unnecessary things thinking I needed them before I moved away… that I have never used since being here! Let me know if you want to chat or want any advice on how to prepare/what to bring or whatever. I’ve got a new blog now which is http://www.globalgoodyear. com if you want to here about tefl life! x

    • Francesca

      Omg I could imagine the same freak out! I’m already thinking… do I need a blender, surely I should buy a blender? And maybe a kettle or coffee maker! And of course, I will definitely check out your new blog 😊

        • Francesca

          😂😂😂😂 I’m going to be buying high end makeup too! Can’t be paying all the import taxes. I saw MAC foundation for £50 ($60 or so!) instead of the usual price of £30 in the Middle East! But I see it as you planning ahead. 😂

  • Sarnian Albatross

    Leaving for my thirteen month trip (now sadly almost over) to study abroad was certifiably terrifying. I can’t remember what I wrote about it though, probably some over optimistic drivel. You are much braver than me for writing about it, I just ignored the tears and fear until I got to Singapore where I just sat on my bed and cried the first night. You’ve travelled lots before and everyone is nervous before travelling anywhere for a long period of time or far away for a short period of time and you are doing both so embrace your nerves, you can do it.

    • Francesca

      Thank you so much for your honesty and your words ❤️ it’s been wonderful to have the support from everyone. Your 13 month trip.. when did you begin to get into it? I heard 6 months is when you really begin to feel adjusted to the new lifestyle? Thanks for your comment 🙂 x

      • Sarnian Albatross

        I found it came in waves. A week in I had settled in well but then midterm exams happened and I had a minor wobble. After that I was fine, even for finals. Christmas was horrific because it is a family event for me and I was travelling alone while everyone else went home. I spent a huge amount of time time crying and skyping home. There was a bit of a wobbly moment after my mum visited for a week. I think seeing her reminded me of home too much. After that I’ve been fine so I think eight or nine months before I fully settled down but for a lot of that time I was fine.

  • NunziaDreams

    Wow, your writing is just so real. I’ve never read a travel blog like yours, ever and I just love your perspective of things. I couldn’t help but tear up while reading this. When you started talking about being homesick and your family. :/ Ugh, that part is going to be hard, but your dreams are coming true!! This is such exciting news, I’m so happy for you!!! 💓You’re honestly inspiring me to travel and step out of my comfort zone in general. Congrats on your teaching position, dear!!! You’re going to do great!!

    • Francesca

      Omg Nunzia, you have made me smile again ❤️❤️ thank you for your beautiful comment. Honestly.. I can’t recommend travelling enough, especially solo. It really does change your life and makes you so aware of how strong you are and how capable. If you have the chance, take it, because you absolutely will never regret it! Maybe start with a small weekend away? My first solo trip was to Poland, so was nearby home. But yes, hopefully I don’t scare my little kiddies away – I can’t wait to meet them! I have to say though, having the support of everyone on this blog has been wonderful, and brings such great comfort, so you’re amazing for that too because you’re so supportive. Thank you! 🙂 Have a good day dear 😘😘

      • NunziaDreams

        Aww, you’re so sweet 💞I’m glad my comment made you smile cause your comments always make me happy!! 💛I am definitely going to look into traveling solo. I’m used to traveling with Alejandro or my family, but not really alone. The only time I traveled alone was to college in another state and honestly, it was one of the best things I ever did. Thanks for the encouragement, it means a lot and inspires me to just take the leap and do it! A weekend getaway alone sounds lovely. I’m glad you’re feeling supported cause your writing is amazing, and always so meaningful. 💗xx

  • Sandra

    Loved this post Francesca!! I know I’m guilty of glossing over the worries of moving abroad but my year in Australia hasn’t been as scary as I thought.. The time difference sucks and not being able to meet up for a chat or day out are some of the things I’ve missed but you set up Skype dates and tag each other in silly memes as normal lol Plus you do meet new friends along the way too, not that they replace your existing friends but you get to hang out with cool people 🙂 I just got my friend’s save the date over WhatsApp lol heading back to the UK for that!!! All the best on your new exciting adventure x

    • Francesca

      Hey Sandra! Thank you so much 💙💙 yes! The Skype dates I’m looking forward to, but you’re right, the time difference is… 😔😔 and sweet! How often do you go home? Or do you do entire years without coming back? I don’t think I’ll have the money/time off work to come back over the year, so I’m a bit like 😬 And thank you for your comment and well wishes! Means a lot that you’re giving your advice and support 🤗 xx

      • Sandra

        YOU GOT THIS!!!
        I’ve actually gone the whole year without coming back but was lucky to have 2 of my friends come over for a visit which was amazing!! I’m planning a meet up somewhere halfway for the parents as they aren’t keen on the 24hr travel to get here. So extend invitations to friends to come over if they can!! And keep blogging that’s another way to share what’s going on without repeating yourself to everyone lol xx

        • Francesca

          Haha that’s very true. I started this blog solely so I could keep everyone informed.. but then I’ve not shared it with my friends and I also seemingly write lots of lovey-dovey pieces so who knows what’s going on now 😂😂 that’s great though! Where are you thinking to meet your parents?? Exciting! And absolutely I’m sending those invites out! WE GOT THIS! xx

          • Sandra

            Well it’s your space to write what you feel like .. Guess you could always do a separate one with just travel updates if you wanted two separate spaces. Maybe Singapore or Dubai though they just want me to come back lol Exciting times ahead though 🙂 Xx

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