It’s Groundhog Day in February, when the residents of Punxsutawney, USA, will discover if winter will finish early or drag on for another few weeks. If your life resembles the movie version, where Bill Murray is doomed to repeat the dismal day until he gets it right, it’s time to seize the day and live the life unlived.
So if you dream of escaping the commute and the nine to five; if you’re already counting down the days to your summer holiday; if you’ve ever fallen in love with another country and imagined living there; if your dreams remain unfulfilled, then make Groundhog Day your special day! Here are six inspiring reasons to make your dreams of living abroad a reality.
Discover a new culture
Being abroad gives you the chance to view life from a new angle. Will you miss the pub and a proper cup of tea? Maybe, but you can embrace a new culture, learn a new pattern to everyday life, understand how history and climate has shaped the attitudes of your new neighbours. Take Italy and Spain for example, where the summer heat sees folk stop for a siesta, shops close and the pace of life is taken down a notch or two. Then families go for a walk in the twilight and a lovely long evening meal together. How dreamy does that sound?
Learn a new language
Ok, if you relocate to North America, Australia or New Zealand this won’t be applicable, but if you decide to call France, Spain, Italy or Portugal home you will be perfectly placed to learn the local lingo. As well as making settling in easier, this rewarding experience will leave you with a fabulous new life skill and be the envy of your friends back home. Don’t be put off by memories of boring French lessons at school. Immersing yourself in a language where it’s the native tongue makes the learning process much easier. Learning new skills has been proven to keep your brain fit and healthy too.
Meet new people
Upping sticks and moving your life to a new country will take you out of your comfort zone. You will be forced to meet new people from different backgrounds and forge new relationships. Don’t be daunted by this; it can be character building and perhaps the most rewarding aspect of relocating. You’ll soon discover that while your beliefs and habits can differ vastly from others, these differences can be the foundation of lasting friendships.
Sample new cuisine
It’s time to trade in toad-in-the-hole for traditional local cuisine. Whether you’re cooking at home or heading out to eat, embrace the tastes of your new home. What better way to live authentically than by shopping at food markets, eating at the same restaurants as locals and trying everything at least once? Here are some of Europe’s culinary capitals for all you foodies out there: San Sebastián (Spain), home to the highest number of Michelin stars per square metre in the world; Lyon (France), home to fabulous rustic bouchons and the world-famous Les Halles food market; Bologna (Italy), birthplace of Bolognese sauce and widely considered the country’s top food destination.
Explore amazing new sights
Living abroad lets you discover your local area and the country at your own pace. You won’t have to cram in lots of stressful sightseeing like a tourist on a tight schedule. For example, if you emigrate to a country as big as Australia forget having to frantically travel thousands of miles around the country on a two week holiday. Being closer to other countries within easy reach of your new home will open the door to different holiday options too.
Own a holiday home
If moving overseas on a full-time basis isn’t practical, don’t be disheartened. Buying a holiday home in your favourite spot is a great compromise. This bolt hole in the sun, a vibrant city or on the ski slopes will provide the perfect escape from the stresses of life back home. You are still able to embrace everything on offer in your chosen destination, just on a part-time basis when it suits you. If you’re thinking of living in Europe, why not rent your property out when you’re not in residence so it practically pays for itself? Guides to buying property in Spain and other destinations contain all the essential information you need. And who knows, one day – perhaps when you retire – you could find yourself in a position to make the move permanent.