Hi Dreamer and welcome back to Motivation Monday
Today I will be sharing a story told by Dawn Melissa. An American girl with a big dream.
Dawn moved to a different country, twice. She went from the United States to the United Kingdom. After that she moved from the U.K. to Italy.
Are you curious about her story? Or most importantly, about her best tips? Keep reading, she is sharing it all with you!
Here she is, from That Former Sidekick Girl,
Hi. I’m Dawn Melissa.
I’m an American writer and Youtuber living abroad. I moved from Los Angeles to London in 2014 and lived there for three years.
Recently, I moved to Italy where I’m teaching English and raising a baby kitten called Gatto Paul.
I also write a blog called “That Former Sidekick Girl,” where I share (Mostly) True Stories and Too Much Information about travel, lifestyle, wine and personal growth.
How did I end up in Italy?
Some days I wake up and ask myself that very question. I grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Lived in New York for a while and later moved to Los Angeles. I guess I’ve always been a bit of a wanderer but once I got to Los Angeles I thought for sure that was going to be home.
I wanted to be a TV writer and actor. I’d studied film and TV production at New York University and had even gone to musical theatre school. If anyone had told me I’d totally veer off course and move to another country I would not have believed them.
But life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. I met an Italian who’d been living in London. I later married said Italian and soon after he was keen to move back to Italy. And I happily joined him.
It’s a funny thing picking up and moving to another country. It was an easy decision to make and once I’d made it there was no turning back. The process of moving wasn’t as easy though. I had to apply for a Passport and a Visa. I had to basically sell or donate most of my belongings because I wasn’t about to pay a ton of money to ship anything to the UK. Packing was arduous and tedious especially when it came to deciding what to keep and what to let go of.
But once I’d checked my bags and boarded my flight to London all the stress melted away. It was sad handing over my keys to my Los Angeles apartment and I was nervous about what living in London would be like but for the most part I was excited. This was a decision I had zero doubts about. Not only because of the Italian waiting for me on the other side of the pond but also because of the unknown adventures that lay ahead. I am someone who’s always sought out adventure and this was simply another opportunity to say, “yes” to the Universe.
What’s London like?
London was like a whole other world and I had to wrap my mind around that. I had to learn new customs and adapt to a whole new set of rules. I won’t lie, it was a complete culture shock and it certainly wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, my first couple of months in London was the scariest and dreariest I’d ever experienced.
My expectations weren’t realistic either. I went there thinking all British people are polite – not true. Everyone’s human. Everyone has a cheeky side. But no one shows cheek quite like a British person “giving it all that” with a smile. Customer service, in my experience, was dreadful. Healthcare is free, which is awesome, but again, you have to deal with subpar service and treatment.
As I mentioned, it’s a very fast-paced city. Everyone is in a rush to get…somewhere. The weather is not really the best – I no longer love the rain. Rush hour on the tube is a nightmare. And everything is more expensive than necessary.
If you’ve never been I recommend experiencing it for yourself. It’s an amazing place to visit!
And it wasn’t all bad! For the most part, I had an amazing time! Living in London pushed me be braver and more outgoing. It pushed me to work through my anxiety and depression. It gave me the opportunity to get to know myself and to get comfortable with being alone. There was always something to do so I was never bored. I loved the free museums. I loved the food. And, if I’m being totally honest, I never got tired of the British accent. It truly was a dream come true to spend time in such an amazing city.
How am I finding Italy?
I’m still getting to know this place but already I can see a massive difference. My anxiety levels are noticeably lower. The pace is much slower here. People have a much more relaxed way of living. They live well, actually. They believe in good food, family and hard work.
My advice on moving countries
It takes a lot of work to move so make sure you’re committed to it and you have a plan.
Don’t wait until the last minute to do anything – especially paperwork. I had poor time management skills and I was a procrastinator. If not for my Italian and my mom I may never have made the move!
Do your research on everything and if you can’t find the answers on your own don’t be afraid to ask for help. I joined a bunch of Facebook groups both in the UK and Italy and whenever I had a question about anything I just reached out to the group members. It made the process feel less overwhelming.
What else? Extra tip!
Ah yes, money. Save your money make sure you have a budget. You never know what unexpected expenses might creep up.
Keep in touch with friends and family back home. Meeting new people is awesome but don’t forget about those who know and love you! If you can, keep everyone updated on social media so they at least know you’re alive and happy. It also helps to try to schedule Skype calls once in awhile in case you get homesick.
The best part about living abroad is experiencing a new culture and a way of life different from your own. If you can live abroad for even a short while do it! Say “yes” to the Universe and see where it takes you.
If you have any questions or want recommendations for resources please feel free to contact me at Dawn@ThatFormersidekickGirl.com.
For more (Mostly) True Stories and Too Much Information visit http://ThatFormerSidekickGirl.com.
Ciao for now,
Connect with me!