Cows on the airport runway. Mountains of chicken feet for sale. That elegant woman in a white fur coat, hocking up a huge loogie on the steps of the bank.
In my early twenties, I thought it’d be a great idea to move to China.
I didn’t care where in China. Rural, urban, what did it matter? I slapped my name on a list of international English teachers and hopped on a plane. The organization could place me wherever it wanted. I was sure it would be fine.
Later, I learned that some remote towns in China are truly beautiful. Mine just happened to come with fly-infested chicken feet and a robust public-spitting tradition.
Relocating is an adventure. Some adventures leave you pumped and ready for more. Others leave you bedridden with a severe case of malaria. If relocation is on your horizon, we’ve got 5 hard-earned secrets that will keep you “malaria-free” for the big move.
Scope it out
Research your new area before you commit to anything. Scour online blogs and newspapers. Start an RSS feed about it to stay up to speed. If you’re not already moving for work, make sure the job market is a good fit for your career. And online research is an amazing tool, but there’s no substitute for an in-person visit prior to packing up your hundred-and-one moving boxes, if you can swing it.
Map the plan
Fun fact: a lesser-known synonym for “relocation” is “chaos.” Even if you’re the type who likes to wing it, nail down a few basics first. “Is there enough money in my checking account to make this happen?” and “Where am I going to crash when I get there?” for example, are relocation questions that come highly recommended.
Pull some strings
Your social network may stretch further than you think. If you know people who already live in your new area, get in touch with them and pick their brains. If you don’t know anyone, ask your friends if they know people who do. The fifty networks of your fifty friends working together are bound to turn up something. And even if they don’t, you’re still not out of options. Contact your alma mater for a list of graduates who live there, or make new friends from the area through online platforms like Twitter.
Hunt for home
Buying a house when you get there? You’ve got some extra research to do. Search online to figure out which neighborhoods are winners and which are duds. You can even contact a real estate agent from the area ahead of time to get a more detailed lay of the land.
Stay on your toes
Let’s face it: even the best plans come with surprises. Be flexible. Stay positive. If people try to sell you chicken feet, think of the health benefits. Remember, this is an adventure. Live it up.