Four Reasons to Move Overseas for a Year (Taiwan)
Are you thinking about moving overseas? Wondering if you’re crazy or if it’s the right move? We did it and it was the best move. However, it can be tough to make the jump if you don’t have the right reasons in mind. Especially when you get a lot of questions from people about your decision. In case others are thinking about doing the same, we thought we’d summarize our top four reasons to move overseas for a year.
When we decided we would depart from our beautiful, sunny home in the middle of America to a rainy, steamy, tropical island off the coast of China (aka Taiwan), we couldn’t have been more thrilled for the experience! As we prepared for the journey ahead, we received a fair share of curiosity coming in the form of questions such as:
“Why are you moving overseas?”
“How long are you staying?”
and simply, “WTF?”
All three were valid questions.
1. To Get Out of Our Comfort Zone
We both lived in Denver for over 5 years. And while Colorado is an absolutely gorgeous area with the friendliest of people, it’s also a very safe and comfortable place for us to live. We have family close by (literally down the street). We have (*had) steady jobs. We’re surrounded by people that look and act similar to us. And that’s all great! But for our aspirations, it all ends up being a little too predictable. Caryn and I have developed a shared foundational pride in the un-tradition. We constantly check-in with each other to ensure all of our decisions are truly what WE want to do and not just what society and American culture tell us to do. So with that tradition of un-tradition, we were hoping this move overseas to Taiwan would mix up our environment, challenge our inner thoughts and help us both develop stronger minds.
2. To Start Our Own Businesses and Work Freelance
It’s not easy to quit your job. Jobs provide us so much security and comfort in our lives that it’s somewhat terrifying to walk away from a bi-weekly paycheck, 401k and free office cupcakes. Caryn and I have constantly verbalized our goal to have jobs that we can do from anywhere in the world. Moving overseas would give us that push we needed to finally take the chance. Caryn took the first plunge leaving her job in spring before we left. She left on great terms and started her own independent consulting practice, Water Bear Learning. The day she left was the day she signed her first independent client. BOOM! After months of working toward her goal, she finally took the risk and it worked out great. For me, I’d been sharpening my video production and editing skills for many years and planned to take on freelance contract projects that I could also complete from anywhere. In addition, I received a scholarship to complete an international Master’s program in Learning and Instruction in Taiwan.
We also challenged ourselves to reduce the number of ‘things’ we possessed. As we prepared for the trip, we sold or gave away almost everything we owned: books, couches, blenders, artwork, clothing. United Airlines allows each international passenger two 50 lb. bags and our goal was to fit our entire lives within those limits.
3. To Reduce the Amount of Things We Own
We were already focusing on minimizing the ‘things’ in our lives, watching eye-opening documentaries like ‘The Minimalists’. In addition, we were taking mindfulness training and learning how to be more present and concentrate on what we do have rather than needing more. We decided moving overseas was a great way to take this to the next level. Although many people recommended that we get a storage unit to keep our items in case we moved home, we decided to sell or give away everything we owned. Well, except for two suitcases at the 50 lb. limit each that United required. We could have kept everything, but that may have influenced future decisions and did we really need all of those items filling up our cabinets and rooms ‘just because’?.
3. To Learn About a New Culture
Caryn and I are both firm believers of lifelong learning. We wanted to expand our minds and viewpoints to learn about new customs, new cultures, new types of food, etc. Taiwan specifically popped up to the top due to their international scholarship options. I received a scholarship to complete a Master’s program in Learning and Instruction at the National Taipei University of Education. This is a two-year program with students coming from all over the world. I was really looking forward to being in a student mindset again and absorbing not only the material taught in the textbook but also learning from the variety of individuals around the globe I will get to interact with.
Caryn wanted to learn a lot more about the large vegan and plant-based community in Taiwan to enhance and add to her plant-based knowledge. She planned to bring these ideas into her food blog, Veggie Campus. Caryn and I both hoped to increase our knowledge of mindfulness and appreciation of new cultures and ideas. We planned to push ourselves to join local communities and groups that are outside of our comfort zone to fully immerse ourselves in fresh ideas and customs. Our ultimate goal was to use our own learnings to help others in some way. Whether through nutrition education, music education, volunteering locally in Taipei and beyond, we hoped to contribute more of our time toward a greater good for people.
4. To Travel
Well, you probably guessed that one. Taiwan is a pretty little island in East Asia and is the perfect location for traveling throughout Asia. We planned our Northern Vietnam backpacking trek and beach trip before we even left for Taiwan. Look out for some more details on that soon! Other locations that have been on our mind are Japan, Singapore, and Myanmar. Our good friends were moving to Myanmar around the same time and we were excited check out their new home!
*So much has happened since this post was written. Follow along for more to come about our time in Taiwan, our travels throughout Asia, and how we maintain our wholistic lifestyle.