WORDS by Kieran Morrissey

So you've decided to pack up your life and head overseas on a working holiday. There really is nothing like living and working in another country to really get the full cultural experience. But before you're dreaming of having after works drinks in that cosy London pub, you need to basically terminate your life in your country of origin.

Now that might sound a little daunting but apart from your old bedroom at your parent's house, everything else is going to have changed by the time you get back, including maybe your friends. So follow our simple checklist to make sure you leave for your adventure feeling a sense of freedom rather then being tied back down.

1. Make set goals

For some people, an extended OS trip will probably be the one decent chance you get to live abroad so make the most of it and set some real goals for the time you're away. If you're using your time in another country to springboard to all the close neighbours then get your map out and circle the real sights you need to see before heading home. If you're wanting to travel to meet all the wonderful people in the world, make it a goal to make 3 lifelong friends over there.

2. Make sure you have enough mulah

Love it or hate it, money does actually make the world go round, or in your case, make you go around the world. Flights and visas are expensive, and so is that first week (or month) trying to set yourself up in a new home and with a new wardrobe. So well before you start trying to score cheap flights, grab that pen and paper and work out exactly what you're going to need along the way and how much it's going to cost. Check the exchange rate of where you're heading and easily save up enough money to live off for a few months. And if there's any big things on your goals list, include them too and book them early to save.

3. Give, sell, chuck or store your heart away

Now unless you've converted to Buddhism, chances are that over the years you've collected a whole lot of crap that you actually don't need anymore. So be prepared to be brutal in clearing it all out. Work out what you're taking which should be the basics, what you want to really keep and store away, and what you could sell to help improve your travel bank account. Get that eBay account flowing with the stuff people would actually buy, Gumtree the big furniture pieces, and hold a garage sale or market stall for all the rest of the crap. And just remember that 2 years from now, everything you own will be out of fashion so just get rid of it.

4. Cancel all necessary accounts

This one might take a bit of time, but you don’t want to come home on a high to find out that you’ve accumulated 2 years’ worth of monthly bank fees, as a debt, which got sold to a creditor, and you now have a mark on your credit file. Chances are a bank account won’t stay open if there’s no activity on it for over 6 months. So either log in to your internet banking and put $10 in there from time to time or just close it down altogether. If you’ve moved out of your house, cancel the internet, gas, electricity, and even get your post redirected to another address for a month or 2 just to make sure you don’t miss a parking fine. Oh, and let the stupid electoral office know you’re overseas otherwise you could get fined for not voting in your all-important local council election.

5. Get your CV looking sharp

Just as important as your passport, the humble CV will be your access to all the riches and glory of a new job in your chosen country. Maybe not all the riches but hopefully enough to fund your OS adventure. Spend a bit of time researching how CV’s are usually presented in your country of destination and then get to work fixing it up. Get the right balance between your real experiences and tangible skills but also add a dash of flair to stand out from the crowd. One thing that hinders the international worker in applying from outside the county is no local address or phone number. My suggestion? Fake them. It’ll look like you’re already there and chances are they’ll email first anyway.

6. Pre-make a rental ad

What’s more daunting then finding a job in a new county will be finding a new home. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a rich uncle that has a spare Chateau in the south of France, chances are you’ll be looking for a cosy studio or a spare room to shack up with. In this day and age, everything’s online and every county has there Gumtree of sorts to advertise spare rooms. And in a competitive market you need to stand out to score yourself some nice digs. Get a good profile photo, try to make yourself sound friendly, not an asshole, and start looking for your home away from home. Watch out for the scam ads. Yes, $200 a month for a one bed apartment in Times Square is too good to be true.

7. Do the last of everything

By now you’ve pretty much got everything sorted and it’s time to get excited about your new adventure. But wait, you’re not going to see your friends or family for ages, or your favourite café might close down, and you can’t go for a swim at the beach in the middle of the Canadian Rockies. Well, while you’re still here it’s time to get out and enjoy those things one last time. Plan a day of all your favourite activities and people to see and make it happen. Then at least when you’re missing them overseas, you’ll have that one great day to remember them all by.

8. Pre-plan your first week abroad

Stepping off that plane in your new home will be a whirlwind of emotions and excitement, oh the possibilities that wait. But wait, you’ve got shit to do, find a home, find a job, get your new bank account, make friends. The list goes on. So for your first week at least, have a bit of an itinerary. Know where you’re staying for the first week, friends, hotel, or hostel. Then plan each day out to get some of those boring things done but also to enjoy this absolute moment of freedom.

9. Say goodbye to your family and friends

Now the bloody sad part. Your mum, and maybe even your dad, will embarrass you with blubbering tears if you leave your goodbyes until the airport. So plan a nice casual get together at home or at the park for a BBQ and farewell your friends and family in true Aussie style. Nothing special, just take the time to be in each other’s company because it could be a good long while before you see each other again. And talk up your trip like it’s the best thing in the world to maybe convince some of them to come visit once you’re gone.

10. Get excited

This one’s easy. All the hard stuffs done. You might only get one chance, or one visa, for a working holiday in your life. Think of the places you’ll see, the people you’ll meet, the things you’ll do, that you could have never have done by staying at home. It will be freedom like you’ve never experienced before and it will be everything you dreamed.

Where in the world would you most like to live and work abroad?

Image Credit via: Tumblr

WORDS BY:  Kieran Morrissey

Kieran is a Civil Engineer who relies on good ol’ fashioned hard yakka and a dash of good manners to get sh*t done. He enjoys keeping up with current affairs by reading the paper on a Sunday from cover-to-cover.