Just over 3 months ago I pretty much just up and left Vienna, the place I had been calling home for almost 5 years.
It’s been an absolute rollercoaster to say the least.
Call me crazy but I got the opportunity to work for a great company and I took it. Luckily, that didn’t give me much time to think or second guess my decision. I quit my job, I said my goodbyes and within about six weeks I was on a one way trip to Stockholm, Sweden.
A city and a country I had never been to before.
Moving has always been a part of my life. I moved to Ireland when I was ten, to Vienna when I was eighteen and I even spent six months in Australia during my studies. So this isn’t entirely new to me, but this time round I really was going in all alone – no family, no friends, no exchange buddies – just a job.
I’ve been here just over 3 months now and with so many new impressions, new people and a whole new world of work I feel like it’s been about an age longer – that’s a good sign right?
So here’s the great and the sh*t things so far
There’s something eerie about moving somewhere where nobody knows you. No one judges you on your past, just the present and you can just – be you. You get to live where you want (given you find an apartment), choose who to hang out with…the list goes on.
A new city to explore
Stockholm is truly beautiful, and I haven’t even seen it in Spring or Summer yet. I love exploring the new areas, it’s all very exciting and living in a city is so different to going there for a weekend. You get to know where the locals go, you get to pick and choose your favourite parts. And you get to fall in love with it, slowly.
When I first arrived in Stockholm, I had no place to live. All I knew was that I was staying with a couch surfer while I search for a new place. I had to move twice in 2 months, and this was all ongoing whilst being thrown right into the deep end in a new job. Stockholm is really one of the hardest cities to find a place to live and everyone kept telling how bad the situation is. But hey, challenge accepted. I got super busy, visited every place I could – from a cat-piss-smelling apartment to a semi-creepy old guys place but ended up in an amazing apartment smack bang in the center of Stockholm. And now I’m happy it happened that way, I got to meet cool people along the way.
Your faced with the real sh*t – the good and the bad
When you leave, you truly get to know who’s close to you, who’s important and who literally doesn’t give a sh*t – and hey that’s good to know too. No seriously, I am overwhelmed with the love and support I still get from all of my friends and family even though they are not here. Without them, this would have been so much harder and coming home is always a treat. You also really start to question who you are, who you want to be in this city? And how you are gonna create a new life here? It’s deep sh*t really.
Bureaucratic paper work crap
Personal numbers, banks, getting a swedish ID – ew. Just ew. Long queues, almost months of waiting for letters in the post, that’s the nitty gritty sh*t of moving abroad, the paper work. But on the upside of things, I’m European – moving to Sweden was jolly out when you compare it to the process others go through.
Not understanding what the heck people are saying
This is super frustrating. Now don’t get me wrong, Swedish people like all speak fluent English so it’s not so bad. But not being able to communicate with people in their language is super frustrating, and I’m pretty sure they’re not as friendly to you too. But I’m on it guys, this is up to me so another challenge accepted – signed up for Swedish classes, check!
My podcast guests Simon did a great job of learning the language when he moved countries; listen to how he did that here.
People coming to visit
Because Stockholm isn’t so far away, people are coming to visit me regularly which is awesome. I love showing them around my new home.
It gets lonely
You’re in a new city, you don’t have a lot of friends – now what? Well, it’s winter time and everyone’s huddled up inside, yourself included because who the heck likes to go out when it’s dark all the time and freezing cold? Yeah sure you meet people all the time, but out of the bunch you meet, very few stick. And those few have their own lives set up. So it’s not easy and it takes time, but I can already feel it getting better and better. It takes me right back to my early days in Vienna. But now I have more of an idea and I’m a heck of a lot less daunted to go to events, to meet up with strangers and to do things I’ve never done before.
I was listening to the minimalists podcast the other day and they mentioned comfort. One thing that stuck with me was that “growth comes from a place of discomfort” and I couldn’t agree more. Doing something big like moving abroad and starting a new job is uncomfortable and sh*tty at times. But do you grow? Heck yes.
Have you moved abroad? What are your experiences? Or maybe your new in Stockholm too? Hit me up.