There’s a phrase that has stuck in my mind for the past few years.
A couple of years ago, I was chatting with my English friend. He told me he was moving out of London and heading north to England. When I asked if it was for work, he simply said, “No, I’m moving there for life.”
He was an active and outgoing man who loved the outdoors. We first met in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador about ten years ago when I was a student. Although we initially crossed paths on a short cruise in the Galapagos Islands, we became good friends. He had a good job in London, but he left it for the North. I didn’t quite understand what he did for work or how he was making a living there, but he seemed to be truly living his life and enjoying it.
Never thought that would come to me – but I’m moving out from Japan to Canada, for life. I’m moving to Vancouver, Canada pretty soon, in a month. Not many connections, no jobs lined up, but I do have accommodation to stay. My partner has already moved for study, so I’m entering on a spouse visa. Canada has very generous visa requirements compared to the US, which is part of the reason we chose to move to Canada.
We visited Vancouver to check it out one year ago, and we quite liked it. But it didn’t have to be Canada; it didn’t have to be Vancouver. We simply wanted to move out from Japan, where we’ve spent the last 30ish years, to explore somewhere, probably in the West, the US, or Europe. And then it happened to be Vancouver, Canada.
I’ve been in Japan for almost 30 years, except for 2 years in Germany during childhood, but apart from that, I’ve always been based in Japan. I’ve had several short overseas stays, ranging from two to six months. Two months in Burkina Faso, two months in Paris, six months in Boston, and four months in Australia and Austria (I quite like “Aust-“ thing).
I can confidently say that I’m pretty good at making the most of two to six months short-term stays – maybe even able to draft a document about it.
But except for my two years in Germany as a 5-year-old, I haven’t lived overseas for more than a year. The difference between two to six months and 1+ year is. – you know two to six months you can kind of like, you know make new friends and keep drinking and traveling which is exactly what I did in every short term stay.
It’s an unusual life. But when you live somewhere for over one year, that unusual life becomes your usual life, and I don’t know, as of now, if I’ll like it. I’ve loved my life in Tokyo, and I still do. It’s true that I’ve started to feel a bit of repetitiveness, but it’s still fun. Maybe I will miss it and come back soon, but I don’t know yet.
So, I need to give it a shot. That’s why we’re moving to Canada. We’ve been discussing this for years, so it’s not a sudden decision for us. Honestly – it’s my partner that made more proactive move including making assessments on which country to go (from 🇺🇸🇨🇦🇦🇺🇬🇧🇩🇪🇫🇷) researching visa requirement or other conditions, looking for school etc. All I did so far is a) book a flight and b) tell my boss to quit the job. Maybe this is the minimum requirement to change your location.. C’est la vie.
My partner already moved and started to study there. Her school is for two years. So at least I’m going to stay there for two years. But for me – not planned yet. First time since I started working 10 years ago, I’m kind of completely blank except for some break between jobs. I’m thinking that I would force myself for at least three months not to pursue another job. My savings are not huge, but something. It may be similar to a startup trying to reduce the burn rate and make the runway longer.. the current plan is to try to have a 30 month runway with (hopefully) having a not too fancy lifestyle and making some money somehow.
Maybe I’ll get bored with a jobless life and start looking for a job within a week. Maybe I’ll embrace the jobless life so much that I never return to the corporate world. In Tokyo, we had double incomes (my partner and I) with relatively good pay, and now it’s going to be zero! Ha!
I don’t know what I’ll be saying in a month or two, but right now, I’m fully excited about the move. Quite honestly, even if I don’t do anything for two years in Canada, it might add another interesting spice to my life (please do hire me then!).