Monday, March 13th, 2017

My Research Protocol For Moving Abroad

by Kristen Suzanne in Expat, family, travel

I want to travel the world. Worldschool.

The Process
A short while back I wrote that the light bulb went on for me, with respect to having the freedom to up and move abroad, after reading the book, Global Student. Suddenly, it started coming together as a reality. We could really do this. We can move abroad and travel the world. For as long as we want.
That reality, back then, meant that our time was T-18 months before moving. (It’s now about 15 months.)
Having 18 months to plan this adventure of digital nomadism and expat life is proving to be extremely helpful. We have tons of time to:
  • Research possible locations.
  • Get passports, banking, and things of the like taken care of.
  • Take in every present moment right where we are, Carefree (AZ) which we love.
Once the idea hit us about moving and we had a target date of June 2018, I started with Pinterest.
From Pinterest I found hundreds of articles for different destinations that I could later dive into for research. I spent a few nights… Pin Pin Pin Pin. I created boards for Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand… of which later I created more specific boards: Mallorca, Tulum, Italy, France, Portugal, etc.
It was super fun. Here’s one of my favorite pictures I found on Pinterest. (source:

That sums it up for me. I’m going there.

Once I had my Pinterest boards figured out, each with plenty of Pins, I checked the various articles linked from them. That started a deeper dive.
It wasn’t long before it started to become overwhelming and I wanted a better way to organize it. Therefore, I chose to create notes in Evernote to keep it clean and handy. At first I had a Master list of regions with corresponding links to research later. It was one whole list of possible destinations with whatever links I thought might be interesting for each place. I set it all up to research at a later date (which I’ve since done) – deleting and adding destinations as I learned more.
From there, I added lists with links for things like:
  • packing lists
  • airfare sites and tips
  • expat experts
  • travel visa info
  • digital nomadism
  • technology for travel 
  • travel with kids
  • housesitting
  • rewards credit cards
  • travel insurance
Through my internet research, I learned of some great travel books and read a few with respect to saving money, traveling with kids, and housesitting. I even bought a book (couldn’t find it at the library!), The Art of Risk, which I’m hoping encourages me to push beyond my comfort zone. That will be helpful living abroad.

She’s a great travel writer and blogger.

Google Alerts!
I also set up google alerts of different towns/regions so I can get more familiar with them, including any potential safety issues. For example, we had Playa on our list for Mexico, but late last year there was some violence that caused me to keep an eye on the area over the next 15 months. I also learned about a supposedly amazing place for pizza in Oaxaca using Google Alerts, so there ya go.
Both Greg and I are listening to podcasts of expats and digital nomads. It’s nice hearing the real life stories of people doing exactly what we plan to do.
For the first couple months I spent all of my spare time doing this research. After narrowing down our immediate destinations (looks like Mexico first and then Portugal or Italy), I’m able to look deeper in those areas and hold off on the other places. Side note: crazy awesome story is it looks like I’m eligible for Italian citizenship which would be game-changing for us.

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