• I Am Sam.

Essential questions to ask yourself before moving

There’s never a right or wrong time to move. I have found that in most cases, people have had to leave because of circumstances that pushed them to. I have come up with some questions that I found myself pondering on before I finally decided to get up and go. Maybe this will help you out in making that big decision.


Why are you leaving? What is your main goal?


Before I left the Philippines, I asked a few of my friends that were working abroad what made them finally decide to get on the plane. A lot of them said they left because they had to. Many of them had responsibilities back home - children, parents, bills - that they had to pay for and quite frankly, the jobs in the Philippines just couldn’t sustain what they had to provide. I don’t think this problem is limited to just the Philippines; I bet this is the reality in many countries. Even when I talk to a lot of people here in Iraq, many of them say it’s because they needed the money for people back home. And I can fully understand that reason - it just isn’t mine.

Me on my first solo trip in Hong Kong Disneyland

My problem was never not being able to help my family. I was blessed enough to never really have any financial responsibilities outside of my own. I did however, spend most of my life putting people before myself in other ways. I'll talk more about this later, but one day it clicked. I woke up and realised it was time I did something for myself. After so many years of being taken advantage of for being too nice, I needed to learn to be selfish. I needed to do something for me. This became my goal.


What's stopping you?


Like I said above, I have always been the type to worry about others over myself. I would put their emotional needs before mine, and the problem with being that way is it was so easy for me to find someone to want to help, or take care of. Essentially what I realise now is it was my way of copping out on myself. I was too afraid of being on my own that I used to make other people my excuse. “I can’t leave because my sister needs me, I can’t leave because then who’s going to help my mum with her store, I can’t leave because I don’t think my current relationship can withstand the long distance.” Excuses.


The only thing that was stopping me from leaving was myself. There was so much self doubt on whether I could survive on my own that I would stop myself from moving forward. I was making myself stuck. No one else. So think about this. If you've thought about leaving before, obviously it's something you've been considering, why haven't you made the move already? Is the reason a legitimate one, have you really researched your options to address these reasons, or are you just like me and trying to come up with excuses to stay?


Can you step out of your comfort zone? Are you ready for what might be tough times to achieve your goal?


To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but I had gotten to that point in my life where I knew if I didn’t leave, there was a big chance that I wouldn’t leave at all. So I suppose for me, I made moving my only option. I think we’re afraid to venture out of our safe zone - that comfort zone. Sometimes we’ll take a step out, but leave a foot in the door because we’re afraid to fail. If you keep thinking you have a fallback, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to back out, you're failing before you even begin. If you make it your only option, then that’s it, you’ll have to leave. Does that make any sense?

Me leaving gave me the confidence to start traveling the world on my own (taken at the Arc de Triomf in Spain)

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that you should just pack your bags and leave without a plan in mind. Don't be completely irrational. But I have always believed that people will do amazing things if they have to. That whole “if there’s a will, there’s a way”. For example, my mother. There have been times where we’ve struggled financially, and when I say struggle, I mean we were close to losing our house, our car, everything. But even if that was the case, she always managed to come up with ways to help us get by. We didn’t lose our house. We still have our car. I was able to graduate. My sister is still in school, and pretty much on track. She made sure we had something to eat, even if it was sometimes just eggs and rice. I think you get my point. People will come up with ways to survive if they really need to. Make sure you're in the right mindset before you leave.


Set that goal, focus on it, and take action. Stop making excuses, you’re only hindering yourself from reaching your full potential. Remember, baby steps. First, can you step out of your comfort zone? Are you ready for what might be tough times to achieve your goal? Second, how badly do you really want it? What has really been stopping you from taking that leap? And third, remember, it’s okay to be scared. Come up with a plan. I was nearly shitting myself when I got off the plane in Baghdad, but life isn’t meant to be easy, and sometimes you have to go through the storms to see the rainbow at the end. It’ll be worth it in the end. Go for progress, not perfection. Start asking yourself the important questions.

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