Why make the big move? Adventure or career?

In the middle of the move

Thomas is contemplating the adventure of yet another big move.

Big move, but why?

Good question. Why? Why make the big move abroad? Why uproot yourself and your family? Why take the risk? These are good questions to ask yourself (and your family in case you’re not alone). Needless to say, it’d be best to have a clear answer before the beginning of an expat experience, but better late than never – so even as a seasoned expat it’s never too late or useless to ask these questions. For me it was a mix of career choice and adventure.


Some may say it was an escape from the daily rut, and there may be some truth to that. However, there was an element of necessity as well to our first big move. In my field (astrophysics) most people do several 1-2 year postdoctoral stays after their Ph.D before they can even hope of securing longer-term employment. I applied for and got a 4-year Fellowship with ESO in Chile. Now, getting a contract that will allow you to stay in the same place for four years is very good. That was one attraction. And of course, the job was well paid. The financial benefits were also a factor – there’s no denying it!


Adventure was another factor. Living in a mild climate, close to some of the most breathtaking natural scenery the world has to offer was a huge attraction to me. We had already “rehearsed” the big move by going abroad for shorter stays together, as we wrote about earlier. These had all been very good experiences, so we felt ready for the real big move to a new country and a very different culture.

Big move – big decision

Moving abroad is a big decision. The contemplation can cause significant stress and anxiety, but also excitement and anticipation. We were fortunate to be able to take small incremental steps before finally making the big move. But the most important factor to success is to make it clear why you’ll be moving, knowing honestly what’s motivating you, what’s the big idea behind the big move. Is it financial benefits, adventure, career ambitions, pampered living, or something else? And if you’ll move your family, what’s motivating them to make the big move?
Have you made the big move, or are you considering? What motivated you, and how did you reach your decision? Or: what’s holding you back? Please let us know in the comments below.

— Nana & Thomas

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3 Responses to Why make the big move? Adventure or career?

  1. The Romos says:

    It’s all about the adventure!….I don’t know if there is life after death, or if there is reincarnation, so as far as I’m concerned you only get one shot at life, so might as well make the best out of it!…the planet is too big not to explore it…..I left my home town in Mexico because it grew too small for me (not in population mind you), moved to Tucson, lived in the Biosphere, a great experience, then Tucson grew too small for us, so we decided to try a place with a better lifestyle for us and the girls, that’s how we came about Hilo. In every place I’ve been I’ve met wonderful people, wonderful cultures, and lifestyles, to me, that’s what is all about…..

  2. Nana says:

    Thanks, Rodrigo! Your vision sounds similar to ours: you take something good with you from each single place. We never really left a place because we just wanted to get out of there, but rather because something else was waiting ahead … having said that, I have to admit that there also might have been one or two places that “grew too small”, as you put it 😉

    Ok, I’ll explain more in my own blogpost, written from the “spouse view”. The choice to leave is not always your own … .

  3. Ian Røpke says:

    Her er også bidrag til diskussionen af, hvorfor man skal flytte:


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