“5 Ways I Prepared My Move Abroad”

Many people have asked me since I have moved abroad how I made the decision to make this huge life change, why Italy, and how I can afford to stay.

After my emotional roller coaster of the past year and many things coming to an end, I wanted a change, a fresh start and to pursue something I have always dreamt of, but never had the chance to before. It wasn’t a question at all in my mind if I would move to Europe (I knew I would at some point) and I couldn’t think of any better place that I more desired to be than in ITALIA! I was set on living the Italian life for as long as possible. Somehow. I made the mental decision long before making my actual plans and booking tickets, but I knew that once I decided it was what I wanted, I would find a way to get there.

1. Pull together as much money as possible!

For starters, I had a ton of stuff just stored away for “someday” and I didn’t want to worry about it anymore let alone pay for storage. I did some serious downgrading, cleaned out everything and had a yard sale. I was sad to say goodbye to many of my former rental company items but I knew that every item I sold would get me one step closer to Italy. I was obviously very motivated! To give a few financial details, that yard sale sold close to two thousand which gave me a nice, comfy cushion and head start to get things moving! I also already had some money saved, sold my car, worked odd jobs in the evenings as well as full time during the week.

Colosseum – Rome, Italy

2. Condense bills and cut back on unnecessary expenses.

I am so fortunate and blessed to have a generous family because in order to save money and get on my feet, I chose to live with my sister and brother-in-law and really save throughout the year. I also took out a few monthly bills that I could live without just to save a few extra dollars each month (it makes a difference!). I didn’t spend much during the week and only bought what felt absolutely necessary for my travel (although let’s be honest, I never even once considered cutting out a daily trip to my favorite local coffee shops. I just couldn’t…).  I didn’t know how long I would be gone exactly, but better to prepare for more than less!

Ospedaletti in the Liguria region

Skiing in the Italian Alps in Sestiere near the border of France.

3. Research your options to stay long term.

Since I knew I wanted to move and stay, I thought of my best possible options. I knew there were multiple programs to join. I looked into Greenheart Travel which places you in a school to teach English or private English tutoring and arranges your room and board. This sounded interesting and appealing to my education and experience; however, I knew that if I wanted to stay I couldn’t spend money on program fees. I needed to go for a plan that paid even a little so my money could stretch out for several months and give me room to travel in between. So after much research, the best option for me was to Au Pair and teach English. It is the perfect setup! It allowed me to stay here several months and gave me just enough money each week to travel around and save a little. It also took care of my housing situation and I didn’t have to go through all the trouble of finding a place and paying house bills.


Big Ben in London


Westminster Abbey

4. Book the ticket…no take backs.

Once I had settled on where to move, what to do, and had a good amount of money to get me going, I finally booked my plane ticket! This was the most nerve racking but exciting moment of my life! I wanted to buy in advance before prices were raised and I didn’t want to have any reason to change my mind. If I had my ticket, there was no going back. I had saved Venture Capitol One Credit Card miles for a “rainy travel day” and used those to purchase which saved me a lot in the end.

The Louvre in Paris

Scariest moment of my life!

Notre Dame

Artists waiting for their next muse.

5. Set your plans.

This was the most difficult for me because my personality wants to be adventurous and spontaneous and not worry about what is or isn’t organized. But practically, I needed to budget out my time abroad and decide what is feasible. Though I didn’t originally plan to Au Pair and teach  English as long as I have, it allowed me to accomplish my goal of living abroad and traveling during my free time. Now, even after a few months living in Italy, I still have just enough still saved to get a few months of travel in and I couldn’t be more excited!

Oh Paris…

My plans for the future are still in  the “development” stage and I will share more soon but for the next few months  living as a nomad is just what I want. Check!

Ruins in Pompeii


If you are someone who has always wanted to travel and move internationally, I honestly believe that if you are single, have the freedom to change jobs (or perhaps if you are unhappy with your current position) or have been wanting to move but haven’t ever felt the boldness to actually decide, then I say do it! I can’t say my plan is for everyone and tell you “HOW TO” because your situation will be unique, but as the saying goes, “if there is a will, there is a way!” My will pulled me through and because of it I have gained lifelong connections and friends, grown personally, seen magnificent places, eaten the most amazing foods, learned a little of the Italian language, and gained experience teaching English as a foreign language. I can’t say I can complain!

Steam rising from Mount Vesuvius.


Con Tanto Amore,





  1. Ryan H.

    March 29, 2017 at 11:13 AM

    Well said and great advice Emily! I didn’t know that you went skiing in the Italian Alps! Great pics too!

  2. Alicia Butler

    July 29, 2017 at 5:01 AM

    Great advice and insight! I’m planning on living abroad part-time next year and love these success stories!

    1. Emily

      August 3, 2017 at 4:06 AM

      Thank you so much, Alicia! Glad to help. Let me know if you have any questions for me! 🙂

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