Reflecting on Cross-Continental Relocation

5 min readDec 6, 2022
Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

This is a non-technical post about my personal experience of moving my center of life across an ocean.

Disclaimer: Information in this post is from my personal experience which can be different from yours. If you decide to use this information in your relocation decisions, make it at your own discretion. I hope it can help you but I will not be hold responsible for any results.

I promised myself to capture my thoughts about relocating when I was just in the beginning of the journey. My reasons changed with time. At first, I wanted to do a kind of the friction log about my experience. Later, it meant to keep an account of the process, so I can use it if decide to do it again or asked specific questions. But I ended up just reflecting about the journey that started in August 2021 and writing up the main (IMHO) lessons learned from it.

Before continuing, I want to clarify what I call “Relocation” here. It is not moving to another district or a city few hours of driving away. Or even a couple of hours flight away. It is moving cross-ocean or continent and putting between you and people you are accustom to talk or to meet few time zones, thousand(s) dollars tickets and more than eight hours of flight. It is a very big move. It breaks not only every routine that you have in your life, but also your cultural patterns, your culinary preferences and more things. And I am speaking only about adults. If you move with your family, you “do the math”. It is big, very big decision to make.

So, I want to start with capturing two main things I am sure (now) about the relocation that are utterly super important:

Thing #1: Know your reasons

I found that justifying the move to myself was, after all, the most important part in the whole process and after it. I mean to find the reason why you are ready to break a well established life, break social and family links. Reasons or their reflections can change with time. I found that I choose mine well because remember them after few months, then half year and now almost 10 months since we moved still makes sense to me.

Find yours and make sure it is sound to you. I can share mine.

I wanted to break every day routine and experience something new. See how people live in a widely advertised and well known place on earth ‒ USA.

I did not come for “American dream”. And I did not come for economical prosperity. My actual income significantly dropped due to the move. And I did not come because the previous place was bad. However, your reasons or your ways to validate them can differ. If I were a character in The Chronicles of Amber I would live in Amber because I am a person of order. For me things to be predictable and/or organized are important. I like and need to know things. I love surprised but scare of them too. If you are a member of The Courts of Chaos then you might need a different approach to finding the justification. But I am certain you will need one for making a trip longer than few weeks. There is a legal matter about the length of your stay anyway although you can choose to ignore it.

Thing #2: Get Buy-In from Your Family

Whether you relocate alone or with your family ‒ get “buy-in” from them for this move. They might be not as much excited or motivated as you are. But they are your family and their support or consent or understanding are very much important. OK, if you are maniacal ego-centrist and misantrope you might not need it. However, I will be surprised that such a person reads this blog post. If your family comes with your they will experience the same as you but differently. I am lucky to have my job and find how to pursue some of my hobbies at the new place. Not necessary that everyone in my family will be able to do it at same ease as I did. Their support is my strength (and vise versa).

What about other things?

There are many unknows in such a move. What to do? What to take? From my experience I can tell only that each journey is very personal. For example, when I made my decision (in August ’21) and started tracking real estate in my destination location (west coast of the US) and till we moved (in April ’22) the prices went x3–x4 times. However, the time from making the decision (giving “Go” to the process) took so long because of COVID and a variety of work related things that I could not predict or being accounted to. Noone could think about war that Russia started. The expected recession could not be measured to the level we know it now. I did not know how much I will be actually paid (after very gracious promises I was given in (August and September ‘21). Same goes for things to take or things to do. For people like me, who likes predictability to some extent, I looked into what things I absolutely cannot do remotely and then I researched and prepared everything necessary to do them first thing when we arrive. Same way I did for things that could be done in remote (e.g. to open a bank account and issue checks and credit cards or getting local phone number and address for the post correspondence). For people who like to be driven by events these preparations are unnecessary but they might bring around favorite food or beverages. I found a replacement for fine Czech beer that I like but some might find it much more serious issue than it was for me.

So, what will I do now. I made a ballpark estimate (in our family counsel). We will live this adventure for a few years and taste the life in the US. Yes, it is not a comprehensive experience but we will do our best to visit as many states as we can. And then, depending on our experience, legal status, and unpredictable circumstances we will decide what to do next. Unknown is a big part of the game in this journey. You will need to embrace it. I do my best to do it…




DevRel Engineer at Google Cloud. The opinions posted here are my own, and not those of my company.