You dreamt of landing that job abroad. You imagined your new life in a beautiful country, typing on your laptop as the sun sets over the ocean, money being made remotely while you explore the world. You've become an Expat. An American living in a foreign country, the adventurer.
Meanwhile, back stateside, your belongings that you left behind for an undetermined amount of time sit in a storage unit collecting dust & burning through your American dollars like children tear open gifts on Christmas morning, fast & with abandon. I'm on a mission to help people stop relying on storage units or even family & friends while they become globetrotters. It isn't worth the money or the stress. I work with a lot of people that have storage units & live in the U.S. As I've organized I keep coming across stories of storage unit strife of not just Americans still here but of Expats that have moved. Here's a couple I've collected to share with you but I do have more. They motivate me to find Expats to help before they move so they can downsize while making good decisions.
One woman living in Italy originally from Colorado shared with me that after 4 years living abroad her now mouse infested mattresses were still sitting in her Colorado storage unit. The last time she was in America she opened it up, saw the damage my #1 nemesis in the organizing world had made, turned around, shut the door to the unit & left for Italy again. It was too overwhelming for her to deal with at the time, especially alone. She was relieved to learn that Professional Organizers exist & can assist in this realm.
An expat living in Chile & I talked & he shared with me that his storage unit in Las Vegas was broken into before he even left. The lock was cut & information that led to identity theft was stolen. This resulted in 20 credit cards & 40 accounts being opened in his name & money from his account being withdrawn resulting in an over draft of his account. He had to navigate the hassle of filing a police report from the U.S. Embassy. Needless to say, it was a rough start to his dream move but his perseverance & sense of humor got him through it.
I have heard many more stories along these lines & I don't want you to end up with your own Storage Unit Story of Strife.
So what can be done about it before you go? You can work with me on my 3 Phase Process either in person or remotely. I'll guide you through my process helping you purge to the point where you either don't need a storage unit at all or the amount is so minimal you can easily store it with a trusted family member or friend. If your company pays for anything & everything you want to keep to make the trip my process will make moving into your new space abroad less stressful because it will be only what you Need, Use & Love welcoming you on the other side. Whether you're leaving with just a backpack or your entire household it makes the most sense to organize before you take flight. It will be a healing process, save you money & time & lower stress. Above all you'll avoid a Storage Unit Story of Strife.
In addition, here's some Top Expat Tips to consider before you go:
1. From my friend in Chile: Be a minimalist while you travel. My advice along the same lines: Pack light, live large. It's worth the honest conversation about what you truly Need, Use & Love.
2. From my friend in Chile: Keep your homeowner or renter's insurance to cover your storage unit if you end up having to use one.
3. My advice: Don't let a storage unit that's an ocean away affect you from another continent. I know what daunting organizing projects do to people. Cut the clutter & enjoy your time abroad so that you don't dread the day you return to face it. Even if you use a storage unit don't store trash, only your treasures.
If the call to travel is one you can hear I hope you do it soon. There is nothing more satisfying than exploring the unknown, searching for hidden spots the locals love & learning a new way of life. Letting go of unwanted items instead of storing them will feel so good. I know you can do it.
In 2002 & 2003 I traveled to Mexico & Belize to visit an Expat. I loved both countries but Mexico stole my heart. I can't wait to go back. Here's a few of my favorite shots I took on a 35 mm I borrowed on my way to the airport, pre switching to digital. The 1st is our campsite on the Atlantic Ocean in Playa del Carmen, Mexico on the drive to Belize. That tent later served as my home for a month & a half while building a house...another story for another day. The 2nd is in Rio Nexpa, Michoacán, Mexico ~ a surfer's paradise on the West Coast along the Pacific Ocean. The 3rd is a bicyclist in Corozal Town, Belize. I was young, a senior in college & ready to travel.
“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” ― Rumi