I arrived on Guam in the early 1990s with emergency cash, documents and an advanced shipment of necessary belongings. Unfortunately, an 8.2 earthquake destroyed my hotel and damaged the unloading docks, leaving me – at least temporarily – with just a rental car and the clothes on my back. Clearly, it was time to reevaluate my settling-in strategy.
Even under normal circumstances, unfurling in a new location requires more than just a simple unpacking strategy. Here are our top tips.
Check out international organizations that offer networking opportunities to global travelers. For example, Hash House Harriers, an international running club formed in the late 1930s, has chapters all over the world, including Guam, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. Meetup.com allows individuals of any interest category to connect throughout the United States. In Kuwait, there are both Canadian and American citizens groups, as well as a French language association. Nora Dunn – aka The Professional Hobo – is a member of Rotary International, a global service organization that not only provides her with immediate opportunities for service, but an instant network of local contacts that are happy to help a newbie.
During international moves, an ironing board, French press and chairs rank high on my must-have list. Other seasoned travelers with special needs or diets ease the pain of relocation by traveling with back-up supplies of medicine, medical equipment and cooking supplies. Donna Frose, an international teacher whose career has taken her to the U.A.E., Singapore, Kuwait and Ecuador, has a different set of priorities. Arriving with one set of bed linens and a pillow, she immediately searches out a couch, membership in the local Canadian Women’s League chapter and the nearest diet cola supply.
Photo Credit: Joe Beone