Saturday, 2 April 2011

Book Review: Should I stay or Should I Go? The truth about moving abroad and whether it’s right for you, author Paul Allen

For those of us who are already expats, the memories of making that first move may have faded but Paul Allen’s book, Should I Stay or Should I Go? is a gentle reminder of the sometimes anxiety producing moments that culminate in the decision to make the leap.  Often times the opportunity comes as a result of a job offer (as it did with my husband) but sometimes you might just be yearning for a change but don’t know where to begin. 

Allens’ book is the perfect place to start for those with the spark that hasn’t quite been ignited yet.  Or, even if you have selected your first expat destination, it helps you step back, take a deep breath and think about all the details of planning your move, taking advantage of those who have gone before you. 

Should I Stay or Should I Go? gives a broad overview of some of the most popular expat destinations to fan the flames of your imagination.  Allen is a freelance writer and journalist from England who moved to New York and then on to Spain in 2003 where he settled happily (and warmly) into expat life.  He shares his personal experiences and also brings in advice from other expats along with loads of statistical facts, interspersed with humorous, sometimes hair-raising anecdotes from expats around the world. 

He shares a selection of websites and resources for you to delve into as well, providing top tips from a slew of experts, checklists, thought-provoking and soul-searching questions.  It all leads to his main point that planning is critical along with a firm commitment to your new home.

“That initial gush of wide-eyed joy will dissipate as daily routine sets in,” says Allen.  “And, as it does, aspects of this new society will grate, so be prepared.”

In an interview he conducts with expat career coach Megan Fitzgerald, she agrees with Allen and says, “Research tells us that writing your plan and steps down, exponentially increases your chances of taking action and realizing your goals.”

Step 1: Read Should I Stay or Should I go?…I wish I had before I moved!  It would have helped a lot.

If you have any nightmare “I wish I had known” stories, feel free to comment on this blog so “newpats” can learn from all of you and avoid sinking into the same quagmire.

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