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Julius Mel

“The experiences I had in my previous city prepared me for a new life abroad”

I’ve wanted to live abroad for almost ten years now. Dreams of living in London, England, Dublin, Ireland, and Los Angeles, California slipped in and out of my mind over the years. For one reason or another, I would make excuses as to why I should stay in Toronto, Ontario, Canada – where I was born, raised and lived most of my life. Reasons range from already having a stable job, being in a committed romantic relationship, or being too afraid to take a big jump. Then in late 2017, I eventually met a number of expatriates who inspired me to give moving abroad the chance it deserves. If it wasn’t for those lovely people, I wouldn’t be on this exciting adventure.

Fast forward to summer 2019, I take a solo trip to Los Angeles and fall absolutely head over heels for the city. It has an energy and vibe that no city I’ve visited to date has, and I just knew I wanted to move to the city of angels.

I officially moved to LA in November 2019. It definitely hasn’t been easy. From getting credit cards, to buying a car (you’ll need a car in LA), to even doing your taxes, it all requires a lot of attention and focus. You’ll need to let go of your notions of your former country, state, or province, and adjust to a new way of living – and embrace it 100%.

While Googling tips and tricks of how to do everything mentioned above helps, so too does engaging with other expats – expats that have been in your chosen city and country for a long duration can definitely help with navigating the difficult task of adjusting to a new life. Actually, LA is a great spot to engage with expats because a lot of people are transplants, either moving from different countries or states. I very rarely encounter people that are from LA originally.

My words of advice for anyone considering becoming an expatriate, be sure that you’re ready by having lived a life full of experiences in your country of origin before deciding to move abroad. The experiences I had in my previous city prepared me for a new life abroad. It’s a challenge, a good one, that life experience and knowledge that will set the foundation for making such a big life choice. Another piece of advice is to visit the city and country you want to move to. It’s one thing Googling and watching YouTube videos, it’s another thing to live and breathe the city in the physical. Spend as long as you can exploring the city. Do things you would normally do. If you’re a concert-goer, visit a live show. If you love bar hopping, check out the bar scene. If you’re a beach bum, spend a night on the shores.

What I wish I had known about LA before moving here is more insight into the various laws, fees, and regulations when it comes to vehicle ownership. If I could do it differently, I would spend significant time researching the city’s policies and rules before fully jumping into living here. I’ve had to learn on the go and while being adaptable helps, it can get confusing really quickly. 

As awesome and revitalizing being an expat can be, it isn’t without its difficulties. It can get lonely and isolating. If you have family and friends in different time zones, this can make it even harder. Adjusting to a new life takes time too, it’s not going to happen overnight, so adjusting to that weighs on one’s mentality significantly. But if you have the right network of people, or family, around you that you can reach out to and connect with, it will make the transition loads easier.

The people you have back home are lovely, but if you don’t make new friends in your new city, it’s going to be very difficult to enjoy your new life. So, I challenge you to get out there and meet new people!

Follow more of Julius’ adventures at juliusxx.ca.