A token of appreciation #1

When I decided that I wanted to have a ‘token of appreciation’ feature on my blog, I created a list of people that I knew I could dedicate a post to and hopefully at some point they will all have one. However, I wanted to write this first one about not just a person, but also her blog.

When I first started applying for jobs abroad and particularly in Vienna, I thought I would have it all together. I had been on exchange, so this was just an extended version of the same thing right? I was quietly confident I would be okay when it came to moving abroad when I was offered a job here in Vienna. At first I was incredibly excited, calling all my close friends and family to let them know, but then my old friend anxiety crept in. How the bloody hell was I supposed to move to another city that I did not know? Yes, I had gone all the way to Canada, but that had caused quite the anxiety when it came to getting to know people and this was mainly in classes with people my own age (and they all spoke English!) How was I supposed to get to know anyone in Vienna? How was I supposed to converse with the locals? Then of course there was the secondary panic of what documentation I would need. I was an EU citizen, yes, but I had never moved to another country on my own before (then throw Brexit into the equation and I became a quivering wreck!)

So, I started to research into tips for relocating to another country and any information I could about moving to Vienna and Austria. There are lots of great expat websites such as Expatsblog, ExpatExchange and Expat.com that I used, but I also wanted to find personal stories of people moving abroad and specifically those who moved to Austria, for any advice they could give me having been in a similar position. So I started searching for Austrian blogs and in doing so I came across Austrian Adaptation. The wonderful woman behind it is Carly Hulls and I can imagine that a lot of bloggers living in Vienna have heard of this site (if you haven’t, where are you hiding? Because, let’s face it, that’s probably where I would have ended up without Carly and her blog!) She describes herself as “an Aussie living in Vienna who loves travel, brunch, books & coffee” Her blog is a place for her to “share stories & tips about life in Vienna, loving an Austrian and the places we discover on our part-time travels.” She gained a lot of attention through her post ‘28 ways to be Austrian‘ which not only gave me an insight into the Austrian lifestyle (‘get used to smoking’ and ‘avoid the Austrian attitude’), but since moving to Vienna has also given me a good laugh at just how truthful it is (‘the use of Austrian Deutsch’ and ‘their love of pork and potatoes.’ ) This light-heartedness continues throughout her blog as she writes about trying to learn German and discovering new brunch places. However Austrian Adaptation also contains many heart warming blogs and inspirational posts that drew me in instantly, discussing topics such as the struggle of coming to terms with where ‘home’ actually is and advice for those beginning their journey into expat life.

I didn’t really have any intention of setting up a blog when I moved to Vienna. I had always liked the idea of having one, but didn’t have the confidence or the know how to even begin. I came around to the idea however, when I noticed on the Women of Vienna Facebook group, for Women who live in Vienna made up predominantly of expats (again if you haven’t heard of it, you need to get on it!), that they had a sub-group called ‘Women of Vienna bloggers and writers’. It seemed like it had many women whose talents included; running their own blogs, writing novels and articles for travel magazines, photographers, graphic designers and artists. I thought this seemed like a great place to ask for advice about setting up a blog. I asked a few questions and got some really useful feedback, but low and behold, a few weeks later, the admins for the site announced (due to no fault of their own), that they were closing the group. WHAT!!?? Just as I had found somewhere that looked like it could become my support group for a possible new blog, it was gone. However, it looked as if there were quite a few people in a similar position. Carly vowed that this would not be the end of this creative outlet and so The Vienna Collective was set up. She posts regularly so people can share their most recent work and to keep us all motivated. There are also regular monthly meetings which have allowed me to meet other creative individuals in Vienna and to share stories about moving to this wonderful city, tips on traveling around the world and advice on tackling mental health.

Recently, Carly also created a 7 day email subscription titled ‘How to prepare for moving abroad. A 7 day planner to prepare you for success.’ Honestly, I wish I had had it when I was preparing to move abroad and anyone in a similar position, particularly when moving to Austria, needs it! Firstly it discusses the documentation you will need, with additional detail about how long certain documents take to get and where to get them etc. It also provides advice such as ‘set realistic goals and create actionable steps’ when it comes to getting to know a place and feeling at home there. I actually settled into life in Vienna pretty quickly which I think this has to do with the fact that it has a great transport system. This has made it so easy to see all the different wonderful parts of this city. However, in other places it may not be the same story and will take you longer to settle in. That’s okay, it takes time. For example, one of the steps include “Once you arrive in your new home, give yourself a break. Don’t spend every day trying to ‘achieve’ something, let the experience evolve naturally. No one is grading your performance as an expat.” In my favourite of the email subscriptions, she opens with:

It’s ok to want to leave.

To want to give up.

To want to cry in the supermarket because it’s all a bit much.

It’s ok to have those moments of doubt.

It’s what you do after those moments that matters most.

This is what I needed to hear most and is the advice I wished I had had on my exchange back in 2015. She goes onto say that these are the moments that shape us. We use them to develop who we are as people. If something isn’t working, no matter how many times you have tried, then that it usually the time to call it quits. It is the same with moving abroad. You the picture in your head of moving abroad may have looked all sunny and picturesque when you were planning it, but now you are actually on that journey, it may not look that way. Moving to another country is HARD, but if it was meant to be then good things will come out of that experience. This has got to be one of the greatest pieces of advice that Carly and Austrian Adaptation has taught me.

So as I finish my first ever ‘token of appreciation’ post, I just want to say a big thank you to Carly and to Austrian Adaptation. For giving me a good chuckle on many occasions, speaking realistically about what it is like to live as a foreigner in Vienna. For the regular posts and Instagram photos that have inspired me explore not just Vienna and it’s incredible brunch places, but also visit other parts of the country too. For the organisation of a collective of creative individuals have allowed me to meet some wonderful people who have taught me so much already about being a blogger and a fellow travel lover. Most importantly though, for for the confidence boost I needed before flying out to Vienna, that I told would fall in love with Austria’s beautiful capital, that there would be times of stress and anxiety, but that everything would fall into place eventually. You were completely right. 🙂

Links to all Carly’s social media and of course to Austrian Adaptation can be found below or by clicking on the links throughout this post.

To visit Austrian Adaptation please click here.

To visit Carly’s Instagram page (for gorgeous photos of her travels, life in Vienna and mouth-watering food!) please click here.

To visit the Austrian Adaptation Facebook page please click here.

To visit Carly’s Twitter please click here.

 

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