How to Maintain Family Relationships When Traveling or After Moving Abroad
Guest Post by Marie Miquel
Any big change in life can be both exciting and daunting. Traveling and moving can be especially challenging, as it entails many changes not just to your present lifestyle, but also to your relationships with your environment and the people around you.
If you are traveling long term or moving abroad, these challenges are a lot more amplified. Extra factors like time and cultural differences, language barriers, and different lifestyle expectations also come into play but you don’t want to totally lose touch with friends and family.
Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to ensure your relationships with your friends and family stand the test of time and distance.
Schedule Time Together
It is easy to get lost in your new life or a busy schedule when traveling or moving, especially if your destination is far from home. In general, it takes a lot of mental effort to adjust to a new place and environment, make new friends, and build your own space.
But during these busy times, it is equally important to keep your loved ones close. Remember to schedule time to catch up with them – whether it be a phone call, a video chat, etc. – so that you are always making it a priority to connect with those you care about.
Your relationships don’t have to come to a standstill just because you are not physically together; having the support of loved ones can actually make adjusting to a new place much easier, too.
Be Considerate of Time Zones
You might have moved away and already adjusted to your new life and timezone, but your family is still where they have always been.
When it comes to staying in touch, remember to be considerate of their time zones and schedules. Try to find times to communicate that work for everyone.
To make things easier, you can consider setting up a second clock on your phone, computer, etc. to help you keep track of the time in both locations.
Make Use of Digital Tools
With the way technology has advanced, distance does not have to feel so distant anymore! Seeing loved ones or hearing their voices is just a call away.
Video calls, phone calls, social media, and more can all help keep you and your loved ones connected at any time. Though digital connection may not be the same as physical connection, for many, it’s still a blessing.
If you do decide to take advantage of these tools, it can help to schedule regular call times to avoid missed calls or miscommunication.
Aside from talking, there are also many other activities that apps and websites can allow you to do together. You can watch movies, listen to songs, play games, create art, and even collaborate on projects together – whatever makes you feel close to those you love is great!
You might also like to set up group or family messaging groups where you can instantly share photos, quick videos, voice notes and messages about your day so you can keep in touch around busy schedules if you don’t have time for a call.
Send Gifts and Postcards
You might not be able to be with your loved ones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t involve them in your adventures.
If you’re able, sending your family gifts and mementos is a great way to let them know you’re thinking of them. Even from afar, you never have to miss a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion!
Even if it’s difficult to post gifts from abroad you don’t have to miss someone special’s birthday. You can order a personalised card or gift from online shopping in your home country and have it gift wrapped and sent directly to their address.
Another great option is to send postcards to your loved ones. There is nothing better than a personal, thoughtful gift that serves as a reminder that you miss them and wish they were with you.
Visit Whenever Possible
Hard as we try, nothing will ever be able to truly replace actually sitting amongst your family members, all of you together under one roof.
If you have moved abroad for good, or are there for more than a few months or years, make it a priority to visit home at least occasionally or, if you can afford it, send someone special a plane ticket so that they can visit you – they might love getting to explore a new destination with you as their local guide!
Planning things out ahead of time makes it easier to score holiday time from work (if necessary), manage travel costs, and find fun ways to make the most of your time with your loved ones.
Visiting your family, if nothing else, might even quench your nostalgia and refuel your desire to stay abroad for much longer!
Push Through The Hard Days
Inevitably, some days will be hard and sad. However much you try to visit, you will miss family events that happen at home. You may feel distant from your family no matter how many efforts you have made to stay connected.
Being with them from afar will likely never be the same as being with them at home. The distance might even bring rifts and miscommunications between you and your loved ones.
But, during tough times, it is important to remember that these times will pass. Remind yourself that your loved ones still care for you, and remember why you came abroad in the first place.
That course, that job, that experience or person that you moved so far away for is worth your time and effort, just like your loved ones are. Finding a balance can be tricky, but it is doable.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.