I’ve been toying with the idea of working in Asia for a year or so (I currently live in the United States). How exactly does one go about packing up their life in one country and moving to another? Is it as simple as putting my stuff into storage or selling it, packing my bags and moving? Is it better to ship furniture and the like to a new country, or is it best to ship only clothing and buy everything new once I arrive?
Any insights will be appreciated. Thanks!
Check the labels on your clothes: you'll notice that everything says "Made in China". So don't worry about being able to buy what you need in Asia. The cost of shipping stuff does not make it worthwhile, anyways. Most employers will provide you with a furnished apartment, so you don't need to worry about furniture.
Stuff you should bring: a laptop (but buy the printer here), digital camera, electric plug converter (electrical outlets in Asia have a different shape), clothes, English novels, phrasebook, Lonely Planet, deodorant and dental floss (both difficult to find in Asia), and spices or condiments (if you like to cook- things like HP sauce, Dijon mustard or maple syrup are hard to find here).
Everything else, just leave in storage or with a friend. You'll love it here- this is my 6th year in Asia (China and South Korea), and I'm not ready to go back yet!
I just returned from 6 years in Asia, 4 of them living and teaching in Japan. I actually took a trip first to find out a little bit about the places I had considered and when I reached Japan I knew it was the place. I had originally planned on Taiwan and had a few friends there but after visiting I changed my mind. Nothing particularly negative just didn't get the feeling when I was there. If you have the chance go for a little recon first as it is a big move and it's feels a little less daunting when you arrive the 2nd time!
The others have given you some good advice: definately take your laptop and if possible, go for a short trip to check the country out and make your move a little less daunting. I haven't moved to Asia, but I have moved o/s from one country to another several times.
1. sell everything you have (in terms of furniture, car and the likes), you tastes will change by the time you come back (if you come back!)
2. Anything that is sentimental to you, but too big to put in your backpack leave with close family or friends.
3. Don't take much clothing - the trends will be different and it's never that hard to buy stuff as you go.
4. Do take a small flick book of photos of your friends and family back home - I found this invaluable when I'm telling my new friends about the people I'm already close to, plus it's nice to have a few familiar photos to put on the wall of your new room.
Most of all... just go for it! You won't regret it!