1. YOU THINK YOU NEED ALL OF YOUR STUFF, BUT YOU DON'T.
Once we started purging and packing all of our belongings, I realized just how much stuff we had accumulated over the years. And, honestly, there were times when I packed something in a box to sort through at a later time....and by the time I went to reopen said box, I had completely forgotten what was inside. Sure, you might have that moment of, "Darn, I wish I would have kept that one sweater." But then you find another sweater and move along with your life.
2. YOU'LL BE QUESTIONED BY OTHER PEOPLE A LOT. WHICH THEN LEADS TO YOU QUESTIONING YOURSELF.
Remind yourself that you know what's best for you and your family. It's a life-changing decision; of course you should question it - that's healthy! Try not to let other people's (sometimes negative) opinions affect you too much.
3. YOU WILL BE STRESSED BEYOND BELIEF.
Yep, it's an exciting time, but it's also an extremely stressful time. There is so much paperwork involved, visas to sort out, money to be spent on airfare and luggage, long-haul flights with opinionated toddlers. It's all very stressful and I definitely had those "how the heck am I gonna do this?!" moments. But I just kept telling myself, "it always seems impossible until it's done." Because one day, all the things will be figured out and packed and moved and life will be peaceful again! And that toddler just might sleep for 10 straight hours on your overnight flight - HALLELUJAH.
4. DON'T WORRY IF YOU DON'T FEEL "AT HOME" IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY STRAIGHT AWAY.
I've heard that it takes about a year to start to feel like a place is home. You'll start to learn where all your favorite spots are, where to go for the best groceries, how to navigate without a GPS, etc. Just take it one day at a time and give yourself grace to settle in slowly and acclimate to life abroad.
Homesickness is real. Set aside a special day to Skype family / friends. We do Sundays with my family and I try to schedule special Skype dates with friends. Also, find a special cafe or restaurant that becomes your usual spot. The people get to know you and that has helped me settle in and make me feel more at home.
5. YOU WILL FEEL FREE.
And last, but certainly not least - FREEDOM! For me, this freedom came in the form of time with my son. I had gone back to work when he was just 5 months old and it really ate away at me how long I was away from him during the day. I would look back on baby photos and videos and it would hit me that I was gone for 11 hours most days. I would see Max for a couple hours a day, and my time with him in the morning was usually rushed and hectic. Even though I loved my job, this was not a sustainable way of living; we needed a change.
Honestly, it has been such a liberating and exciting decision to make such a huge life change. And it's been so healthy for our relationship to figure out what's really important to us and our family.
I'd say, if you're thinking about moving abroad (or just to another State!!) - JUST DO IT. Even if things don't work out, at least you tried and learned something from it.