Travel Update and Living Sustainably

With less than five weeks until my departure date, I finally booked a number of my flights this week. I managed to find a good deal on Monday with Ukrainian International Airlines to fly from London to Ankara via Kiev. The airline allowed me to pay for a second cabin bag (both 23kg) in advance for half the price ($25). I’ll be spending two weeks in Turkey (including a two day visit to northern Cyprus) from the end of March before I head to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for two months.

I had less choice in my flights between Ankara and Bishkek, particularly when it came to bringing extra baggage. I opted for Turkish Airlines, who have given me 30kgs for free, and charge $5 per kilo over. It may mean I end up paying up to an extra £65 to bring all my luggage to Kyrgyzstan, however I highly rate the airline for their customer service, food and on-board comfort. I’ve yet to book my flight to Almaty; I plan to arrive in the city in mid-June.

This week I’ve been to some classes that the charity I work for put on for those preparing to move overseas. They are covering the different areas involved in living sustainably overseas. I thought I’d cover the first two in this blog post, and the remaining four in my next post.

Living Sustainably: Physical Preparation

The way you prepare physically for moving overseas will differ depending on the part of the world you’re going to. No matter where you’re headed, there are a number of areas to consider in terms of physical preparation. Firstly let’s go back and ask some questions about the three physical areas I mentioned in my post “The Gift of Time” – exercise, diet and sleep.

  • Exercise: Where and when can I exercise? What are the local sports/activities I can get involved in as a form of exercise? Is it more expensive to join a gym where I’m going? Are there pavements or parks where I can go for a run? What is culturally appropriate exercise clothing?
  • Diet: What is culturally acceptable for me to eat? If I’m sharing a flat, what are the rules about sharing food in the fridge? What dry foods (spices, seasonings) can I take with me for a taste of home? What vegetables are grown locally? How can I sustain a balanced diet in the locality?
  • Sleep: If I’m living with a family, will I have to share a room? What times do local people get up and go to bed each day? How do I drown out noise if I’m living by a main road? When can I make up for sleep if I’m to attend an important social/cultural event?

Some other questions to have considered in advance are:

  • Do I need any vaccinations for where I’m going?
  • Do I need to take any additional medication with me?
  • Can I arrange a health check up with my doctor before I go?
  • Do I need to bring clothes with me for both temperature extremes?

Living Sustainably: Practical Preparation

There are so many things you’ll need to consider when it comes to practical preparation, that to be honest, I’m not going to be able to name them all in this article, and they could be quite specific to where you’re going and what you’re planning on doing. So my suggestion is that you do what we did in our class and brainstorm ideas, and then ask some friends or family members to give you any further ideas that they have.

I’m going to use the rest of this post to encourage you to consider the following area of practical preparation: preparing a budget. If you’re going to join a company or charity overseas where others already work, then I’d recommend asking them for their advice on living costs. They should be able to give you a breakdown of what they spend on average per month in different areas including accommodation, bills and food.

I’d also recommend doing research for yourself on the matter. I’m in the position where I’m going to be the first person in my charity looking to live in Kazakhstan, and so there currently isn’t a budget for living in the country. Numbeo is a good website to get an idea of living costs in major cities, and you can also do a price comparison between where you’re from and where you’re going to. I’d also recommend you have an emergency budget in case you need to make an unplanned return to your home country or your technology breaks down.

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