There are less than 90 days until we leave.

I am in a full on panic. The kind where during the day you pretend like everything is under control, but you wake up in the middle of the night tense and filled with anxiety. My dentist says my teeth clenching is at an all-time high; my TMJ has never been worse.

It reminds me of the third trimesters of my pregnancies.

“Aren’t you excited?” people would ask back then.

No, I would think. There will be plenty of time to be excited after the baby comes. In the third trimester, I only felt anxiety and stress. How would I ever get everything wrapped up in time?

It’s the same with this international move. The exact same.

The assumption is that we’re so excited. And we are! Such a fun adventure to look forward to, so many new places to visit, and so many amazing people to meet.

But the reality? That piece is a little overwhelming. 

Especially for a mom of three who also runs her own business while her husband travels for work during the week, currently with no extra childcare.

It’s just logistics, my husband tells me. (Bless your heart, I want to respond.)

There are lists for my lists. Every day something else comes up.

People have asked me what it takes to pack up one’s house for a year and leave the country, so for those of you who are considering a similar trip, here’s what I know so far:

  • You start the visa process and lots and lots of paperwork
  • You double check expiration dates on passports and get new ones
  • You check in with your kids’ schools and secure their spots for when they return
  • You ask your dearest friends to please take your pets for a year
  • You sell your cars and plan to buy a new one over there
  • You rent out your house while you’re away (not through Airbnb, but via a proper company)
  • You declutter everything, pack it up, and store it for a year
  • You get multiple quotes because the price of movers and storage apparently ranges from $7,500 to $27,000
  • You switch your primary residence insurance policy out for a renter’s version
  • You have the house inspected to obtain a business license to rent it out
  • You test the house for lead for the new tenants
  • You set up lawn service to maintain the property while you’re away
  • You consider where to store valuable documents that can’t be scanned and need to be kept safe
  • You find new lodging in your new country, and hope for the best
  • You find new office space in your new country, and hope for the best
  • You try to secure a new car in your new country, and be okay with whatever you find
  • You take all the kids for check-ups at the doctor and dentist
  • You request transcripts and medical records
  • You research schools in your new country
  • You try to sort out what grades your kids will be in
  • You re-route your business mail to a new address
  • You re-route your personal mail to a different address
  • You appoint someone as power of attorney while you’re away
  • You buy new phones for abroad, and—

—well, I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a lot more. That’s as far as we’ve gotten so far.

But mostly you do this:

You check in on your kids. Especially the quiet ones, to make sure they’re talking to you about how they’re feeling. You don’t try to pretend like everything will be awesome. And mostly, you share your own fears.



Hi. I'm Frederique. You can call me Fred. I am the founder and CEO of Her Corner Inc., a global network of women business owners committed to growth in their businesses. When I'm not managing the business operations of Her Corner, you can find me either running accelerator programs for Her Corner members or at the Kogod School of Business at American University where I teach entrepreneurship, business management and organizational behavior. I am passionate about the topic of Entrepreneurship, and in particular the State of Entrepreneurship for Women.

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