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Tips For Staying Motivated When Living Abroad

It can be hard to find ways of staying motivated when you’ve moved abroad. Step one is complete. You made it. The money is (still) coming in. Whether you’re working remotely and are location independent or have a job in your adopted country that’s great. Well done!

I currently am able to work remotely on a part time basis. I earn money from a client in London whilst living in Montpellier, South of France. I’m fortunate because I earn enough money to live comfortably and in my spare time I’m enjoying my new city and learning French. I have found though, despite being highly motivated to improve my level of French, felt that I can feel too comfortable and not do all the things I want to be doing to grow in the longer term.

I’m happy for opportunities to find their way to me, but I am definitely not going to wait for them. Here are some tips to stave off those lazy tendencies:

1. Always have a list of goals

For both the short term and medium term, and long term. I’m hesitant to say long term because I struggle when thinking about that. Nowadays when I think ahead I see nothing but personal success. I thought I was a pessimist. It turns out, I was just waiting for something good to happen rather than decide for myself. Staying motivated requires regular reviewing of your methods so to avoid stagnation. Here are a list of my goals:

  • Take and pass the DELF B2 (advanced) French examination.
    • Regularly have face to face language exchanges to improve listening and speaking fluidity and comprehension.
    • Practice writing skills on iTalki and receive corrections from natives.
    • Use Memrise for 15 minutes every day to learn new vocabulary.
    • Have 2 30 minute iTalki lessons with a teacher to prepare for the exam.
  • Write regularly on Laptop & Flip Flops to improve my writing, gain a following, with a view to earning some income from it within a year (deliberately high expectation).
  • Complete first translation (French to English) jobs to explore a new profession and have an alternative income source.
  • Build/sell WordPress theme(s) for semi-passive income.

If you find yourself losing a bit of motivation for any of your goals: change things up. I am constantly trying different ways to study French.

Make sure you have a way of relaxing too. We all need a breather. When you put pressure on yourself to succeed, an activity not at all associated with your goals is a good way to relax.

2. Go public with your goals

Like I just did! I agree with famous polyglot, Benny Lewis that by going public with your goals there’s more chance that you’ll achieve them. If I decided to not do something it would be for good reasons, not because I gave up. However, it definitely reaffirms the fact that I really want to be able to talk about the things I’m interested in in French with ease. I’m finding I’m staying motivated to learn despite the plateaus that I hit.

3. Make friends to stave off loneliness and stress

I am in France primarily to improve French. But I have found myself focussing too much on that target, and the day to day became totally about that. When you’re a roll it’s great, but when you’re having a hard time and don’t feel like you’re improving, it sucks. I have a small circle of friends but it’s really important to remember that I’m learning a language in order to be able to use it… That means with people! It’s important to remember to live in the moment despite having longer term goals. Treat this place like your home even if you are unsure for how long you’ll be staying. Otherwise what will you look back on and reminisce about?

4. Go fully freelance or build a business

For Digital Nomads, itchy feet is a common symptom. Many are freelancers and many are entrepreneurs starting their own companies to have ultimate freedom to choose from where and when they work. If you’re able to, or would be able to in the future, work towards or take short contracts. That way, your workload will always feel refreshed and new and you’ll find you’re staying motivated. Use job boards like remote | ok to find remote work and your next contract. But, if you’ve already made the move to working remotely, you already know about that.

5. Make a list of dream travel/living destinations

A bit specific to the dreams but it’s a personal favourite. This always puts a smile on my face when I think about all the possibilities. When I am truly location independent I will be able to simply hop on a plane and go where I want. Then I remember that although I have made great progress but there’s still some way to go. This keeps me pumped.


I’m still in the early stages of my location independent lifestyle, but I know that the routines I get in to now will be the ones that feed my success in all my other future projects.

What do you do to keep motivated? I’d love to hear your methods and ideas.

Published inMotivational