In case you missed the big announcement over on Instagram, our little trio is going international and will be relocating to Denmark at the end of April! So far the process has been relatively seamless and stress-free, but all big life changes has their roller coaster ride of emotions that go along with them. I gave people the opportunity to ask questions about our move via Instagram, so here’s answers to a few of the more frequently asked questions:
Why are you moving to Denmark?
Our recent trips to Germany/Austria and Japan/Thailand got us really interested in traveling, but also impacted our decision to wait a few more years to start a family. Without getting too long-winded: we sold our house and relocated in order to chase adventure for the foreseeable future. Although we didn’t know a year ago what that might end up looking like, we had our fingers crossed that it might involve living abroad for some period.
After selling our house, Josh changed jobs and accepted a position with a Copenhagen-based startup company, Cludo, that was just opening their first US office in Minneapolis. We sold our home in Madison and relocated to downtown Minneapolis in April of last year. We didn’t know when he took the job that relocating internationally would be an option, but it was always in the back of our minds as an exciting opportunity that might come to fruition. And it did!
Have you ever been to Denmark before?
Yes! Technically twice but it feels like we’ve been there three times. I went for a couple weeks in 2009 with my mom and younger sister. We have two sets of close family friends who we spent time with in different parts of Denmark. We spent a couple weeks near Aarhus (on the mainland) and traveling to every coast and a few islands, including Copenhagen.
Josh and I traveled to Copenhagen at both the beginning and the end of our Europe trip in 2015. We spent a few days in Copenhagen at the beginning of the trip, which was when I really got to know the urban heart of the city and fell in love with it. Then we flew back at the end and spent a couple days with friends near Hillerod and drove the coastline with them, visiting beaches and castles, on our way back to Copenhagen.
Copenhagen has always been one of my favorite cities and I feel really lucky to get to live there!
What’s the process like?
Traditionally, relocating to Denmark can be somewhat difficult. Thankfully Josh’s company sponsored work visas for both of us, which means I’ll be able to work as usual, and we were also provided with a relocation agent who helped us navigate the entire process.
Aside from that it was just providing the proper authorities with the correct documentation, and a quick trip down to Chicago for a biometry appointment (photos, fingerprints etc, followed by a 14-day wait for the final approval to come through.
Are you still running your business?
Yep! I talked to each of my clients previous to finalizing the decision, to make sure they were okay with the move. They were all more than supportive!
I’ve worked remotely for the past 8 years, and all of my social media clients have been national. At one point I had a client in every single US time zone! So, I’m used to working independently and dealing with time zone conversions, the move will just mean dealing with a 7-8 hour difference instead of 1, 2 or 3, but is definitely manageable thanks to today’s technology and all of the scheduling tools now available for social media.
One of my clients has required me to work from 5-6AM every day for the past 7 years (woof!) and although I’m a morning person and have loved my early mornings, it will be a nice adjustment not to have to jump out of bed and be on a computer by 5, and I think it will create a better balance with my other clients.
My Etsy Shop has grown to be 90% digital and 10% physical product over the past year, so it will be easy to maintain that revenue stream while we’re abroad. Physical products (notepads, pencils etc) will still ship from the US (thanks, mom!).
Although I won’t regularly be teaching workshops while we’re abroad, I’m working to book dates for October 2018. If you have a group or town that would like to host a workshop this fall, drop me an email to get on my schedule. I’m also open to the idea of teaching social media workshops in English while we’re in Europe, if the opportunity presents itself. In the meantime I’ll be working to make my courses available online.
Where are you going to live?
We’ll be right in central Copenhagen, the area known as Copenhagen K or Indre By. We got an apartment that is bright and beautiful, but tiny (only about 775 sq ft). Here’s a little peek at the main room –the black object in the lower left is a wood burning stove, which we are super excited about.
What are you most excited for?
Traveling and biking! Although we want to enjoy as much of Denmark as we can, we are also looking forward to being very centrally located and being able to travel affordably during our time abroad. We’re also really excited about living in one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities, and doing some long bike rides in Denmark, and potentially other countries, too!
How are you moving your stuff?
Since our move is temporary we aren’t bringing that much with us. We can both bring up to 10 checked bags on the plane, so we are just planning to go that route. Here’s how this breaks down for anyone looking into it.
You can ship a container of stuff via boat for about $4,000 (this was the average for the quotes I received). The container is like 5’x7’x10′ (if you’re lucky) and will take 50-75 days to arrive. When researching this option we quickly realized that 1. The cost wasn’t worth it (over $8k to get our stuff there and back) and 2. Anything we can live without for 50+ days at the beginning and 50+ days at the end, we can live without while we’re there.
Therefore, we opted to move through the airline. Each airline is different, but Icelandair allows you to bring up to 10 checked bags per person. You can bring a box in place of luggage, as long as the length, width and height of the box add up to less than 62″ (so a box that is 20″ x 20″ x 20″, for example, or 10″ x 25″ x 27″ etc) . We ordered these boxes to use for moving.
Extra bags will cost you $95 per bag on Icelandair, but booking them in advance gives you a 20% discount. So, if you max out with 10 bags (2 free, 8 paid extra for) you will pay $76 per extra bag, or $608 total, one way. We don’t plan to each need 10 bags, but this cost will obviously be significantly lower than the $4K for shipping by boat, and we’ll have all our stuff immediately rather than waiting a month or two.
Although cargo spaces rarely fill up, airlines recommend that if you plan to move via commercial flight, that you contact them before booking your tickets to ensure the flight you’re interested in will have space for your boxes.
These prices and rules vary by each airline, so I recommend researching their policies before you book your flight.
Do you speak Danish?
We don’t. However, we’ve been using the DuoLingo app to learn as much as we can before we leave! I took Norwegian in college, and have found that it has helped me catch on quicker. For the most part, everyone in Denmark speaks English, because it has been part of their curriculum for a long time. So, we won’to need to be fluent, but being able to have simple conversations, read signs, read menus and say “Sorry my Danish sucks, can we speak English?” will be pretty helpful.
What about Walter?
Walter is coming with us to Denmark! I don’t think we would have committed to the move if we couldn’t bring him with or if, for some reason, it was going to be difficult to bring him. He’ll be joining us, and I’m working on additional posts about the process of moving with a dog internationally and preparing your dog for a long flight.
We depart for Denmark on April 24th! Follow along with the adventure over on Instagram.