There was once a time was when a long-distance move to the other side of the world – or even the other end of the country – meant saying goodbye to friends and family for forever, only to maintain contact with them through “snail mail” or extremely expensive telephone calls.
How things have changed! Now you can be virtually in your loved-ones’ living room at the click of a button – er, sorry, icon.
Apart from that, air travel has become much cheaper, easier and quicker (ignoring the security checks for the moment) that getting back home is less of a problem than it used to be.
Many simple ways of keeping in touch long-distance have become available in recent years thanks to the wonders of the Internet and digital communication. Here is a list of a few of them:
1. Social Media
If you’re not already familiar with popular social networks, then now is the time:
- Facebook helps you communicate with loved ones via posts on your page, status updates, and Messenger chats (which lets you make FREE calls)
- Pinterest gives you the opportunity to post pictures of topics that interest you in your new surroundings. For example, you can open a Pin on “My Neighborhood in the Tropics”
- Twitter enables you to send short bursts of information or news, so your followers (friends and family) can always be up to date on what is going on in your life e. g. “Jake just aced his foreign language tests!”
- YouTube is ideal for sharing videos which really bring everybody right into your life, and make them feel as if they were there with you!
- Instagram is great for posting images of what you’re doing, where you are, and what the kids are up to. You could even take and post pictures of the moving process on Instagram – that will be fun to look back on! Once you are all moved in, you can post pictures of yourself unwinding and enjoying your new home.
Read more about unwinding after a move in this blog post.
2. Internet calls
There are a variety of apps that give people the ability to make video calls over the internet. These apps include: Facetime, Google Hangouts, Rounds, Skype, and Viber, among others.
You can set up regular chat sessions with your loved ones – every day, week, or month. And because most of these calls are free you can spend any length of time on them. I know of grandparents who spend at least an hour or two on Skype, interacting with their grandchildren living in foreign countries or distant cities, reading stories, playing games, and being a very present part of their lives.
Writing your own blog is like the modern version of keeping a personal diary – but one that is very public. Start a blog or your own personal website in which you can describe your life, the people you meet, the places you go, your experiences, how that job is going…a blog is limitless in terms of subject matter and scope. Share your blog with you friends and family, so they can always be updated on your life.
You can post images, videos, audio…and there are some really great, easy-to-use apps and programs which enable you to do this without any hassle. The mystique has been taken out of web work and even the most technologically challenged can enjoy the benefits of this really amazing way to communicate.
This is a really great way to communicate when moving abroad. Virtually everyone uses Whatsapp, and it allows you to send text and voice messages and photographs and make phone calls …and it’s all at no cost (apart from the one-time fee of .99 to download the app). There are many people who, when traveling, don’t even bother to buy a new SIM card. They just have to make sure they have Wi-Fi connections enabling them to communicate via WhatsApp. It just requires a quick download to your smartphone.
5. Image Sharing
Image sharing is a lot like blogging, but with photographs. It is another way to let your loved ones see what is going on in your life. Open an account on a platform like Flickr. This enables you to upload, access, organize, edit, and share your photos from any device, from anywhere in the world. It frees up space on your smartphone, digital camera, tablet or computer, and grants you instant access.
By now, email is almost a “traditional” way to communicate in the digital age. It makes sense however to use a generic account, such as Gmail, so you are not dependent on a local ISP (Internet Service provider) address which means you would have to change all your details if you move again.
7. Snail mail
If you are still conservative about your correspondence, you can still use “snail mail”. Today, however, it’s much quicker and more efficient than in the ol’ days of steamships and the Pony Express, so your handwritten – or typed – letter will reach its destination well within a week.
8. Plan trips to meet up
Of course, the best idea of all is meeting up with your loved ones and getting in the hugs and back-slapping. Again, putting aside the irritating but unfortunately so necessary security checks at airports, flying is quick, relatively comfortable and reasonably affordable. Save up for these trips at least once a year.
Happy moving…and communicating.