Your Next Big Trip

I’m Moving Abroad…and I’m Terrified!

So you know those blog posts that tell you to quit your job to travel? Those one’s that say how super easy it is? Or those one’s that tell you that you absolutely have to travel solo? Yeah, this isn’t going to be one of them. Maybe in a year I’ll come back and write one of those, but right now? I’m excited, scared, delighted, worried, all at the same time.

I am moving to Tanzania!

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Moving to Tanzania Palm Trees Coco Beach

Since 2014, I have visited Tanzania 4 times. During these trips, I like to pretend I live there. I also like to pretend I know a lot about Tanzanian culture and way of life. My limited Swahili tells a different story.

As a teacher, most people assume I travel to do development work. In reality, I’ve spent most of my time on a beach in Zanzibar, tracking lions on safari or watching the sun set on the Indian Ocean. While these trips have been fascinating, fun and undoubtedly exhilarating, they have done little to prepare me for my impending reality.

Ngorongoro Crater- Your Next Big Trip

And no, I wont see zebra on my way to work!

What’s coming next?

In roughly 3 weeks, I am moving to Dar es Salaam, a city of nearly 5 million people.  A city known as much for its traffic as its beaches overlooking the Indian Ocean. The city is bustling and diverse. My experience is limited to a day or two before almost missing my flight due to traffic. But what I saw, I liked. There’s the built up city centre, the busy Kariakoo market and the laid back, upmarket peninsula. There are bars and restaurants with food from all over the world. There are people from all over the world and the brilliant fusion of culture that that brings. Dar es Salaam seems like an interesting, exciting place to move to.

And my feelings at the moment? I’m terrified.

Yes, that’s right. I’m moving to Tanzania and I’m being a big baby.

To anyone who knows me, this is probably laughable. I have been the go-to person among friends and family for all things Tanzanian. I have encouraged others to visit the country that captured my heart.

After my first trip, I returned only a year later with 2 friends in tow, and a year after that with 3 more. I have answered countless emails, Facebook messages and comments, advising you all on the best safari itinerary, the best beaches in Zanzibar and why you shouldn’t be afraid to go on an African safari. Yet here I am googling everything from “crime in Dar es Salaam” to “how to make friends.”

Yes, you read that correctly. I have literally read a step by step guide on how to make friends.
New low?!

Learning to Dance in Stone Town

Where will I be without my band of travelling dance partners?! (Taken in Stone Town after an impromptu dance class with a local dance crew!)

I have also joined a group on Facebook called Dar Crime Alerts where people post everytime they get robbed or mugged or ripped off.

I’m adding this to my list of things not to do before you move abroad.

South Africa Hogsback


The more I learn, the less I know…

I have come to realise that no amount of holidays, time visiting friends or online searches can prepare me for moving abroad for the first time. What I do know is that this is exactly why I want to move abroad. I want to experience life in a different country.

From studying International Development online with people from all over the world to travelling in East and Southern Africa, I have spent the last 3 years realising how little I know about the world.

Moving to Tanzania


So, where does this leave my little bit of internet space?

I started this blog a little over 9 months ago. One of the reasons I started it was to showcase positive images from the African continent along with some tips on how to make your next big trip a reality. Without realising it, I was actually taking steps, little by little, to do this myself.

The time has come for me to put my money where my mouth is and take my biggest trip to date. Expect some posts about moving to Tanzania, planning and general day to day life (along with the usual beautiful beach photos of course!)

They do say, if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. I’m bloody terrified so mine must be huge!

victoria falls

Check out my huge dreams! That’s joy, not fear, I swear!

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Paje Beach Zanzibar

Have you moved abroad? Any tips for preparing for moving to Tanzania? Leave me a comment and let me know. I need all the help I can get lol…seriously send help!

33 thoughts on “I’m Moving Abroad…and I’m Terrified!

  1. Ama

    Awh man! I’ve only ever moved country once to come to Ireland from Ghana and I was too young to be afraid, protected by excitement and ignorance of the technicalities and reality of starting anew somewhere different. But my gosh I’m so eccited for you. I sadly hsve no tips as I have never visited Tanzania let alone moved there but I wish you all the best of luck in chasing this massive dream. Be afraid and do it anyways, isnt that what they say?


  2. Katie @ The Katie Show Blog

    That’s only natural to be a little nervous, I’ve moved countries twice & can relate! You’ve got a good mindset though so I’m sure we are going to be seeing a lot of really cool posts & stories soon! Good luck with the move.

  3. Mel

    Wow! That’s so exciting. I don’t blame you for being nervous. Not only is moving abroad a big deal, but doing it alone.. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in Tanzania (and how to make friends).

  4. Jewels

    This is such an exciting move!!! The nerves are natural. I felt nervous when I moved from NYC to North Carolina (open spaces scare me lol). I like that you are shedding positive light on travel in Africa. When I told people I was going to study in South Africa, so many people advised against it because of the crime. While there concerns are valid, I didn’t let it stop me. I’ve been to South Africa twice and never felt in danger. We have to take people’s advice with a grain of salt. I look forward to your upcoming posts!

  5. Rhiannon

    This is so exciting! I’m so excited for you! What are you gonna be doing there? Do you have anything in the pipeline or just gonna see how it goes? I’ve never been to Tanzania myself but would so love to some day! One of my school friends actually grew up there and I think her parents own an orphanage and/or school or something so she’s always back and for – her pictures and stories always leave me awestruck.
    So excited to follow along with your journey! And just one more time (because I may not have used enough variations of the word “excited” yet) – this is exciting!!!

  6. Jennifer Schlueter

    Girl, I’m right there with you 😀 Reading this makes me feel the same you do even though our stories are a bit different, haha. We will be fine and we will have an amazing time, make the best memories, and have each other!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Haha it does give me comfort to know I won’t be the only newbie going around Dar without a clue 😉 It will be amazing!

  7. Only By Land

    I think it was a mistake joining the getting mugged facebook page before going, at least you know what to expect! I’m sure you’ll be fine and settle in well, the locals will be friendly and the traffic not so bad! I look forward to reading your stories of life in Dar es Salaam. I wish it was me moving there!

  8. Aileen

    This is such an impressive step to be taking! I only spent 3 days in Zanzibar once but loved it. Looking forward to reading about your adventures while there!

  9. Steph

    I really enjoyed this post! I lived in Tanzania (Mwanza) for 3 months last summer, and I am tentatively planning to return in 2018 for my dissertation research. I had a love/hate relationship with Dar 🙂 but regardless I can totally relate with everything you wrote! How are things going now? I will be sure to check out more of your Tanz posts

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Definitely get in touch if you do return in 2018! So a week later and I’ve had my training for my new position, met some great people- some of whom will be in neighbouring countries and even one who’ll be in Dar- and I feel 1000 times better! I’m very excited to see more of Tanzania and am now counting down the days! 😀

  10. FS Page

    I get what you are feeling. It can be really difficult to move to strangelands especially where you might be afraid of things like crimes. But somewhere i get the feeling the problem is bigger in your head than what is out there. It happens so many times that we create problems in our heads when there is nothing out there.

  11. carlinn meyer

    Dont stress at all! My cousin lived in Dar for 4 years and she loved it so much she cried when she had to leave. I am sure you will be fine and will have the best time ever 🙂

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Thanks Carlinn, that’s so great to hear! I know I’ll love it once I’m there, just had to write out all the worries and now I’m gonna suck it up and get properly excited lol

  12. Lauren

    Wow! What an exciting yet terrifying experience for you! My brother is working in Ghana at the moment and I am so worried about him contracting some exotic disease rather than being robbed by bandits!

    If you make it to Zanzibar make sure to check out Freddie Mercury’s house. Lots of people don’t realise that Zanzibar is his birthplace and he is of Parsi descent.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Haha that made me laugh. My parents are definitely feeling the same! I’m finding so many famous people who lived in Tanzania. Roald Dahl lived in Dar es Salaam for a while too!

  13. Cavaforlunch

    I’m so excited for you – imagine moving to Tanzania! It’s a brave decision, but I’m sure you’ll be absolutely fine! And I’m very excited to follow your new life xx

  14. Kristine

    Wow, Tanzania! I envy you! I’ve moved around a bit myself too, and my best advice for making friends is joining expat communities online (no idea if, expatfocus or internations have members in Tanzania, though). And sign up for a cooking class or something while you’re there. It might introduce you to some cool people 🙂

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Great advice Kristine thanks for that 🙂 I’ve looked it up and internations definitely do so I’ll have to put myself out there on that! I love the cooking class idea too.

  15. Allison

    That is an incredible step to make and I look forward to hearing about your adventures as you settle into your new home. There is also nothing wrong with spending time on the beach just quietly. My Mum and Dad moved from the UK to Australia many years ago before I was born and it was really tough. They gave up two years in and returned home only to not settle there either and come back. I’m so glad they stayed (selfishly so I could be born an Aussie lol) but I know it was particularly rough on my Mum. I hope it all goes smoothly.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Thanks for that advice Allison. It’s so comforting to hear the experiences of people who have done it before. I am definitely looking forward to the climate. I totally get why your parents couldn’t settle in the UK after getting a taste for Australian life!

  16. Anna Schlaht

    You’re incredibly brave to move somewhere new solo, and I applaud you! I think we share a lot of the same fears, and I wouldn’t put it past myself to read a step-by-step guide on how to make friends in a new place either, but you’ve taken that first MAJOR leap to put yourself out there and chase your dreams … which is incredible! Have a very safe and exciting move abroad; I look forward to following your adventures here in the upcoming months. 🙂

  17. Catherine Rotte-Murray

    We lived in Tanzania for 12 years between 1982 and 1995 and it was amazing. First we were five years in the bush in refugee settlements in western Tanzania Rukwa region with TCRS Lutheran Wold Federation in Tanzania in settlements with Rwandan and Burundian refugees. We were the implementation agency for UNHCR. Then we lived five years in Iringa in the Southern Highlands with Concern. Mostly long term development work. And back to refugees in the border region during the Rwandan genocide in 94. So an amazing and awful time in all. You’ll have a great time there. We still have friends there. Mike and Annie McEnery run a game lodge near Morogoro about two hours from Dar en route to Mikumi.
    We know Seamus through the Political links. Saw your blog link on Facebook. Best of luck and enjoy! I’ll follow your posts here!
    Catherine ?

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Catherine, that sounds like you had an amazing experience there, for better or worse. It’s going to be my first time living abroad and my first time working in development (although part of me thinks of teaching as development work in ways!) It’s great to hear of other Irish people who did similar things- although I’m sure Tanzania in 1982 was a very different place than it is now! I visited a friend who grew up there (I think you know her parents!) and I loved listening to their stories about when they first moved to Tanzania and the changes they have seen. Hopefully I’ll have a few stories worth telling during the year I’ll be spending there. Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂 Clíodhna

  18. Silvana

    Waiting for the day i will be terrified!!!
    I visited Morocco for a long weekend in 2010. Fell in love immediately. Had to wait till 2016 to go again and spent there all my holidays going back 5 times. Now in 2017 I’m squeezing my brain to find a way to remain there longer. I must do because I spend all months here waiting the day to fly back

  19. Karen

    Hi Cliodhna, I just came across your blog while googling the Zanzibar full moon party and after reading this post realised you moved to Dar around the same time I did! I came here at the end of April for work and am still settling in. I’m sure you’ve met plenty of people now, but feel free to get in touch if you ever feel like meeting up. I work in development and live on the peninsular 🙂

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Hi Karen. That’s so cool! I actually just reread this post the other day and laughed to my friends about it because I now feel like I’ve been here forever and of course have met loads of people! I think I should do an update 🙂 Always time to meet more people though so would love to meet up 🙂 Drop me an email with your details to and we can arrange something.

  20. muhamed

    hello .
    if you did this step to be in tanzania then you more brave of me .
    i always dreamd to do this step .i love to live in tanzania since long time but i donnt do that .i read about tanzania much and much .do you know evry day i think about living there .
    dreamd with living into nature .with animal , and kind people .
    i am sure i can catch my dream one day .
    i wish you good luck and wish to me too to be brave enough to been there ,