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Ep. 224: How to successfully move abroad with David McNeill

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In this episode, I speak with David McNeill who is the founder of Expat Empire which is focused on inspiring people to move abroad and showing them how to do it. 

In addition to producing online courses, books, podcasts, blog posts, meetup events, and more, Expat Empire offers consulting services to give everyone the opportunity to achieve their international dreams. 

Listen on to find out how David helps others to achieve their dreams of living abroad.

Listen Below:

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Transcription:

Debbie:

Hey, everyone, I’m really excited for my guest today. I’m here with David.

Hey David, how are you?

David:

Hey, Debbie. I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me on your show.

Debbie:

Thanks so much for being here with us. Can you tell us a little bit more about you and why you live an offbeat life?

David:

Yeah. Good question. So my name is David McNeil, I’m originally from the United States. And I guess what led me to lead an offbeat life is that I got interested in Japan and Japanese culture and the language back when I was 12 years old.

So I was living in Mobile, Alabama. Growing up there, not a whole lot of opportunities to use or speak, study Japanese but I took it on myself with the book and cassette tape to start studying. And that quickly became a real strong passion of mine.

And so I went to Japan for the first time when I was 17 in high school, that absolutely blew my mind. It was an incredible trip. Came back from that really excited and motivated to get abroad, a way to get to Japan one day.

And it took some years. I studied Japanese in university, went back for another trip when I was in university as well. And I couldn’t find that job coming out of school but I kept that dream alive. I started my career in the United States trying to figure out how it would happen down the road.

And after a couple of years working in a finance job, I studied finance as well in university, I moved to San Francisco, joined a mobile gaming company there. And after about eight months on the job, had the opportunity to go to Beijing, China.

So that was an incredible opportunity for me to be able to actually live a bit of that abroad life that I was dreaming about.

I came back from that work deployment which is about three months long. And then I got laid off from the job. That was a huge shock to me, I thought I was going to be going back to China. And there I was without a job, sitting on the side of the road with my box of desk ornaments. So that was not in the plan but I thought to myself, “This is not how I’m going to let that dream to live abroad die.”

And I traveled around Europe for nine weeks. And while I was doing that, I was taking interviews in Japan and China on the last day of that trip, right before I caught my plane back to San Francisco. I had a final interview with a company in Japan. And three months later, I was on a flight to Tokyo where I lived for two years, had an incredible experience.

And then following that, I moved to Berlin, Germany. Of course, we can talk through the details in our conversation as to why and how that happened. But I lived in Berlin, Germany for three years and about one and a half years ago, I moved here to Porto, Portugal where I’m living now. So it’s been a fun international journey, a lot of travels, a lot of living abroad. And yeah, I love this life.

Debbie:

Wow. That is pretty insane because you came from Mobile, Alabama, which probably some of our listeners may not even heard of, or they’re just like, “Where on earth is that?”

David:

A simple town.

Debbie:

That’s like the backcountry to now living to so many different and incredible and very international, super different places. First of all, how did you even get interested in the Japanese culture? Because how does a 17-year-old be like, “Oh my God, I’m going to learn Japanese from Mobile, Alabama. And then go to Japan and learn this in real life,” like, how does that happen, David?

David:

Yeah, that’s a good question. It was a long process but for me, it started with just an interest in the Japanese culture. As far as I was into video games, anime, all that good stuff that I think was really popular when I was growing up.

And the people around me were into Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, all that fun stuff. And so they got me into it and I just took it way further. I just thought, “I want to be able to watch and understand this in Japanese. How can I do that? Well, I better start studying?”

So yeah, I got that book and cassette tape set, did that. It was a three-month program. I did that a couple of times over for 30 minutes a day. And then thankfully with the family, we moved to Los Angeles, California, and there were many more opportunities to be able to engage with the Japanese culture and language.

I started going to afterschool programs, immersion programs, speech contests. I did all kinds of stuff just to try to further that interest and passion of mine. Ultimately, studying it in university. And I guess that’s kind of where it goes from there.

Debbie:

That’s amazing. I mean, like you mentioned, some kids are just interested in Pokemon and you took it to like another level.

David:

Exactly.

Debbie:

David’s like, “Yeah, that’s not enough for me. This is going to happen this way.” That’s pretty cool. I have to say. And now are you still fluent in Japanese?

David:

I am. So I guess to give another aspect of the story, my wife is Japanese but we met in Germany while we were living there in Berlin. So we met there. We were both outside of our home countries but indeed we speak about 50/50 Japanese and English.

Usually, I’m the one speaking English and then she responds in Japanese. So we both get to speak our native tongue but it’s more comfortable. And of course, sometimes we swap to English and Japanese but I guess that’s the way that it’s worked out in the last couple of years.

Debbie:

That’s pretty funny because it’s allowing you to keep that language, right? Because you’re still able to practice with your wife and also really funny how the world is and how destiny is because you wanted to learn Japanese, you went to the country, and then you end up meeting your Japanese wife, not even in Japan but in Germany. That’s so funny.

David:

Exactly.

David:

I find it pretty hilarious too because after that many years of studying Japanese, of being passionate about it, finally make it to Japan, and based on my work situation there. Ultimately, only stayed for two years. So I left thinking, “Well, that was a long time to stay the language and try to get there to ultimately move.

But I guess you can see the bigger picture later as it spins out. And of course, met my wife that way. So it’s pretty amazing from that perspective.

Debbie:

Yeah. That is incredible but I’m glad it worked out. It was destiny for you. Maybe you were like Japanese in your previous life. You don’t know, you were like, “I don’t know.”

David:

Yeah. I think it’s entirely possible but I’m trying to at least keep that previous life thread going now and we’ll see about the next life too.

Debbie:

Amazing.

So David, let’s talk about your preparation to do all of this stuff, right? Because already you’re someone who’s unconventional, you live this offbeat life even when you were a young kid, and you’re able to do this sustainably as an adult. How did you prepare to move to different countries, learn all of these different types of language and make this sustainable? How do you create your income?

David:

Yeah. So what I’ve been doing for the last, I guess, seven years prior to what I’m doing right now, so we’ll get to that in a second, but what I did to basically move abroad and be able to work in all those different countries was working as a product manager at tech companies.

So it wasn’t specific to any vertical within the tech space. It was gaming companies, it was consumer products, I worked in an ad tech company, all different types of positions but ultimately as a product manager. So for me, it was important to be able to leverage my skills and interests and my passions for what I could do in an international context but still be able to make it happen and be able to move to the countries I wanted to move to.

So it was never an easy process to find the next job or how to get to that next place that I wanted to be in. But I knew that it would be important to me on a personal level to be able to still continue my career, build my professional skillset, and further that as opposed to just sort of taking any job that came up along the way.

So what I do now, and this is how I’m trying to keep the abroad life and offbeat life going, is to be able to work for myself. So as part of all of my learnings over the last years, across all these different countries, I wanted to be able to also inspire and help other people to move abroad.

So I have started a business called Expat Empire, actually started as a side project back in 2018. But now through these sort of pandemic times, there was a great opportunity for me to make that into my full-time career. And so that’s exactly what I’m doing now in terms of building that business and helping other people to move abroad.

Debbie:

Amazing. And it’s something again that you’re passionate about. And it’s so interesting how all of these different passions are leading you to so many different things like moving abroad and now helping other people do the same thing.

Okay. So one of, I guess the biggest concerns that most people feel, especially when you’re going off on your own, is the unsecure income, right? Like, this is what people think that we do when we work for ourselves or maybe if you’re a freelancer, is that it’s not secure.

And it’s really interesting how the pandemic actually turned this around. Now everyone wants to have multiple streams of income, maybe even freelance because now, the regular nine to five is not as secure as most people think it is.

So for you, David, especially if you have a wife, you have a family, how do you make sure that you get over that hump? Maybe sometimes, it’s in all of us, even when you are this type of person who takes a bigger risk than the average normal person, we still have this in our head, right?

There’s still a lot of fears that come along with it. How do you get over that hump, especially when things are not “stable” as people say continuously?

David:

Yeah. I think it’s an excellent question. And what I’ve discovered over the last years of living this life in different countries is that indeed the most obvious I guess, or that the most normal path ends up being one of the most unstable insecure ones.

And just to put a number on it, I’ve worked at six jobs in seven years. So that’s a lot of jobs in a relatively short period of time. So I’ve seen, especially in the tech side of things in startups, so much instability. And yeah, just companies doing things I didn’t agree with and decided to move on to another company.

Basically three of those, I left voluntarily and three of them, I was laid off. So as I considered whether or not to go indeed freelance and build this business become more of a full-time entrepreneur, I actually realized, as I thought about it, that this way that’s the most secure path as we all are told to believe. Thus, from our parents and so on, ends up being quite insecure.

And so actually having your career in your own hands and being able to make money through different income streams, whether that’s locally or abroad, remote or finding a coworking space or whatever it is that you want to do, that can actually be a way for you to be able to take that risk into your own hands and hopefully do something pretty exciting and fun with it.

And I’ve found it to be extremely satisfying, rewarding. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing to have that responsibility on your shoulders. I think it’s a great way for people to go.

Debbie:

Yeah. Also, I think for, for a lot of us who are in this type of lifestyle, we get bored very easily, right? And that’s why we’re not really into the typical nine to five or you stay in that job until you die, until you have to retire, until you’re in your sixties.

Because we want something more. And I think I’ve said this before, sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be somebody who’s just okay with being at a nine to five coming home. It must feel a lot of times really good if you’re okay with that. You don’t want anything else. You’re just okay with how you are. I’m like, “That must feel really nice not to worry about other things.” Like, “What else can I do?”

David:

Yeah. And there were times in my career certainly where I was fine with that but then I’d find that my mind started wandering and I’d want to be doing something else and I wanted to be going toward the next goal. And I’d completely agree with you, sometimes I wish that that was the path that I had.

And I look at my peers, I look at people I graduated with or worked within my first job in finance or in other tech careers, and I’m a bit envious that they’ve made it up the corporate ladder and they’ve been able to be comfortable with it. But I think it took me this many, let’s say failures, whether it’s just joining companies that I wasn’t passionate about, getting laid off this, that, and the other to really realize that I am not that kind of person.

It’s surprising maybe that it took me this long to come to that realization. But once I really started to realize it, to internalize it, now I’m very comfortable saying, “Okay, yeah, that’s not my path. And I’m doing something very different but in its own way, that’s very freeing and satisfying as well.”

Debbie:

Yeah. And that’s the whole thing, everything that we’re doing. Yes, it’s risk-taking for a lot of people. Obviously, it’s also a risk for us. And a lot of times this is what I also find especially if you’re doing this later on in life, like, maybe you were in that grind, you were in that hamster wheel for maybe most of your twenties, and you decide to do this in your thirties, it’s like you’re starting back at square one.

And if you’re listening to this and that’s happening or if you’re thinking of taking that leap, it’s okay, we’ve all done it and there’s nothing wrong with it. It just means that you want something else. You want something more for yourself. And there’s also nothing wrong with staying at a nine to five but sometimes it’s just like something in you that is like a driving force. You can’t ignore it. It made me have panic attacks.

David:

Yeah. Exactly.

Debbie:

Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of sacrifices but at the end of the day, there’s a light-up beyond that. And there’s something so much more for you. But you have to take that risk. It’s something that most people can’t do that’s why they don’t do this lifestyle but if you’re willing to do it, there’s definitely something good that’s beyond that. But it takes a little bit more effort than staying in something that’s stable. That’s for sure.

David:

Yeah. I think in my experience, there were times where I thought did I want to go and really focus on Expat Empire earlier and make that my full-time thing from a side hustle, I guess you could say. And I just decided that time that it didn’t feel right. I wasn’t quite there. I.

think I needed to still figure it out more at that time, that was at the end of my time in Germany and we were trying to figure out how to come here to Portugal. And I just felt more comfortable. I felt in my heart, really, that it wasn’t the right time and I wanted to go find that next job, hopefully in Portugal, if we could make that happen, which ultimately we did.

And now that I’m here and set up, got the visa, got a bit more savings, got more experience than I was ready to make the move when the opportunity presented itself. So, absolutely take the time that you need, make sure that you’re in the right state of mind, you’ve got the right financial situation or whatever it is that you need to feel secure to be able to make that next step.

And also, I don’t think it needs to be this thing where somebody needs to drop out of high school or university, or it needs to go straight out of undergrad into creating their amazing startup. If it works for them, fantastic. But I think what’s been great for me is I’ve had that professional experience.

And what I saw in terms of the reason to create Expat Empire was I saw this thread in my experience. It was sort of like I was really going to these different countries because I wanted to live there. I still wanted to pursue my career but that wasn’t what I was really passionate about.

And so then the passion became even more clear after years of these different experiences. And so I would just recommend that to folks as well, like, try to see the big picture. For me, it wasn’t about the product management. It was about how it allowed me to have an interesting job while still living abroad. And then I took that and said, “Okay, the living abroad part, how can I focus in on that passion?”

Debbie:

So you mentioned that you had some money saved, you kind of made sure that things were in line before maybe you looked for another job or you moved somewhere else, what is your actual preparation before you move on to another job? Because sometimes we’re also scared of that. Like, we don’t want to let go of something and then we don’t know what’s going to happen to the next one.

So how do you prepare for it? What is your magic, like, thing that you do before you go off to another remote job?

David:

Yeah, let’s see. Well, in terms of my career, it’s definitely been, if I went to move to a different country, then I would sort of see if that was possible with my current company. Or of course, I would take the opportunity when I was laid off. Like I mentioned, to try to do something different and creates a natural break and a natural opportunity to make a change.

But in terms of, yeah, just being comfortable around in this particular position, it was that I was starting to get clients and starting to kind of figure out what Expat Empire was and what I was going to be doing and what that was going to look like. And I did have the savings there in place in case I need to fall back on them.

And I really tried to mentally prepare myself to use a certain amount of that to be able to invest in my business and myself, to be able to create this life. And maybe folks potentially might be asking, “Well, if you have these international jobs in these different countries you want to live in, you’re able to travel a lot, why didn’t you just keep trying to do that?”

And I think the difference was that I went to be able to be location independent. I know that’s a lot of what we’re talking about today and the focus on your podcast as well. We’re always talking about how to become location independent.

And I think being able to set my own hours, be my own boss, be able to not have to rely on anyone else for my visa, I don’t have to worry about another probation period at a new company or if I was going to be laid off but the next failed funding round or whatever it was. I got tired of all that.

So I think just finding your reason, I still have a motivation to go out and even reach that next mountain even though I’ve done so many things that I was dreaming about from when I was 12. So I’m really fortunate to be in this position but still, it’s always what’s the next thing what’s driving you and what’s the reason for doing it.

And yeah, I think focusing on that is really important.

Debbie:

Kind of amazing how you are living your 12-year-old dream. Like, you learned the language, you lived there, you have a Japanese wife, you’re living all over the place. Like, it’s pretty amazing, which is kind of awesome.

Also make sure to listen to our extended interview with David, because we’re actually going to go deeper into how to prepare to move abroad and even find jobs when you’re actually in the country already and maybe even before. ‘Cause this is what you do, David, you literally went from one job to the next, the last few years before you started your company and you did this successfully and you’re able to do this and make this a more sustainable type of lifestyle for you. So I’m really excited to talk to you more about that and they extended the interview.

But I do want to know how do you usually manage your time when you are going off to all of these different locations, especially when you’re just there and it’s a brand new place. And for me, I definitely get distracted. That’s why I didn’t become a digital nomad. That’s why I do what you do, David, which is like, stay at a place and have a home base.

But yeah. How do you do it? How do you manage your time when, when you’re not in your home base location or even when you are, and you’re just in a different country?

David:

Yeah. I think for me, I’ve become quite comfortable with the, let’s say 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM kind of timeframe. That’s what I’ve been doing as a product manager at these tech companies for the most part. I mean, of course, it varies here and there, and naturally, there’s can be some late nights or early mornings but I think just maintaining that.

And I still keep a Monday to Friday schedule. Of course, I usually put in some hours on Sunday or whatnot. I try to give myself at least one day off but I sort of planned it around that. And when I’m doing something remotely, when I’m being more nomadic then it becomes making the most of the morning going to get a nice coffee, a great cafe, or whatever, and then really settling in doing my work for the day.

I usually take a couple of breaks, enjoy the sun, walk around and explore, and then definitely take advantage of the nights as well.

So I think, yeah, my style is probably just being a bit slower and purposeful about making sure that the work gets done because I don’t know about you but I get this a bit of guilty sensation if I haven’t knocked all the to do’s off of my list for the day or didn’t feel like I put in enough time, which is unfortunate. I think that comes from that American background and mentality.

My first job was in investment banking actually. So when I worked those crazy hours with those insane deadlines, that was maybe the mentality that I still carry a bit and I think I have balanced it out pretty well with being in Europe for some years now. So you become the kind of a mix of all these things but I think just having that time and space to focus on work and then to focus on fun and giving yourself that break when you need it.

And ultimately recognizing that if it’s just a short trip, for example for a week, then, we’ll try to make the best of it. If you can move some meetings around do that but obviously, if you’re constantly on the move, I think it’s important just to create those boundaries.

Debbie:

Yeah. I really love that you set time for yourself to work and then you make sure you do that. You really set that time because a lot of times when we’re abroad and, like I mentioned, when we’re there, oh, discipline, that’s the word.

This is why I don’t know the word is because I am not disciplined but anyways…

David:

We have our own styles. No problem.

Debbie:

Right? And that’s the thing. I think that’s the key to really making sure that you make this lifestyle work is you have to be disciplined and I have a problem with that. That’s why I actually have assistants because I’m bad with my discipline.

David:

But having assistants is fantastic as well because then you can better leverage your time.

Debbie:

Exactly.

David:

And yeah, they can remind you of what you need to do or what you need to know. But I think that just helps us to be more successful entrepreneurs. So I think it’s a great skill set and situation to set up for people that are looking at this lifestyle.

Debbie:

Yeah. Absolutely. Because honestly there are days that I don’t work and then things are still getting done and it’s because of like the four people that helped me out in my business because, David, if I didn’t, I would not be in business right now.

David:

Yeah. Good to know the truth of the matter.

Debbie:

Yeah, exactly. That’s the truth guys. That’s the full truth.

So let’s talk about when you are traveling to all of these different countries, obviously, you’re an American but you haven’t lived in the US for a while now. You kind of been bouncing to different countries and that’s amazing. What type of international insurance do you actually use?

David:

Yeah. So a big difference, I guess from the typical, let’s say digital nomad, is that I do have a home base. So I am based here in Portugal right now. As I mentioned, I’ve been to Japan and Germany before. And so having that residence, it becomes my tax residence.

I also am able to register on the public health care system here but for some jobs I’ve been able to get private health insurance plans on top of that, depending on the situation in the company. But in general, yeah, public health insurance has been great in terms of my travel.

I do use kind of a smaller sort of travel insurance that I do annually. I believe Worldwide Insurance is the name, UK-based company. And so I do that. Yeah, personally but I know there are a lot of great companies out there that can help people to solve this problem.

Debbie:

Yeah, It’s amazing because I’ve heard this from other digital nomads too, where if you are a resident of a country, you can actually possibly be included in their insurance policies, which is amazing. But unfortunately for us who are based in the United States, that is not the case. So which is really annoying but it’s nice to know that if you go to a different country, you may be covered. So that’s really good.

But for us, for someone like me, who’s based here in the United States, finding insurance when you’re in a study location is hard enough, we know that as Americans, but it’s even harder when you’re on the road and you’re not like a full-on citizen, or if you don’t live there permanently like David is.

And when I’m doing that, when I’m traveling and I’m on the road, I’m always confused by all their requirements that they need from me. And I need a ton of help to get through the process if I have to claim something. And that’s why I’m really excited and I’m really glad that I found Integra Global who has the most incredible customer service because we all need that.

I know I’m always, like, so feather-brained when I’m abroad. So they have 24 7 help. You can submit a claim through their app and your claims are managed by their in-house global expert teams who are able to handle any issues which mean less stress and panic because that’s what I usually do.

So make sure to go to IntegrityGlobal.com for more details and they are pretty awesome if you have to do that. So, yeah, make sure to check them out again. It’s IntegraGlobal.com.

Thank you, David, for sharing with us, all of the information that really allowed you to have the international insurance ’cause that’s so important right now.

So, David, let’s fast forward to around maybe 40 to 50 years from now and you’re looking back at your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you want to be remembered for?

David:

That is a big question. I think the thing that comes to mind first is that one thing that’s led me to lead this life is this idea that I wanted to be the old man, the grandpa whatever the situation is in the future that has a lot of great stories. And I think that’s what drove me so far.

Actually, I know we’ve talked before and at least for me, it was my grandfather that was in the Navy. He was in the Navy for 20 years and he told me all these amazing stories about traveling all over the world and these world cruises. And that really inspired me from a young age to want to travel, to want to see the world, and to have those stories to share.

So I think that’s been a big driving force for me. But in terms of what I want my legacy to be, or to be remembered by, I think just, yeah, I hope that I’m able to honestly make a difference in a lot of people’s lives as far as inspiring and supporting them, helping them to move abroad.

I know how much it’s changed my life. I know I’m a very different person I believe then I was back in the United States. Of course, time changes people as well. But these great experiences meeting people from all over the world, seeing these different countries, religions, traditions, trying different foods, just making this kind of worldwide group of friends.

It’s been incredible. And so if I can help other people to do that and share the message and share the the joys of travel and living abroad, then I think I’ve done a good job.

Debbie:

There’s definitely a lot of stories and you’re not even a grandpa yet.

David:

Yeah. Hopefully, I won’t be the grandpa that’s always telling the same story. I guess that’s part of it too.

Debbie:

It’d be like, that’s just like that one time that you risked something in your life. So I don’t think that’s you, David, because pretty much every day you’re doing something that’s pretty risky and I think you’ll have enough stories. Your grandkids would probably be like, “All right, grandpa, that’s too many.”

David:

Well, hopefully, they also create some and tell them back. So yeah.

Debbie:

You can go back in forth with each other.

David:

Then I think that will be the full legacy.

Debbie:

Exactly. So, I mean, it started with your grandpa. It’s coming to you. It’ll be going to your kids someday. That’s awesome.

All right, David, before we say goodbye, I have five rapid questions for you. Are you ready?

David:

I believe I am.

Debbie:

Awesome. Okay. First, what has been the best money you’ve ever spent while abroad and why?

David:

Actually, one thing just popped in my head so I’m going to share that one. It was in Vietnam getting one of those spring rolls on the side of the road. That was incredible and most so cheap.

Debbie:

Oh my God. I’m all about the food.

David:

Oh yeah. I think that’s probably going to be the answer to all the questions

Debbie:

Like food, food, everything, food.

All right. Next, describe what your ideal day would look like.

David:

Yes. Well, funny enough, no matter where my wife and I travel, it seems like we always have the same day which is a great thing. But our day is maybe 9, 10, 11 am go get a great coffee at an awesome cafe. So outside soak up the rays, have an awesome lunch.

Then in the afternoon, take a nap or go for a massage or something like that. Go to the bar, get some nice beer or food and things like that in the evening. And then, yeah, just have a walk preferably on or by the beach because that’s also why we came out here to Porto Portugal because it’s right on the beach.

So yeah, we get to live a pretty good life here. And even when we travel, it’s kind of what we ended up doing anyway.

Debbie:

That’s amazing. I’m like, “Hey, describe your ideal day.” And then you’re like, “I’m already living it, okay?”

David:

It’s taken some time to get here. I’m milking it as much as possible.

Debbie:

Exactly. You’ve worked really hard to get there. You should. It’s amazing.

All right. So what do you think, where is the best place, the best location to live as a remote worker?

David:

Hmm. Well, I’m not sure about one specific spot but I have seen a lot of Southeast Asia over the years. I know it’s the normal places that people go there and I’m sure people will say Bali and Thailand and so on but just in general, that whole region is so much fun.

It’s cheap. It’s fun. There’s always something going on. And at the time I think living in China, whereas getting travel there some, I also studied abroad. I didn’t mention this. I studied abroad in Singapore, so I got to travel around Southeast Asia a lot.

And then yeah, living in Japan, going over there, I got like a little tired of the area. And so I was glad to come to Europe but now that I’m here, I’m excited to go and visit again. So I think that’s a great place to be.

Debbie:

Amazing. I will agree with that. I am a Filipino.

David:

There you go.

Debbie:

So yeah, Southeast Asia is awesome.

David:

Oh, yeah.

Debbie:

All right. Next, if you could have one superpower, David, what would it be?

David:

Oh, actually this is kind of an easy one for me. I wish I had the power of teleportation, so I didn’t have to take any flights anymore.

Debbie:

Nice, nice. It’s so funny ’cause I’ve asked us to a bunch of other digital nomads and remote workers and they’re always like to fly and I’m like, “Okay, if you could fly, though, if you have a significant partner like you have a significant other, would you be able to fly them on your back?” Like, “How is this going to happen?”

David:

Right.

Debbie:

And I forgot who said it, one of them answered. I think it was Alex, Alex on the map. I think she was like, he would have to just go on the plane ’cause I’m not putting him on my back.

David:

Then you got a couple of hours to yourself and you can get set up.

Debbie:

Exactly. Especially if it’s a flight that’s like 15 hours long, I would rather do teleportation than flying, honestly. I think you have something good there. I will go with you on that one, David.

All right. Last question, what’s the one thing that you wish you did sooner?

David:

Hmm, that’s a good one. Well, I think an easy answer would just be to kind of believe that I could get abroad on my own more quickly, I guess especially at the beginning of my career, I was definitely more risk-averse. And so I was really focused on my career and so on.

I think that’s been great overall, I suppose. I’m not sure how much I would change it but I also feel like I was always thinking I had to jump with a job. I had to get the job there first. I don’t want to leave the company before I have something.

And so I think that kind of fear-based, I need to have the safety net type feeling that was there for a long time. It’s probably something that I wish I had lost. I still kind of have that a bit but obviously, I’m going out without too much of a safety net right now. At least the most I have in my life so far.

So to that extent, I’m trying to break that habit. But yeah, that’s something that I think is probably worth thinking about for your listeners as well.

Debbie:

I love that. Yeah. There’s never a perfect time for anything.

David:

Yeah.

Debbie:

You can’t overcomplicate things, obviously, you don’t want to take things too lightly but I think most of us overthink things too. So there has to be a balance with that as well.

Alright. Thank you so much, David, for being here with us. If our listeners want to know more about you, where can they find you?

David:

Yeah. I’ll just suggest that they all check out ExpatEmpire.com. There they can get our free ebook. They can also schedule a call with me and then talk through their plans and see if it makes sense for us to try to work together in some aspect, their journey to move abroad, whether as a digital nomad or trying to move somewhere long-term.

Yeah. So I hope that you connect with this there. Of course, on social media @expediteempire as well.

Debbie:

Thanks so much, David. We really appreciate you.

David:

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.


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Show Credits:

Audio Engineer: Ben Smith

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