Shithole President Stains the USA

I just read what Trump said about immigrants from countries like Haiti,and nations across Africa. I just kept repeating “Wow…wow…”

That was about 5 minutes ago. And so I’m posting my shock.

shithole president

Let me say this. If you aren’t as appalled at that as I am – close your browser and carry on somewhere else –I don’t need ya, nor want ya.

Look, when I left the US, it was to seek a better life, starting with my new family. We found great happiness in Prague for several years, and now live in Canada.

Since this blog started 9 years ago, I’ve helped many people find their own better life. Most have left the US for places abroad, while others seek to move to the US.

In all cases, they were immigrants to their new home. And in all cases, they enjoy sharing life and community under a new host country’s government. After Trump’s latest diarrhea of the mouth, I can’t imagine any new US immigrants feeling welcome. That makes me really sad.

Americans – Two Weeks Free

I’m helping US folks however I can. If you are a US wanting to try life overseas – let me start you on the right track. I enabled a “14-day trial” on my Gone in One Year program. Yeah, this is a plug, but yes, from the heart.

ways to expatriate

Click on the link – and sign up. Two weeks, on me. (And cheap after that)

 

How Not To Miss Home When It’s Christmas Time

Christmas time is a blissful time. It’s the period when families gather together and spend cozy evenings with tasty treats and board games. But what can do those who are away from their relatives and friends during these merry winter holidays around the world? Homesickness is the feeling that can spoil even the most festive celebration. In this article, we share some tips and advice on how to handle homesickness during Christmas time.

  1. Delve into decorating your dwelling

There is no better activity than decorating your dwelling on Christmas. Buying decorations, bright balls, and Christmas tree will make you forget about your home and bring some festive touches to your place.

How not to be homesick during holidays? Watch your favorite movie (even if it’s not so christmas-related) and cook some tasty for dinner. You cannot stop missing home at once, but these simple festive rituals will make first the hardest sings of homesickness disappear.

  1. Do things you loved doing at home

This may sound strange, but things that cause nostalgia, make a person feel better. Traditions and rituals keep us connected with your happy place, even when you are away from it. Eat your favorite food you used to eat in the past. Treats can help calm you down. Familiar dishes from childhood or your culture will help you feel better in a new environment.

If you loved having a bubble bath or chatting with mom in the evenings, hold up the traditions and do the things that make you feel nostalgic.

  1. Get out of the house

Start to leave the house, and half the job is done. Of course, you will feel sad if you watch series all the day sitting in semi-darkness. Better spend more time outside the apartment – read a book in the park or just go for a walk with a friend, instead of eating your heart out in your room.

Work or study outside your house. Take your laptop to get access to Wikipedia and EduBirdy, go to the coffee shop or the park and do what you have planned to do at home. If you are surrounded by other people, you will not be feeling depressed and alone.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone.

Doing the usual things is very convenient, but it’s also important to take yourself out of the comfort zone to grow and change. If you are too comfortable, you will not be able to get used to the new environment.

Start with turning your festive dinner at home into one at the restaurant. Invite colleagues or acquaintances to share delicious dishes and have a glass wine in a new environment. New people can become dear friends and help you overcome your sadness.

  1. Take up a hobby

A hobby is a great way to get lost in something new and exciting. You will direct your energy to something useful and distract yourself from sad thoughts and loneliness. Also, it will help get out of comfort zone.

Start a hobby that will be associated with your new environment. Join the group of cyclists in your city. Sign up for art classes or start craft courses. Look for cooking classes and learn how to prepare something delicious for Christmas. If you communicate with new people and at the same time master new skills, it will be easier for you to get used to new place.

  1. Arrange a big party

The most effective method to beat homesickness is new friends. If you are supported by new people, you are unlikely to have problems with anguish, even if you feel it.

Arrange a party, treat your friends with your favorite Christmassy home-made food and share your traditions with them. It does not matter whether you went abroad to work or just went to university to a city that is a couple of hours away from your homeland – it will help you feel better. You can arrange a cooking party and teach your friends to prepare your favorite food or simply treat your new acquaintances with traditional snacks.

  1. Keep in touch with family and old friends

Give us a kissThis will allow you to feel their support and care, which is very important when adapting to a new place and learning how to overcome homesickness abroad. Talk with your family members via Skype, send them some presents and keep up with the news. But do not allow yourself to be too attached to your beloved ones who are not with you now. Otherwise you will not learn to live independently. Learn to control yourself and let new people in your life, which will make your celebration as fun as it could be at your home.

 

How Long Does It Take to Move Abroad?

Quick question:How long does it take to leave?
Answer: about 3 months.  Three months from decision to your new country.

This is not the same as how long before I board my flight (airlines require you arrive 2 hours before your flight …okay, a small joke)

But seriously, how much preparation time do you think you need? If you already made the decision you want to live abroad, then it takes 3 months, from start to finish. That’s my experience and I see no reason why anyone else couldn’t have a similar experience.

Below is our timeline when we moved from the US to Prague, Czech Republic:

Our Timeline:
23 March: Initial inquiry about a couple jobs
03 April Telephone interview w/manager
02 May Face-to-face interview in Prague
05 May Offer tendered and accepted, to start 3 July
26 May Wife’s last day of work
31 May House on market; luckily sold soon from real estate boom
21 June House sale ‘closed’
5-11 June Jeff & friend went apartment shopping in Prague
30 June Jeff leaves for Prague
3 July Jeff starts first day at work

Okay, that’s 3 months and a week. But it’s way faster than 6 months. And definitely not two years, or even 1 year.

The next 20 years will fly – don’t you think it’s time you did, too?
Don’t live with regret for not trying, not going for it.

moving to london
Linked to where I help

 

7 First Impression Tips for Travelers

First impressions. You only get one chance at them. So, let’s talk how you make the best first impression, before that day comes.

First Impressions Are Important

Always good to make a good first impression. That’s true when meeting anyone. But when we move overseas, especially to places where we’re obviously the minority, people take special notice of you.

So, when we move abroad, that first impression can be huge, and lasting. Here are 7 tips to help us not embarrass ourselves.

1. Study / Research / Learn

Before you board any plane, you’re thinking about a zillion things at once. You’re thinking about a job and where to stay. You’re thinking about money, the cost of food, transportation, electricity. And what about the language…should you learn 1-10 first, or “where’s the bathroom?”. Or maybe you’re already dreaming what hot vacation spots are nearby.

First things first: learn proper greetings, ways to say thank you, sorry, and how much. Research cultural differences, like personal space, what hand to use, eye contact and many more – all these help shape that first impression.

2. Two Ears > One Mouth

The other day I heard a mother sternly say to her child: “You have two ears, but only one mouth for a reason!”

At the time, I thought “What a bitch.” But I’m a dad and felt her frustration.

Anyway, the phrase works for new expats— keep your ears (& eyes) open. The greatest opportunity for this is when you’re with new people and you watch them greet each other, and how they introduce you to others.

Listen and watch closely. Then speak or do. Or try at least.

3. When Shaking Hands, Don’t be a Dominant Braggart

Handshaking is just one example, a clear jab at US President trump. Because, to rest of the world, he is the perfect “dominant braggart.”

When you’re about to make a first impression, you might be nervous. That’s cool and totally understandable. Anyone who cares, is going to be a bit nervous. But it doesn’t mean overcompensate, go over the top with dominance and showmanship.

Trump handshake

In general, don’t be an asshole.

4. Be Humble and Confident.

This is a step up from #3. Confidence and courage come from being calm.

If you don’t feel confident, then fake it till you make it. You’ll find, faster than you can imagine, your confidence gets very real.

5. Loudly, Slowly, Smile

I bet I have written this phrase on the site before. If I wrote “loudly, slowly, smile” before, I also probably told the story.

In South Korea, waaay back in 1996, when a sweet teen-aged student told the new, nervous TESL teacher (me), how some days I was a better teacher on some days than other days. The “good days, you are loudly, slowly. And smile.”

Proof having a calm, happy confidence works.
Speak loudly, speak slowly and with a sincere smile.

6. Speak With Your Body

Most communication is non-verbal. You probably hear that as much as “make a good first impression.”

And what about when traveling or living abroad? Wow, when abroad, the non-verbal communication takes over! Especially when we don’t understand the host language (–and they don’t understand yours).

This brings up two important points. First, be mindful of your normal non-verbal communication (stance, facial expression, arm/hands waving). Basically, what you appear to say if you were in a silent picture. Second, be mindful of how you use your hands or sounds to get your idea across (gestures, pointing). This is super useful for communicating your question or idea, but be aware some gesture innocent to you, turns out to be offensive to someone else.

When there’s a language barrier, non-verbal communication can become the only language. Use it well!

7. Never Stop Improving on that First Impression

Hey, the bottom line is, it is loads of fun living abroad, communicating and understanding others. It’s a journey of a 1000 steps.

Sure, it starts with the best first impression. But everyone you meet recognizes you’re new to their home and their ways. You’ll be given lots of latitude in improving on that first impression.

 

 

True Patriots Can Protest their National Anthem

Not sure if I’m addicted to the news, but I’ll admit, Trump entertains me. Like every day it seems. It’s uncanny how often I ask “What could top this?
And then Trump does something worse. And again…and again…

Here’s just a few sports-related highlights over the past 48 hours:

Petulant Child-in-Chief

Just this morning, President Cheeto tweets his feelings got hurt when a NBA player wouldn’t be honoured to visit the White House.

Dictator-in-Chief

Just yesterday Trump actually got his latest rally crowd into a fervor, chanting “USA!! USA!! USA!!” He asked the crowd “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag, get that son-of-a-bitch off the field! He’s fired!

Within seconds, the crowd is revved up, chanting, like the pissed off sheep that they are.

And what caused Trump’s panty-twist? Colin Kaepernick, a former SF 49er’s player took a knee last year during the national anthem, to protest how, even in 2017, the US still has a massive problem with racial injustice. Trump couldn’t disagree more.

Racist-in-Chief

If you’re confused that President Cheeto would get angry by a minority athlete raising awareness, it makes more sense when you remember Trump also defended the nazis parading in Charlottesville. Yeah, remember way back (just a few weeks), when Trump defended their group as having “some very fine people“?

 

Endless Entertainment

I can see how Trump supporters must view the media as constantly attacking him. I understand it. He supplies endless fodder for them. Maybe I am addicted to watching this train wreck.

Thankfully, I’m not on the railroad tracks, per se. We live in Canada. That said, we’re well affected by Cheeto’s escapades. But maybe I’ll dive into that in another post.

Cheers, -Jeff

 

 

 

 

Flowfold Wallets – Flexible Strength from Maine, USA

This is a review of a few wallets from a cool startup in Maine. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised as I was.

First, I got two quick disclaimers:

  1. I was sent these sample wallets, for my honest review.
  2. I’ve been travelling a lot to Maine lately.

Wait, what? Those 2 things aren’t related. But #2 has me writing this from the heart. When the mailman delivered a couple wallets and I saw they’re from Peaks Island, Maine, located just outside Portland, I was stoked. More on Maine later – for now, check out these four wallets.

 Four Wallets, Four Styles

I got four wallets from Flowfold. All of them give an early impression of lightweight strength.

The Minimalist: card sleeve for the bare essentials

The Traveler: standard tri-fold wallet, but super light. Thin but tough.

The Navigator: for your passport, 2 nation’s bills & a several cards. Keeping it light.

The Vanguard: standard bi-fold, my favourite for simple style and feel.

My 2 Cents on Each

You got some pictures and some thoughts. But nothing beats having your hands on these. So, let me give you some of my thoughts, based on hands-on experience.

When the brand manager offered to send a few wallets, I was open to the idea. When I saw their styles online, I was interested. And, when I got them in hand, then I was convinced. These wallets are, in few words, thin, tough, and very lightweight. But their mass doesn’t suggest weakness.

On the Minimalist, this wallet is for the quick grab-and-go, with the bare essentials. It is obviously for when you’re needing to keep on your just the minimum. Now, their website specifies “6-8 credit cards and a few bills.” Personally, I found 6 cards and one folded bill are the max I’d want to force in. And a good thing that it will still snugly hold in just 2-4 cards, without worry.

On the Traveler, this was a pleasant surprise. It held as much as a tri-fold can, but still felt only like a bi-fold in the back pocket. You know, when I was a young buck, I loved tri-fold wallets, how they held so much, -I was somebody special with a huge wallet! But now, as a much older guy, I don’t want to feel like I’m sitting on a small book. No worries- the Traveler delivers exceptionally there – it holds plenty, but the wallet itself hardly takes any space. Pictured above is the “black pearl” style.

On the Vanguard, this thing is thin – it’s almost like a minimalist in the hand. But it’s a bi-fold. I end up switching personal wallets and using this one for good.  Pictured above is the wallet in Heather Grey, which is my favourite style of all sampled.

On the Navigator, Now we’re talking to people with a passport to carry. You can just barely see my passport included in the above picture. The Navigator sleeves the passport on the right, while cards, bills are on the left. Note, there are two areas for bills, if you wish to different currencies separate. Overall, and I sound like a broken record, the wallet is deceivingly lightweight, but it has obvious strength. Definitely the biggest of all, tipping the scale at a whopping 31 grams or 1 ounce. Ha! – the sugar I put in coffee weighs more than this wallet.

Overall – for all these wallets, I keep on about how light they are. Naturally, after you put in all the cards, etc, your wallet will have some weight to it. But it is nice the wallet itself adds almost nothing. Most people choosing a heavy leather wallet only mean to double how much mass in in their back pocket all day.  When I’m driving, walking or riding a bike, I much prefer feeling only the necessities.

Me & Maine

Like I say above, I’ve been travelling to Maine a lot lately. For the first time in several years, I am over the 330+ day “outside the US” rule. Meaning, I spent more than 30 days within a 12-month period within the US – ruining tax exempt status. But I digress… back to why these wallets are cool.
In a few words, life and the people of Maine are sweet, simple and easy going. In fact, when you drive into Maine, the road sign says it best: “The Way Life Should Be.”

the way life should be

From their literature and site, you learn that Flowfold is based in Peaks Island, Maine. Where is Peaks Island, you ask? Peaks Island is a small but popular island reachable by ferry from downtown Portland. Knowing the Flowfold concept originated from Maine, it tells me that these wallets “are the way a wallet should be.” (yeah, a bit cheesy)

 

American Politics in the Gutter

If you live in the States (hell, anywhere), you’re all too aware of the train-wreck that is the U.S. White House.

In years past, to be “presidential” meant to be solemn, dignified and refined. Perhaps even elevated and formal. Perform like a statesman and an inspired leader. And as a leader of other refined and formal men and women under you.

The White House today is far from refined and formal.

Here’s a quote from today, from Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s contentious pick as his Communications Director:

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,”

This is literally an unsolicited, on-the-record statement, to a reporter, from the official White House Communications Director, regarding the Chief Strategist to the President of the United States of America.

And for Scaramucci, that’s just the tip (of the iceberg). He’s a true vulgarian.

Holy shit guys. I mean, really… how much farther does it need to go before you decide this is the perfect time to get away for a few years.

Need to know how? Join the Expat program, of Gone in One Year. And be gone, done with this train-wreck.

How Not To Pay Taxes (How to not pay Trump to golf)

Two things Americans don’t like:

  1. Paying taxes.
  2. Watching their President play so much golf.

Well, sadly, as an American you must pay taxes.
Correction: you must report that you have income.

The good news is, as an American, you only need to file. You don’t usually have to pay anything. And for most expats (people living abroad), you very likely won’t pay a dime to the US. But you still must file.

As an American living abroad, you file every year about your income, your bank accounts, any foreign loans (e.g. mortgage) …and your paid taxes. This is the pain in the ass part of living abroad.

For the good news when living abroad, your income is tax exempt. Yes, you read that right. When you file your taxes, you include filing a form 2555, or the “Foreign Earned Income Exclusion” form. It’s not a difficult form, but it’s a very important one. Very important to you, if you don’t like paying taxes.

Why Not Pay Taxes?

Why not pay taxes? Because it goes to Trump’s pocket. Want to know how you don’t pay Trump and his family for his golf trips? Read on.

You probably know this already (unless you only watch Fox News). But Trump plays a lot of golf. And he, all the security people, the whole entourage, guests, etc… pay to be there. Who pays for everyone? Taxpayers do. (That’s you.) Trump is President now, so he’s paid for by the people.

Where does the money go? Who owns each and every golf course and resort? Trump and his family.

Sorry if this is too much hand-holding. It is simple and straight-forward.

How to Stop Paying Trump to Golf?

Move abroad.

Enjoy more in life. Live in a new culture. Eat your favorite “foreign” food. Even learn a new language. Raise your kids in a fairer, smarter school system. All these benefits, if you can just get past the one step, the one mental hurdle – move abroad.

Once abroad, you’ll earn your income as always. And you’ll file and pay taxes there. You’ll also file taxes in the US, but you won’t pay anything.

The home country will make better use of your tax dollars (euros, yen, dinars). And your kids will be much better off for it. Think of how differently your children will see the world, if they experience it first-hand, rather than read only how others see the US in the news.