Timeline to a New Life

Below is a post I first wrote in November 2009. (Whew, how time flies!) I figure it might help a few others with the same questions I had back then.

expat man jumping shipIf you’re thinking about starting over completely new, you may wonder “How long it will take?

Fair question – and here’s my answer: 3 months. Three months is all it takes to drastically change your life, self and all that’s around you. And that’s assuming you have a house, job, perhaps even family as we did. Even as “settled” as we were, it was just 3 months from wondering about getting work overseas to all moved and working overseas.

Our Timeline:
23 April 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

We moved to Prague, Czech Republic in July 2006. On July 3rd, 2006, I started my first day at work at a new job. It was Only 3 Months Before, I was thinking “Our life needs some adventure – I wonder how I should look for something new?”
It didn’t take me long and we got what we asked for.

Gi1YsuitcaseUPDATE:

I’ve documented this whole thing in a detailed, step-by-step process. If you are interested, think about the “Gone In One Year” (here‘s a link).

Thanks,
-Jeff

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Jeff

An American who likes to move around. I now live on the eastern Canadian seaboard. My job? A stay-at-home dad for two cute but demanding bosses. My wife? Also cute; not so demanding. My wife and I both love travel. We met in South Korea, travelled across Australia, India, Europe and beyond. We lived in Czech Republic for four years. Many stories to tell and experience to share. If you let me, I will help you travel as we do. Enjoy.

8 thoughts on “Timeline to a New Life”

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. I’ve been wanting to “expat myself” for years, and have been putting it off for various reasons. My wife and I have now agreed that this will be our #1 priority once she finishes her Ph.D.

    But, where I keep getting hung up is: “Would a company on the other side of the ocean *really* be willing to go to the expense of flying me over for an interview? Wouldn’t they just find a local candidate who is just as talented as me instead?” Is this fear unreasonable? I mean, my current company in the US has had no qualms about flying in candidates from other US cities…but to me a trans-oceanic flight just for an interview seems like a barrier.

    Thanks!

  2. (Already responded by e-mail, but I’ll include my reply here for others)

    hey Jon,

    Got your comment and I wanted to immediately respond to the idea that a transoceanic flight would present a barrier to employment.

    I firmly believe – absolutely not a barrier at all.

    Take my case here as an example. Four years ago, I had submitted my CV to targeted recruiters in a few, selected cities (my wife and I cut our list down to just Prague, Barcelona & Auckland). The recruiter in Prague let me know of a company interested in a phone interview. The interview lasted less than an hour, ending with an offer to fly me over for 2 days, flight and hotel paid by the company (regardless whether an offer would be extended). Economy ticket and a budget, family hotel, but at the time I was also impressed by the expense.

    I did in fact get the job (and am still with them today), but from coworkers I’ve heard the practice is not uncommon. I can understand more now, considering the popularity of foreign workers, particularly native English speakers. Really, what is a 2000 euros investment when compared to securing the preferred employee, from a much wider pool of candidates?

    I do hope you keep in touch.

    -Jeff

  3. Thank you for your reply, Jeff!
    It seems that perhaps my next step should be to seek out a few qualified recruiters in the proper locations and industries.
    I look forward to following this site as it grows!

  4. Hiya,

    So I stumbled on your blog tonight while on my search for more information about moving out of the US. And I’m not sure I could have entered it more serendipitously than through the “Why Are People Leaving The US, Part II” post, where you talk about the feeling of sleepwalking through life. It’s the same feeling we’ve had for some time. My wife and I even did something about it – we sold a house, packed up our stuff, and traveled out of the US for 15 months.

    In the end, though, lacking further plans, we returned to the US and I took on another IT position. Now we’ve been back for well over a year, and can feel the mindless hurry of everyday life swallowing us again. We’d love to actually move overseas, and so I’ve been engaged in research.

    The biggest hurdle I’m facing is how to identify foreign recruiters interested in hiring someone from the US. I’ve tried emailing a few promising-sounding organizations such as Hayes, but the ones I’ve talked to so far are not interested unless I’ve already put out the time (and effort, and money) to obtain the legal right to work in whatever country about which I am inquiring. I’ve looked into this for some of the locations that we’re most interested in, and in general it’s not a simple, cheap, or quick process.

    The reality is that there are many places we’ve love to spend at least a year in. Pinning our hopes and investing lots of time and money to resolve the legal issues for just one, in hopes of finding a job AFTER all the paperwork is done (and months down the road), seems misguided. It’s especially frustrating when what I really want is to uncover several of the possibilities for our lives out of the US, then pursue those that are the most interesting.

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the issues surrounding locating the expat recruiters you really want to talk to – and who want to talk to you – and I’d love to see a post describing how you surmounted this challenge.

    Cheers,

    Justin

  5. Good comment, Justin. I’ll echo your last sentence – I’d love to see a post on that as well.

    Jeff, it’s been a bit over a year since my last comment. To update you, my wife should finish her Ph.D. in August, 2012. We’re looking at available Fullbright programs that she could do after that. The thing we’re struggling with at the moment is that apparently you can only apply for one country. So if we apply for a very popular country, there’s statistically probably about an 80% chance that she wouldn’t get a placement at all. But if we applied for a less popular country, her chances would be much greater. So far, we’re finding that the places we would most like to live are the more popular places. Deciding whether to “bet the farm” and apply to a country high on our list but with a high probability of ending up with nothing, or to take safer odds of placement and apply to somewhere that we might not enjoy nearly as much, is turning out to be a difficult exercise.

    Of course, this isn’t the only avenue available to us as far as living abroad, so perhaps I’m worrying too much about it. I spoke with my boss at my last performance review, and he said that if I want to go overseas in 5 years or so, he would probably be okay with me working from home full-time, wherever home would be (wow!!) He also said he would not be comfortable with that happening in only 2 years, but that there may be other departments in my company where it might be possible for me to work for this company but live abroad. I’m a computer programmer, and that last option I mentioned might involve switching to the marketing department or something, and I have no idea if I’d be any good at that, though. And as far as the working from home option, I wonder whether that would result in me integrating into the new country at a much slower rate.

    That was longer than I intended, but wanted to give you an update since it’s been a while. Take care!

    1. Jon – so glad to hear back from you – Thanks!

      The “bet the farm” decision is a toughie. 🙂 I’m keeping my mouth shut from offering “Well, if I were in your shoes…” only because I think it’s solely between the mrs & you. But I guarantee that’s one decision many others wish they had to make, too. 😉

      To you, and to Justin, I hear you – and yes, I’ll work on that requested post. I thank you both for the tip.

      Cheers,
      -Jeff

  6. Jeff-

    My boyfriend of 18 months lives in London, we have been doing the long distance thing for ages. We are not ready to jump into a marriage until we know we can stand each other full time 😉 .

    He is eager and ready for me to arrive but we need my income for the long term and my sanity. If I take this leap of faith with no Visa and move for the 90 days (max with no Visa) is a recruiter likely to pick up my CV and offer to sponsor me for a work Visa? Or is there a better option, such as Entrepreneur Visa ?

    I have an Associate’s degree in Business, but I am assuming that isn’t going to get me very far.

    Any tips, advice, etc…. ?

    All is appreciated

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