What’s Special About the United States?

You must know the TV show “The Newsroom”? The news production parody from Aaron Sorkin (same guy behind the shows West Wing & Sports Night).

First minutes of the pilot episode have news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) ranting on about what makes the United States the greatest country in the world (spoiler: “it’s not, but it can be”). If you haven’t seen it, google his rant later.

Will McAvoy

Before you balk, no – I am NOT supporting Trump (a.k.a. Mr. “Make America Great Again”). No, not in a million years. Nor am I supporting Hillary Clinton. No, not in a million years.

Sure, America could be great again. But I hold no hope, in either candidate.

Hold your breath for 4 years? No, better still, go away for 4 years.

Whatever happens this November, America in 2020 might just be a place to return to. (Or it might not.)

But no doubt, now is a great time to become an expat yourself.

— Which begs the question, what are you still doing there? Start on your plan, today.


Using Your Outside Voice – Vote

This post is for my friend Joe, a new Canadian. Joe is married to Steph, an old university friend of my wife’s. And Joe, an American, just got his Canadian citizenship a few months ago. Congrats Joe!

Joe’s shiny new citizenship grants him the right to vote. Today!

First Time to Vote, You Lucky Bastard!
Way to Go, Joe!

Today, October 19th 2015 is election day for Canada. Tonight we find out if Stephen Harper, the current leader, will stay on.

Or, perhaps we’ll have Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal party.

Or, Tom Mulcair, leader of the NDP party.

If You Are Canadian…

Continue reading Using Your Outside Voice – Vote

The World’s 10 Most Expensive & Cheapest Cities To Live

You want to work abroad. You follow the steps, nail the interview and hear their salary offer.

Is it enough? How much is enough?

Sure, now you know how much you’re taking in. But how much will be going out? How much for a month’s rent, a loaf of bread, a gallon of gas?

For some cities, you’ll make more than enough to pay for a good life, plus sock away the rest in savings.

And for some cities, …well, you should have countered with a higher salary.

How should you have known? You could have known. Research.

For now, let me give you the 10 most expensive and the 10 cheapest cities. If your city isn’t one of them, read on.

Continue reading The World’s 10 Most Expensive & Cheapest Cities To Live

Review of the Bellroy Travel Wallet

I just got my new wallet from Bellroy a few days ago. (Spoiler: This is one nice, fucking wallet!)


If I may, let me share a paragraph or two about how I found this wallet.

I’m watching some video when I see an ad. The ad is for a “Bellroy Travel Wallet.” Well, being your ExpatYourself guy, I’m now intrigued. And I did something I never do: I clicked on the ad.

The ad jumps to Bellroy’s website page, all about their Travel Wallet. I watch that video and I’m now more than intrigued. I’m in love. So in love, in fact, that I did something else I never do: I write a personal note to a company, asking “Can I please…?”

And so, in 10 minutes, I did two things I’d never done, and I’m feeling sorta sheepish, but excited. After some e-mail exchange, I wait. Sure enough, my wallet arrives. And it is Pure Awesomeness.

Continue reading Review of the Bellroy Travel Wallet

The Best in Istanbul Breakfasts

That Istanbul is a city of visual and cultural delights comes as news to no one. Every year, the largest city in Turkey brings thousands of visitors flocking to its Byzantine churches and triumphant mosques.

Still more come for the night-life, from ultra-hip cocktail clubs to traditional taverns serving raki. Many enjoy the lifestyle so much they decide to stay. But whether yours is a fleeting visit or the love affair of a lifetime, all that sight-seeing and revelry is hungry work. Those hoping to feast like sultans the morning after a big night will not be disappointed by the selection of breakfast menus here.

If you’re after a traditional Turkish breakfast, you’ll be literally spoiled for choice if you go for the numerous buffet options. Set prices that won’t break the budget often come with stunning surroundings, thanks to places like Hidiv Kasri, both restaurant and landmark, situated on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. A towering Ottoman relic and previous home to Egyptian Governors of old, the breakfast spreads here run to around sixty items, including a mixture of fresh fruits, olives, cheeses, eggs and pastries. Similar feasts can be had at Malta Koshu in Yildiz Park.

Sundays often find classic Turkish restaurants serving special brunches and one such establishment is Laledan, within the Ciragan Palace. This is top-notch fare, with hot and cold dishes of the restaurant’s speciality fish and sushi served, along with sweeter options. It won’t be the cheapest of meals but the service and riverside views are worth a one-off visit, if nothing else.

Those who like their eggs will be in for a treat at Lades 2, a breakfast joint with a traditional feel in Beyoglu. You can eat the first meal of the day whenever you like here and scrambled dishes like menemen are accompanied by sucuuk or pastirma as you would expect, but the standards are high and the egg is very much the star of the show.

Some days you can’t beat a hankering for home food, and it’s one these days you should head towards Molly’s Cafe near the Galata Tower. Maple syrup on pancakes, Tabasco sauce on your morning burritos; the selection of North American classics is done to perfection here and without emptying your wallet either. If you’re finding the general lack of bacon in the city distressing, pop down to the Kirinit diner and enjoy your rashers outdoors in the picturesque Nisantasi neighbourhood.

Anyone lingering in the Turkish metropolis for more than a day will come to realise that, in addition to its visual and cultural splendour, it’s a city of edible delights as well. From breaking fast in an elegant former palace to enjoying Findilki Park or Pierre Loti Hill with a simit in your hand, once you’ve eaten your first breakfast in Istanbul, it will be a difficult culinary experience to top.

Expats’ Top 10 Countries

You know you want to be an expat, but you don’t know where?
Make it easy on yourself — pick one of the Top 10, according to a massive survey of expats themselves.

  • 1. Canada
    2. Australia
    3. Thailand
    4. Singapore
    5. Bahrain
    6. South Africa
    7. France
    8. USA
    9. Spain
    10. Hong Kong

Oh, and if you’re wondering who was LAST: the UK. Why? Too expensive, arduous commutes, huge unemployment, etc.

An Expat’s Top 10 iPhone & iPodTouch Apps

For you (us) iPod Touch & iPhone owners, here is a great list of what we should have installed on our toys, er…devices. Well, it’s at least a great list to start with. Some of my personal favorites, not listed here include the Facebook app and at least one Tower defense game.

Continue reading An Expat’s Top 10 iPhone & iPodTouch Apps