No Climate Pact? Time to Leave

Need a reason to leave the US?

Reason #101: Climate Change

“President” Trump today pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord.

It’s astonishing, even for Trump. Essentially every citizen, business and leader in the world (yes, including the USA) believes saving the planet is a good idea. Not Trump.

Sadly, Trump, the orange man-baby that he is, continues to appeal to his redneck base. The sad little man has become even more isolated, more unstable and more orange since leaving the G-7 summit last week. While in Europe, the real leaders pressed Trump hard for an answer about the US’s commitment to reversing climate change.  Unsurprisingly, Trump didn’t have the courage to give his answer then. He waited until back home. His answer: to join Syria, as the only country who doesn’t believe in the climate accord. There are 195 countries who are committed, with or without the US.

Trump Gives Another Reason to Leave, and Live Anywhere Else

Just about anywhere else you want to go, people shake their heads at Trump. He’s insanely naive, uneducated, allegedly unable to read, cowardly, and deeply dependent on praise. Yet, he continues to embarrass his fellow citizens, while the world continues to laugh at him. And while you continue to live there, people are essentially laughing at you. It’s time to make up your mind to act. Either stand up against him, or find a country that fits you and your family.

Trump Quits Climate Pact
Trump: “Don’t laugh at me!” — Too late.

18 Excellent Tips from Expert Expats

I wrote to 18 people whom I consider expert expats.

Some make a living by travelling, others traveled to go make a living.

I asked them all 1 question: What is your advice to an expat?

Here are their replies:

Continue reading 18 Excellent Tips from Expert Expats

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.

Continue reading Timeline to a New Life

Backpacker Tax – What You Need to Know

A fairly easy “gap year” option for university students is to get a Holiday Work Visa, fly down to Australia and do temp work. Common work is the restaurant/bar scene, farm work or other short-term work. If you’re extremely lucky, work might pop up somewhat related to your degree. The best part of working down in Australia is you earn your wages tax-free. Well, for now…

AUS money

Continue reading Backpacker Tax – What You Need to Know

Who is the Typical Expat (Client)?

There is no “typical” expat. But I can share who is the typical Expat Yourself client.

Since I created “Gone in One Year” program, I fell in love with building info graphics. Info graphics are those colourful pages of icons and one-liners that speak volumes. Well, here’s a quickie that illustrates my typical consulting client.

 

Sail Away From the Safe Harbor

It’s time.

Every so often I write a very simple post. Like this one today.

It’s time for you to sail away from the safe harbour. As Mark Twain is often cited, with his full quote overlaid a pretty picture here:

Sail Away Mark Twain
Become an Expat Yourself – Sail away from your safe harbor

Interaction is Key

I’ve been promising to write a “how-to” guide for you for ages. The trouble is, an “info-book” is not really helpful, not like real interaction. (In fact, I know someone selling such a book – but it turns out to be just a “how to make money online” guide, in a “travel anywhere” wrapper. Little smarmy in my opinion, but that’s his gig.)

Info-books do not help, as real interaction does.
That’s why consulting works well. However, consulting is pricey ($150/hour) for some folks. Finally, I fixed the price problem!

The solution: general consulting, in e-mails. New material sent every few days. Packaged in a full 1-year program: Step-by-Step Expat Consulting. Very cheap monthly fee (Trying it out – will likely raise down the road)

Sneak Peek

Yes, you, gone in 1 year, guaranteed or money back. The 12-month program is called “Gone in 1 Year” (heehee!)

Here is a sneak peek at it.

Interested? I’m officially launching in a few days, but sign up is open now.

 

Six-Hour Work Day: It Works!

Dammit Sweden. You’re in the news again, sounding like some utopian, heaven on Earth.

Haga Street

The city of Gothenburg, Sweden, hometown to family friends Annika, Ingvar and their two exceptional children, did an experiment. All employers in Gothenburg moved from an 8-hour to a 6-hour workday.  The results? Overwhelmingly positive.

The proposal for a 6-hour day was not a popular idea at first in Sweden. The idea was proposed over a year ago, and criticized hard from opposing political parties. Originally, it was be a national experiment, but I guess that was too great a risk to the economy. The powers-that-be accepted Gothenburg to be a local trial.

Adopting a 6-hour work day wasn’t a recent thing for all of Gothenburg. A Service Centre for Toyota (in Gothenburg) moved to the 6-hour shift more than a decade ago. And the switch is permanent since both workers and management are very happy with the change.

The Managing Director of the Toyota service centre, Martin Banck, reports that “Staff feel better, there is low turnover and it is easier to recruit new people.” And, as for the ‘bottom line,’ profits are up 25%. Yeah, that’s about as positive a testimony you can get.

How do workers feel about it? Well, everyone interviewed comments on the lack of traffic, higher energy while at work, more time with family. Sounds positive all around. I’m guessing Sweden will soon reconsider adopting a shorter work day on the national level and with a better attitude.

I almost wrote up a few paragraphs about why the 8-hour day is so common, but I won’t. History and industrialization aside, the facts today are clear: technology allows us to be more productive in less time. Many of us don’t even need to collect in one work building; we can perform our duties from home.

Have I ever been to Gothenburg? Yes, but very quickly, only passed through. An adventurous buddy and I did a crazy weekend drive from Prague, Czech Republic to Oslo, Norway and back. We did it under four days. (Remember the 80’s movie Cannonball Run? Yup.). So, I “saw” Gothenburg and from what I remember of the blur, it was beautiful. And with work hours like this, I’d be tempted to move there.

If you want more news about it, here’s a Guardian article.

Mind you, adopting a 6-hour work day does NOT mean more work days. It’s simply a 30-hour work week, instead of the 40-hour week we’re all accustomed to. How many of you feel you could do the same amount of work in 6 hours, instead of there for 8?

Don’t live to work. Instead, work so that you may live. The shorter that work time can be, the more life you have.

In Europe, Commute Time EQUALS Work Time

How Is Your Commute?

(AP Photo/Andy Wong)
(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Does your boss count your morning and evening commute as work time?

Does your boss even care about your morning and evening commute?

If you live and work in Europe, your boss does care. And the time counts as work.

It started from a recent court decision, where a judge ruled in favour of the worker’s rights, according to the long-established Working Conditions Directive. In the case in question, the worker demanded his first and last appointments of the day count as work time because they were far from his home. Now, I believe if this were in America, the boss (& court) would still be laughing. But in Europe, the worker has definitive rights. Strong rights and those rights are well-enforced, thanks to the Working Time Directive.

What’s the Working Time Directive?

 

The Working Time Directive is a set of guaranteed rights for EU workers. The Directive sets the rules for acceptable working conditions within the European Union. And, compared to other western nations, those working time rules strongly favour the European employee, not the employer.

Here are some points, straight from the Directive:

  • a limit to weekly working hours, which must not exceed 48 hours on average, including any overtime
  • a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours in every 24
  • a rest break during working hours if the worker is on duty for longer than 6 hours
  • a minimum weekly rest period of 24 uninterrupted hours for each 7-day period, in addition to the 11 hours’ daily rest
  • paid annual leave of at least 4 weeks per year
  • extra protection for night work, e.g.
    • average working hours must not exceed 8 hours per 24-hour period,
    • night workers must not perform heavy or dangerous work for longer than 8 hours in any 24-hour period,
    • night workers have the right to free health assessments and, under certain circumstances, to transfer to day work.

How do those compare to your working time conditions, vacation time and rights? Yeah, I thought so. Maybe it’s time you moved to Europe.

Imagine your commute if in Europe…

bike commute

I remember well during my career years spent in Europe, particularly in the Czech Republic, where my 4-weeks of vacation allowed my family a lot of holidays throughout Europe. Far cheaper airfare and easy border crossing (nonexistent for Schengen nations) were the frosting on the cake.

Yes, getting a job in Europe is difficult. Very difficult if you lack a university education, strong experience and a determination to get there.
But it can be done. If you want my help, contact me.

What’s It Like to Drop Everything and Just Go?

We didn’t drop exactly everything. We kept our 11-month old daughter. 🙂

But we did drop 2 high-paying jobs, a new home and our former lives in the US. For that, we become expats (sight-unseen) in Prague, Czech Republic. There we lived for 4 years. We bought there a new home (flat), had our 2nd child and made many great memories and friends.

After 4 years in Prague, we did the same, moving to the Canadian eastern seaboard. Been here now 3 years.

I’d say, to “drop everything” and move somewhere is like jumping into a colder-than-expected pool. It’s shocking and reinvigorating at the same time. And while you might regret the first second after the “jump,” you soon realize you would have regretted it much more if you hadn’t jumped in the first place.

 

Don’t continue on the path of eventual regret.

Jump. If by no other way, just jump.

If you need help, Jeff’s here.

Making That First Step Towards Living Abroad

So you know you want a change – you want to experience life in another country – but before going anywhere it is important to do your research and choose the best country for you. This will of course depend on many different factors: whether you have a family, what type of work you’d potentially be looking for, how long you intend on staying there for and what youíre looking for in the chosen country. Here are the first things that you should consider before making any rushed decisions:

Continue reading Making That First Step Towards Living Abroad