Real life examples for reaching your goals and dreams overseas

Episode Description

David, who is originally from the United States, grew up fond of the Japanese culture and even made an effort to learn the language itself. With his tremendous interest in the country, he was motivated to find ways to start his journey outside of the US and eventually live in his dream country. But before everything else, David also managed to work across different cities in the US. Despite enjoying life in these cities, nothing could surpass his hunger to be in Japan.

With many job applications to get a position in Tokyo, David’s perseverance to fulfill his dream was on the next level, and he finally did it. Though living in Japan was a surreal experience for David, his story, like everybody else, was not meant to be complete comfort.

He shared how his struggles from building valuable relationships to his career challenges brought him to Japan, then Germany, until he settled in Portugal with his Japanese wife. With his rejections and successes over the past years of moving countries, David sure has a lot to impart on those who want to follow the same path, which is why he started his platform Expat Empire, intended to help people who want to move abroad too. He is indeed a living example of perseverance and resilience, proving that when you put more than 100% into reaching your goal, there will be no room for failure, just some redirection, and eventually success.

About David

As the founder of Expat Empire, David McNeill is focused on inspiring people to move abroad and helping them 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. David started Expat Empire because he has a genuine passion for living abroad. He left the United States in 2014 and has since lived in Tokyo, Berlin, and Porto.

“I don’t want to stop and not do something because I’m wondering, will it work?

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Episode Transcript

David 0:02

Like I took so many interviews I was jumping over to you know, Amsterdam to Copenhagen, taking these interviews going to Thailand. I was going all over and not sure what was going to happen when I got that job offer in Porto. My wife and I both like instantly burst into tears man.

Daniel De Biasi 0:24

Hi everyone, and welcome to episode number 57 of the Emigrants Life Podcast, where we share stories of people who left their country to chase a better life. And through the stories you can find ideas, resources, and motivation to do the same. I'm Daniel De BiasI and my guest this week, is originally from the US and lived in Japan, Germany and Portugal. He's also the man behind Expat Empire - a platform to help other people move abroad. He's also the author of the book Passport to Work in Japan where he shares insights, knowledge and resources to succeed in Japan. David and I are on a very similar path of helping you reaching your goals and dreams away from your motherland. As you will hear from David, the formula to move abroad and succeed in any country is pretty simple. Hard work plus perseverance equals success. In fact, it took him 14 years before he can make his dream of living in Japan come true. That many jobs applications and rejections each time he moved to a new country. Like many other guests I had on the show, David's story is a clear example that anything is possible if you put your money into it. No doubt that achieving your dreams will be hard. It's meant to be hard. But as a famous quote states, nothing worth having ever comes easy. So without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with David.

Hey, David, thanks for being on the show.

David 1:43

Hey, Daniel, thanks so much for having me.

Daniel De Biasi 1:45

It's my pleasure. So David, you are originally from the US and now you live in Portugal. But you- I mean your story's a little bit more complicated and that you live in few of different countries. And so I'd like to start from the beginning. First of all, like why did you decide to leave the US?

David 2:00

Yes, a complicated question. I guess it would take quite some time to get through all of it. But I'll try to give the highlights. So why did I leave? I guess that was probably just more driven by an interest in living abroad and less interest in having some adventures more than anything else. I say kind of growing up, I was actually really interested in Japan. So studying Japanese when I was 12 years old. And it just quickly turned into a real passion of mine. I was doing after school classes, working with language teachers and tutors. I was doing immersion programs, speech contest. And that was just something that I was really, really driven to continue studying in high school and then in university. So I did that, actually studying in the US, the University of Texas at Austin. But I also wanted to, you know, do something else with that as well not just study Japanese. So for me that was studying business, and then ultimately finance kind of digging in there a bit. So finance and Japanese major. Visit Japan a couple times was really enamored by it. And I thought, how could I be able to get the opportunity to eventually live there, I did a study abroad as well in Singapore. So I guess that was my first longer experience abroad outside of some travel with my family. Did that for three, four months, didn't go to Japan, because it just didn't work with the program, the timeline that I had in university. So basically came back from that just thinking, Okay, I want to get abroad and still focused on Japan if I could, couldn't find that coming out of school, the right opportunity, I tried many different routes. But for me, also, it was important to try to continue my career, like I mentioned, studying finance, I wasn't really looking just to be an English teacher or translator, things like that. Of course, that's a great route for people that want to do it. But it wasn't what I was passionate about. So I started my career, basically out of university in investment banking. So coming out of the science degree, I thought, well, if I can't work in Japan, I might as well do what I can with that degree and get a good start in the US, and then see if I can figure out a way to get to Japan or another country down the road. So I found out really quickly that I didn't like investment banking, took about six months to get out of that mindset. But it took another two years after that about two and a half years in that position to actually move into working at a tech company as a product manager. So I kind of jumped forward a bit, but moved to the San Francisco office and then found a job as a product manager at a tech company. So I thought, Okay, this is cool now I'm in a new city. I'm enjoying San Francisco. And then basically, I had the opportunity about nine months into that role to either go to the Vancouver or the Beijing office for three months, because they needed help on the local on the ground with the local teams. So I said, Great, I don't want to stay here in San Francisco. If I can go abroad let's do this. Send me to either of the places. That's great. And actually, I'd said at first send me to Vancouver because I hadn't even been to Canada. In fact, I guess to give the answer to which one I went to it was into being Beijing and I still have not been to Canada. So even though it's so close, I have somehow not gone to the northern neighbor. But I went to China. I thought it was awesome. I said great. Send me back for longer this time, because that was only three months. And then about a month after I got back to the US it did a little traveling after that experience, then I got laid off. So that was really disappointing. Actually, it was the night after I was told that we were all headed back to China. And my boss, at least as I understand, it, had no idea that the next morning, he was going to be told to give me that playoffs news. So that was a big shock to the system. But I thought, you know, this is not the only way that I'll be able to get abroad, I'm going to keep trying to make this happen. And I took a trip around Europe, train trips that I've always wanted to do, and jumping from city to city, while I was taking interviews in Japan and China. So again, Japan, because that's where I want to be, but also China, because that's where I just spent a few months and I thought maybe I can make it work there. Maybe that's the future. You know, China is growing, you know, international power, obviously. So another long story short, but at the end of that trip, I got a check that sort of the last interview for one of the jobs in Japan came back to the US about a week or two later got an offer to work at a company in Tokyo. So that was really my ticket finally, to make it to Japan, after all those, you know, dreams of being in Japan, having traveled there having studied Japanese since I was 12. So I made it there when I was 26, 2014. So it took a good 14 years to make it happen. Yeah, I had an amazing time there ultimately saved for two years, and then can tell you about the rest of it. But I don't know, you know, ruining the story, or if you want to get the big picture from there. But that's essentially how I got abroad. And it was basically a combination of, you know, many years of work and a big dream of mine.

Daniel De Biasi 6:37

Okay, I have a few questions from the things you just said. Because, I mean, you moved from Texas to San Francisco to California, then for me, I've never been to the US. But the US is like a huge country. So for some who might even feel like going moving from state to state it feels like you're going abroad and in a way. But for you, well that wasn't enough. You move to California, moved to San Francisco, different city different lifestyle, probably. But that wasn't enough for you. You want to still want to move abroad. What was the thing that pushes you away wanted you to move abroad? Was like a different culture, different language, just the fact that you are the different country that like I don't know, in a way, it's kind of cool, at least for me, like living in other countries it's kind of cool. What was the reason why you wanted to go abroad so badly?

David 7:19

Yeah, it's a good question. I think growing up, we moved around the us quite a bit. So I definitely had plenty of experiences moving from city to city, state to state. Never had the opportunity to live abroad until those few months in Singapore that I mentioned. But we had traveled around. But yeah, we had moved. You know, I was born in Northern California, then we moved to Illinois for a couple years where my sister was born. And then we moved back to California, then to Alabama, where my dad's family's from. And then we moved to Los Angeles, California for my high school time. And then I went to UT Austin. And then I actually worked in Charlotte, North Carolina for two years before getting that transfer to San Francisco. So, you know, that's a lot of the detail, but essentially saying that we did move around a lot. And I was very used to that. I was very used to just sort of obviously saying bye to folks, you know, making friendships and everything, missing by and looking forward to that next opportunity. And I think what I just discovered over time is that, indeed, it wasn't enough. And I thought when I was in the US, maybe I just needed a change of scenery, maybe San Francisco would be- I actually visited you know, New York, I visited Boston and San Francisco to see which of the cities I want to move to from Charlotte, North Carolina, and decided on San Francisco, and there was an opportunity to the bank again. So I got that transfer. And I thought that that would sort of be it for a while at first, I was really pinching myself that I was in San Francisco. This is a great city. I'm in the, you know, tech central kind of place. And I think after the first year, I kind of felt like I sort of knew it. And it wasn't enough of a shock to the senses. I mean, yes, it's a different culture within the US, but it wasn't enough. And I think when I visited then Beijing and got to work there for a couple months, it like just really lit that fire in me that I want to be abroad. And I wanted to be immersed in something totally different. And I think it was just too similar too easy to get used to it. accustomed to it in San Francisco. Yeah, it's hard to kind of say exactly why, but I think it was just wanting to be outside of my element. Again, going back to my roots of I tried so hard when I was younger. And when I was in university, too, and you know, trying to find internships and first jobs and everything in Japan, kind of put that on the backburner. And then that experience in Beijing just brought it right back, you know, in front of me. And then of course, I couldn't make it back to China. So it was like, Okay, I'm going to take this trip I've been dreaming about but I better use this time well to see if I can find a way to make something happen. And if I go back to San Francisco, and it hadn't happened within those first months back or first weeks back, I probably would have just eventually gone back to trying to find something in San Francisco or maybe move to New York or like still, it just somehow felt like San Francisco isn't the place But I want to be long term, even though at first I was pinching myself to be there. But I think maybe what you found perhaps what I've certainly found is that typically when I move somewhere within the same country or to a new country, the first year is so incredible, right? Because you just you don't know how everything goes, you don't know, the local customs, the holidays, the traditions, the maybe the language, maybe this maybe that. And all of it is so new, that it's just a shock for the senses of the whole time and it takes a couple months to get the lay of the land. And I think that time at the beginning is just so exciting that you almost get addicted to it. And, you know, I was just looking for that again and again, in all these different places. And now I feel anyway, now I'm in Portugal, and I've been here last two years. And it's nice to finally be in a place where I feel comfortable and excited just to be able to stay here. I think it's a different point in my life, a lot of experiences have led up to a different lifestyle, different situation altogether. But it's nice to finally have that. But I think at the beginning, it was just like I had the deep, deep sense of wanderlust and longing for something new and some adventure.

Daniel De Biasi 11:04

And where the love from Japan came from? Why did you want to go to Japan?

David 11:07

Yeah. For me, it was originally just being interested in Japanese culture, the animation, that was a big part of video games. So I was into all that. My friends got me into Dragonball Z at the time. But that was pretty cool. But then, of course, I took it way, way further than anybody else. Most people would just go watch it after school, I was like, No, it'd be really cool if I could understand the Japanese version. And then, you know, yeah, there's other pieces to the puzzle, too. But it's just, I think that's where I got hooked into it. And then from there, it just built and built. And, you know, I loved the culture, and I loved how different it was. And I loved the language. I always kind of thought I was a language person. But actually, I think I was just a Japanese language person. You know, I think I really love studying Japanese and I loved experiencing different aspects of the culture and the calligraphy and I did Aikido, one of the martial arts when I was in high school as well. So it's just one of those things that, you know, for one reason or another, just stuck with me and has been really a lifelong passion and pursuit.

Daniel De Biasi 12:07

So when you finally made it to Japan, you finally find a way to move to Japan, what was your experience, when we got there? Was it kind of like similar to what you were expecting there was completely different?

David 12:17

I would say it was very similar to what I was expecting. I mean, I definitely had a fortunate situation, I was able to work in a job where I was mostly- so I didn't speak Japanese very well, at a very high level. But I was still able to work with a global team, mostly in English, which also helps from a cultural standpoint, because I was working with people in Europe, people in America, I was working on a global product, and doing it in English. And that just allows you to, in a business sense, sidestep a lot of the business cultural challenges, of course, we still have plenty of them because the office was a Japanese company. And we were in, you know, Japanese office. But we were also in a small office in Tokyo, that wasn't the biggest one that was more for typical, most of the Japanese employees, the local employees, but rather, we were like a small global team in a small kind of cooler, more open office environment type place. So it was definitely a lucky spot for me to land. I feel very fortunate that that happened. But as far as you know, daily life and everything else, I think it was very similar to what I expected. Of course, I'd studied it, you know, the culture for all those years and university as well. I've visited Japan twice for a month each time before that. But at the same time, it was challenging. I think the biggest challenge was because I had all that background and experience. It wasn't the language necessarily. It wasn't understanding the culture overall, it was things like just making friends. I think now that I have the perspective of having lived in other places as well, it was very difficult to make friends in Japan. At the time, I believe I was the youngest person working in that office. So I didn't really make many friends, like friends I hung out with outside of work with my coworkers, and then trying to find other people in Tokyo, the middle of Tokyo that aren't expat executives that aren't necessarily on a teacher's salary, which depends that Tokyo can be expensive. So finding people kind of with similar experiences, similar profiles and interests that are either expats or you know, Japanese people can be hard to break in, you know, it's one of those cultures that's a little difficult as an outsider. So I think that's one thing that stuck out to me, that was challenging, but I mean, don't get me wrong, it was like pinching myself every day that I was finally in the middle of this Tokyo. That was my dream. So that's still to me, you know, when I think back on those times when I visited Japan since I've left which is only once so far, but hopefully again soon. It's just like such an amazing place and those memories I'll cherish forever, for sure.

Daniel De Biasi 14:43

Was anything in particular that you remember, say like, Oh, I didn't expect that or something that caught you offguardd when you went to Japan?

David 14:52

Nothing that really shocked me. I guess I was quite open minded to the whole thing. Outside of those challenges making the relationships, which was definitely difficult, I'd say, I think it was more just really feeling that- and I knew that the thing is, I knew a lot of this stuff before, but it was more confirming it, and it was more long term than being a tourist there. But it was just the feeling of in Japan, you're always going to be an outsider, doesn't matter if you speak perfect Japanese doesn't matter if you've been there for 1020 years, as a foreigner, you're just unless people know you really well, and you know, try to sort of incorporate you on that level, then you'll always be a little bit on the outside. And it's a strange kind of experience. And in a way, even though I knew that from before just experiencing it personally, realizing that this is, this is what they say, it's not that I didn't, I hadn't heard that before. But I think just going through it myself was a challenge. And it was interesting that even with all those years of Japanese Studies, even with the cultural studies, double majoring and university, everything else, there was still a big part of me that was concerned that I wouldn't be able to fit into the Japanese culture, especially the word culture. And with the benefit of hindsight, I can say that if I had gone there earlier, and worked at a really Japanese company, in a really Japanese environment, had to wear a suit and ties work every day, and stay late, catching the last train, and all of those things that you hear about. And luckily, I mean, I'm not gonna paint the picture that I had to do that, because I wasn't quite fortunate, you know, sort of foreign oriented environment, I don't know if I would have fit in very well, and I tried to ultimately find another job at some of those companies. And I'm really glad that it didn't work out. So, of course, the time I was crushed. And that's ultimately why I left Japan was because I was unable to find that next role. And the one that I was working in seemed to be coming to a close based on the company's acquisitions, and were the sort of central power of the tech team was and things like that, basically, back in the United States, which I didn't want to go back to the US and I didn't want to stay there working on something that I wasn't passionate about and wasn't pursuing in terms of my career. So when all that came to a head, then I started looking at other opportunities outside of Japan. And that's kind of how I ended up making them move, ultimately, to Germany to Berlin. But I think that was really hard. But I'm also glad looking back that it happened for all the things that have happened since but I really don't think that the Japanese culture is sort of for me, as a worker, especially I think, if you didn't have to work, if you just had a big pile of money, it would be an awesome place to live. But but having to work with that probably doesn't sort of fit me as well as Europe does, for example,

Daniel De Biasi 17:33

No, I think I totally get you because I've been to Japan, and I fell in love with Japan it's such a cool country. But at the same time, I felt like I love this, but I don't think I can see myself living here for a long term. I just have that impression when I got there even it was just like a holiday pretty much I was there for 20 days, so but at the same similar impression. I want to go back to say what like a fitting in in the country because I moved to New Zealand and then I moved to Canada. And let's put it this way, like people don't know if I'm not from their country until I start talking. Right? Because you look similar. But for you like coming to the US going to Japan, people know that you're not from Japan, just looking at you. Was that part of the fact that you couldn't fit in? Or the part of the kind of like people treat you different just because you look differently? And probably people that are coming from Asia going to I don't know, US or Canada or Europe feel the same way. So I kind of want to know, what you- how you felt?

David 18:26

Yeah, I think that's a great point. And I definitely feel like that's a huge contributing factor. I mean, on the other hand, you know, you could say that someone who is ethnically racially Japanese, but for example, was born Japanese, to Japanese parents in the United States for whatever other foreign country, if they don't speak the language, if they were to just arrive in Japan, then everybody would look at them and say, you know, they'd speak to this person in Japanese or whatever, right? Then I can imagine that would be a very challenging, you know, annoying, frustrating experience for that person. Whereas in my case, I spent so many years studying Japanese, and I ended up eventually took it twice over the years, but I ended up taking the top level proficiency exam, finally passed it in 2015. So, you know, that was the level I had, at least at that time, you know, and you go to some places, and they just everyone asks you, can you use chopsticks? You know, everyone sort of asks you the same, Oh, do you like sushi? You know? And it's like, yeah, you know, like, how many times do we have to have this conversation type of thing? You know, they're so welcoming and polite and everything, at least at the get go. The harder part is getting underneath the surface of that. But on the other hand, you know, I just remember really, I'll never forget, like going to Japan on the second trip, I think it was, I was with my friend, another guy from my university. So we were just traveling together, and I just remember this one time we go into this restaurant, and the waitstaff came over, and I don't think they had an English menu. But basically, even though I was ordering in fluent Japanese, I told exactly what I wanted without, you know, any hesitation, I know she could understand what I was saying. She took both of us outside to look at the window display of plastic food and point at what we wanted. You know, that's the level right? It's like I'm speaking I literally blood, sweat and tears learning this language. And this is how long being treated like a toddler. You know, it was it was bizarre. Thankfully, that didn't happen too often. But that really stands out. I mean, there's multiple other experiences I've had like that. And it's just really hard to kind of come to terms with the fact that no matter how much time I put in how much passion I had, you know how much I tried to fit in? Physically, I don't fit in. So the easy answer is, of course, they tried to like, be helpful. And like, I know, it's coming from a good place. But I think people who have been through this type of experience in Japan or other countries, have had similar experiences in China, it's just it gets old quickly, even if at first, it's kind of novel, it's quickly gets old.

Daniel De Biasi 20:55

So you have to leave Japan because you couldn't stay any longer because your role pretty much going to the end was in a different way. So it was there. For years, the only way to stay in the country was through a job was how hard was to for you to stay longer if you wanted to stay longer? Did you really need the job? What was the kind of like the immigration process? How hard was to stay in the country if you wanted to?

David 21:16

Yeah, I mean, unfortunately, we didn't have things like working holiday and stuff like that coming from the US background, I guess there are a few countries where the US has such an agreement, but not with Japan, I don't believe but also, you know, more importantly, it was just for me it was I really wanted to find a job that again, I could progress my career in an international context. So, of course, I know people that are teaching English translating, interpreting, acting, doing hosting, or working at restaurants or convenience stores, or you know, there are other opportunities, there are other ways to make it happen. But I was so committed to not sacrificing the progress of my career at the time just to be able to live abroad, I wanted to do something that I'm still excited about that I was passionate about. That gave me some reason that I want to be there and experience the country and like try to enjoy the day to day because that's going to be so much of your time and with your coworkers, with your colleagues and your you know, in your office. And I just wanted to do that. And so I tried applying to something like 50 jobs there. And I got to, you know, many interviews, a couple final rounds, the last decision for a number of roles, and it just never worked out. And in losing that job, I just decided that it looked like I wouldn't be able to do what I wanted to do there. And I was on an annual contract. And I didn't know if they were going to renew it come December, I think it was that it was renewing. So I just decided, well, in my case, I thought Berlin seemed really cool. And I heard there were a bunch of English speaking jobs there, jobs at tech company startups. And I just thought, well, it doesn't hurt to start trying to apply and reaching out and tapping into my network. And yeah, one thing led to another and I ended up getting a job there before I left Japan. So really, I just made that. I was gonna go and travel there and do some interviews and stuff, but I ended up getting the job offer. So I was like, great. Turned it from a round trip into a one way and then that was it. That was 2016.

Daniel De Biasi 23:10

So Germany was actually on your other where you already wanted to go to Germany and tried to go to Berlin and leaving Berlin so ended up you were pretty lucky things work in your way you find a job but you're a pretty much at put your your mind ready to go to Berlin right?

David 23:24

Yeah, exactly. So I guess the reason for that really was I did that two months trip around Europe, like I mentioned, and you know, I did I think nine countries and 19 cities in two months or something. I mean, it was just Yeah, something like that. Or maybe it was I think it was 19 cities at least I was hopping from here to there every couple of days and when you do something like that, it was an amazing trip. But also it starts to just blur together. It start to be like okay, you see this museum, you see this church same thing in the next city. Hopefully you get some you know, different food here and there but a lot of the food can be similar and you know, you kind of the languages it's all just- it becomes a blur, but there are certain cities that or certain experiences that are standing out when you look back at that time, at least in my experience and one of those cities was Berlin I just thought this place is so cool. I really want to dig underneath the surface like I just want to explore the city again. I had that wanderlust right? And I had spent those eventually spent those two years in Tokyo just trying to see down every alley you know, walking every street just walking everywhere, taking the train really exploring Tokyo and I felt like okay, well I kind of did that and I I eventually climbed Mount Fuji and did all this stuff, did some trips to some of the islands off of Tokyo from the the fair through the ferry and all this stuff. So I did some cool things. And I thought okay, I kind of more or less checked a lot of the stuff off the list. And of course, I had been to Japan before a couple times and traveled around a lot. So I thought okay, well I kind of did what I wanted to do here and maybe where's next? And I thought about some other places as well. But ultimately like even In my company that had an office in outside of Amsterdam, so I thought maybe I could make the jump there and then eventually make the jump to Berlin. But of course, when I found out that idea didn't work, I thought, Well, why am I even trying to make Amsterdam the in between if my goal is to get to Berlin, then I might as well try to go direct if it seems feasible, if I could try. So that's pretty much what I did. And it turns out that they are in, you know, big needs big demand foreign train product managers, English speaking. Of course, a lot of different roles at tech companies as well doesn't just have to do product management, it could be sales, it could be customer support, it could be development work, all that stuff. So the opportunity is there. And I just thought, hey, let's give it a try. And yeah, I basically have someone in my network, who knows some people over there, he put me in touch with somebody, she put my resume in the pile. And long story short, that's the very first job I applied to in Berlin is the one that I got. And that's coming after 50 applications in Japan, just to put it in context, right? So when you get that type of what I think to be a sign, then you kind of follow it. I think that's at least my experience. So it really wasn't without question, like, okay, that's what I'm supposed to do.

Okay. I'm kinda curious about the culture in Germany, because I just spoke with somebody else that was going to be my guest on the podcast in the future about he went to Germany, he went to Berlin, and he saw like the difference between the real culture about German people compared to what the stereotypical German persona is, did you find similar thing like so different, like between that stereotypical German to the actual real German?

If I'm totally honest, because I was so focused on Japan and Asia for that time, like I mentioned, with China and Singapore, and then Japan, I didn't think a lot about the German stereotype, probably for the worse. I mean, I wasn't sort of as prepared mentally, as I probably should have been going into it. Even my dad who'd studied German for a while, and was always interested in Germany, he's like, Are you sure you can manage the German culture and, you know, work over there? I'm sure you want to do that. It's a bit, you know, different or whatever? And I said, Yeah, it'll be fine. You know, it's just sort of like, yeah, of course. And I said the same thing. When I went to Japan, the interviewer, in the last interview, asked me if I was ready to work in Japan, things like that. And you have to just sort of say yes, and move forward. I think those types of questions are things that people bring up, like, hey, what about that? Isn't that going to be difficult? Or are you going to be able to manage that? That's really, if that stuff dissuades you, then maybe it's not the right fit. But it seems like the people that just move forward, hard headed and stubborn, just bust through the doors as best as they can, are the ones that somehow make it happen, at least for some period of time. I always just thought, and this my big thing is like, I don't want to stop and not do something, because I'm wondering, will it work? Will it not work? What if it's bad? What if I don't like it? What if I end up moving? Or what if I get fired? It's this thing of like, I'd rather find out, if I can get a job there. If I can make it happen, then why not go? You know, I might hate it. I thought that same the same thing about Japan, but I just wanted to find out from personal experience, not from doubting myself or questioning the whole thing. So anyway, that's what I did with Germany. And it was hard, it was very hard, because I didn't again, I didn't have a ton of expectations. But it was really, really hard coming from Japan. And the reason is, because not only did I again, speak Japanese in Japan, but most importantly, people in Japan were super, you know, friendly, kind of customer service focused everything else. And I know, people say Berlin is different from Germany. So it's hard for me to extrapolate. But I would say from my experience in Berlin, people were not friendly people, you know, they wanted to expect you to speak German, of course, in Berlin, you know, there's plenty of places and I ended up ultimately not learning a lot of German, frankly, I'd already climbed that Japanese speaking mountain, which took, you know, a really long time. So 15, 20 years. So with all that, under my belt, it was hard to kind of restart that, again I went there, because it was in Europe. it's a cool city, I could do that speaking English. So that's kind of the main reasons that I went not to sort of get full of the German culture or you know, really dive in the way that I didn't pan. So you know, my motivations were different. But I would also say, man, it was tough to go to that city where they just, you know, you sit down, I just remember going to this bar or, you know, whatever cafe and sitting down with my friend, and the place is totally empty. And it was definitely open. There were people working there. But they didn't come over to the table for 15, 20 minutes. And then they looked like I was holding something against them by trying to order a drink. You know, it was just so at times, it was so tough, I really had to develop thick skin and coming from America, whereas customer first in general, but also, especially in Japan, where it's really just so polite, and that everyone knows that stereotype, I think, but it was just a huge change. And it took a lot of adjusting way more than I expected.

Daniel De Biasi 29:48

Oh, that's interesting. That's actually pretty interesting. And then after Germany, you stayed there for a few years, and then you decide to move again. I mean, that was kind of your idea. You want to just go to Berlin, explore Germany and Berlin a little bit and then move somewhere else. It wasn't never your idea to stay in Germany, right?

David 30:05

Yeah, it's a good question. I would say every time that I've moved to a new place, my goal is to see how it goes. And it's more open ended, but it's definitely not like, okay, you know, this is stop number two on my 10-country tour, you know, it's definitely like, let's see how it goes. My goal going into Germany, honestly was, Okay, again, I spent 15 years studying Japanese and I lived in Japan for two years, you know, and that's the only place that you can really use Japanese, obviously. So now I'm in a new country. And my goal was, Can I stay longer than two years? If I do, then I will deem the success. You know, it's like, I hope that thinking makes sense. But it was really for me, it was so as well as shocking to leave Japan after only two years that I was just thinking, I want to like try to be somewhere longer and make this thing work. So it ended up being three years in the end. So one thing was, I met my now wife in Japan. Sorry, she's from Japan. But we met in Germany, we were both outside of our home countries. And we were thinking about what we want to do next. And we both kind of decided that, like, she sort of always had the interest in Germany in the way that I had the interest in Japan. But still, I think we both decided together that Germany wasn't a place for us long term. And so we were looking at what might be interesting for us to explore next. And she suggested Portugal and I had visited on a Europe trip. I also remembered having a good time in Portugal, it stuck out to me, I think, because of the great experience, but also was the end of the trip. That was the last two cities. Fortunately, was when I visited before going back to London, for my flight back to the US. So I just had that good association with it. And she had never been there. And we just decided, okay, well, let's go check it out. Let's go visit together. And we went for a week in October of 2018. And we absolutely loved it. You know, we thought this would be an awesome place to live. So we were trying to kind of figure out how to make that happen. And yeah, it's another long story. But basically, I got laid off from a position in 2019. And April, finished that job in June, we got married in Japan, we went back to see her family and get married in Japan, I was just on a tourist visa, getting married in Japan in May of 2019. Then we had a wedding party in Berlin. And my family came after that in June of 2019. And so basically, that was where we were at. And then her program, she was in the speaking program in Germany, this Ausbildung program, which is like a traineeship for German bakeries. And that was wrapping up in I think August. And so it was basically like, both of us kind of got to that point where if we were going to either we were going to stay in Germany for a few more years, or we were going to move. So I really tried at first, you know, for those months, since I found out the news of getting laid off in April, I just started applying to jobs all over Europe. I of course I applied in Portugal as well, Lisbon and Porto but I thought maybe that's not the place for us. I had some doubts and tried, you know, in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Austria, Tallinn, Estonia, all these different places. And long story short again, even though it's already been a long story is that I actually got the job in Porto. And it was like the perfect role, the perfect, you know, as far as the title and responsibilities, the company and the industry that I was interested in, which was basically helping people to move abroad through relocation services. So that was cool. And it was in the city that we want to be in and the country that we wanted to be in. So it was so perfect, that it all came together. And we got that news in September of 2019. And then we moved in November. So it all just really came together super well. I'm glad that it did. But you know, to be honest, again, we were looking, I was looking in so many different cities, I would have loved to really have that focus. I knew that we wanted to be in Portugal, but I just didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket and I did want to stay abroad. You know, when and she did too. We didn't want to move back to our either of her home countries. So that was just the way that we went about tackling it. And thankfully we're successful.

Daniel De Biasi 34:00

Yeah, it seems like a fun it seems like that you had such a like lucky experience abroad because you pretty much were you putting your aim towards the country, somehow things happen. I mean, you probably put a lot of effort to try to find a job in the country. But the same time things like it seems like worked out for you every single time. Even like laid off. It's been like usually people say like laid off like a such a negative connotation or something bad for you usually it was something like turn the page and start something fresh in another country. It seems like things are being working out for you for now. At least for now.

David 34:34

Yeah, at least for now. I mean, what I would like to say to that is that it's very easy or comfortable to say that in hindsight, but it has been an extremely bumpy road. And it has not been easy at all. I don't think most people would say if 50 sort of failed job applications in Japan, leading to an opportunity in Germany or starting to look in Germany. Yeah, that was that was crushing. That was my dream was to be in Japan, and I wasn't able to, you know, continue that. And now again, in hindsight, I'm very happy at how things turned out. But it was not at all easy. And then yeah, coming out of Germany. So I had three jobs. And three years in Germany, I left the first one after five months, I really didn't like how it was going, they fired the guy that I came to work for, abruptly, you know, we sat down at some meeting before Christmas, and you know, the CEOs in there and like, oh, surprise, the Chief Product officers being let go. And then, you know, people were leaving left and right. And it's just this, and it was an advertising technology, which is not my favorite area, not a big fan of ads, I'm not sure how many people are. So you know, it was all these things, look, you know, sort of fine company, I guess, overall. And I had a great experience as far as meeting people there. And it got me to Germany. So I'm super grateful for all that. But, you know, I had that in a second job, I really didn't like how things were going there, I quit that more from a mental health standpoint, was just not a good environment for me. And then the third job again, I was there for about a year and a half, I believe, and I got laid off because I went to a new project. And then they basically decreased ongoing investment in that project. And there wasn't another place for me to jump to at the company. So all of that happened. I mean, all of that for super difficult. And then again, trying to figure out where to go in Europe, taking interview, like I took so many interviews, I was jumping over to you know, Amsterdam to Copenhagen, taking these interviews going to Thailand, I was going all over. I'm not sure what was going to happen when I got that job offer in Porto, my wife and I both like instantly burst into tears, man. So this was not an easy route. And I don't want to make it sound easy. And if I did that, it would do a disservice to I don't know my story, in a sense, because of the reality. But also, I don't want to give people some, you know, easy answer, or make it look like it was a slam dunk, because it wasn't. So I would also just say like, I got that first layoff news in San Francisco. And then my idea of going to China, you know, with the company just disappeared, going back anyway. But I'm just this kind of person where I just maybe I'm angry or sad or whatever for a few days or, or whatnot, maybe a week, but then I'm just back at like, I just have this mentality of like, don't let that define me. Don't let it stop me and make this into an opportunity. And I think I'm just a bit wired that way. But now that I've been quitting companies and laid off so many times and still somehow find a way to make cool things happen and move from here to there. It's just ingrained in me. It's like the instant response. So I think you kind of have to be that way a little bit to try to do some of this stuff. And again, it's not an easy road. But I'm glad at how things worked out. It's much easier to say, looking back, it's like, Oh, look how perfectly it worked out. Well, there were many, many, many months where it was not clear that it would work out. And who knows what the future holds. But at least I think I have the right mindset and skill set and tools to be able to try to keep this thing going.

Daniel De Biasi 38:01

Oh, no, absolutely. I mean, like, I sorry, I don't remember what I said. But I didn't mean like to say that your life was easy. I absolutely I know, we've been there. So we know that when you move abroad-

David 38:11

You know how it is like

Daniel De Biasi 38:12

Exactly. But it's fascinating. Like, it's interesting to see that actually, things at the end actually worked out. It was bumpy road. And I don't doubt it. But it's at the same time, like your perseverance to go and just things actually worked out even like meeting your wife for like a Japanese wife in Germany. With the same kind of mindset, I feel like, it was actually pretty cool things actually, at the end, like worked out. And that's because of your perseverance and your attitude against like rejection and failures. It's all of that worked out in your favor at the end. But with no doubt that must be like, not easy way. No doubt about that. Even like, I'm interesting to see now with your wife, you were in Germany, you find your wife, you got married, what was life like moving abroad and changing country as a couple compared to being on your own?

David 39:01

Well, I would say that overall, it's been much better. And I say that because like having that sort of partner in the whole process. Being able to move with someone that you love and care about and know so well. At least for me, it's so much better than just arriving somewhere not knowing anybody. And I just remember arriving in I took that flight from Tokyo to Berlin, I arrived there, I checked into the airbnb I was staying at for the first couple of months or whatever, weeks or whatever it was. I put my stuff down. I'm like, Alright, it's like four or 5pm or something. It's like I'm in Berlin. Let's do this. And I I just walked outside and got some food, looked on the, you know, app or whatever, and went to an event. And then it was like, Okay, I got to start meeting people, you know, and then they're like, Hey, let's go to this club. I was like, Yeah, let's do it. And this was, you know, jet lagged. I was again like stumbled off the plane and then it was like, Okay, let's hit the ground running. That was my mentality because I knew that I didn't really know that many people there. I was in a new country, I was excited about the possibility and there's probably a coping aspect of, okay, I just left my friends and I had a relationship at the time in Japan. And I left sort of everybody there behind after those two years and coworkers and everything. And it was like, okay, not gonna look back, let's just move forward. And again, that's my mentality, but I'm sure there's, you know, a coping mechanism part of that as well. And then after some months of that, after trying to make all that work, at least for me, I always end up realizing that oh, yeah, this thing about making close friends, not just somebody to grab a beer with not somebody just to talk with, but like a close friend, this takes a long time. And then there's that part where it like, hits me, you know. And so anyway, I had that going from, for example, Tokyo to Berlin, but then coming from Berlin to Porto, with my wife, it's just so amazing to have that person and not, of course, I still always trying to go out and make friends, I'm a very sort of extroverted person in general. And she's more introverted. So we kind of, you know, that's one difference between us, but like, just having her there next to me along the way. And just having that sort of built in friend, you know, is huge. I think everyone should sort of do what makes sense in their situation, you know, for me, at first, it was like I was, in a sense, kind of happy to go off and just like try to conquer a new country on my own, you know, I was very comfortable traveling on my own. But that stuff has changed over time. And now when I travel alone, I get lonely quite quickly. And I'm also more stubborn and more crotchety or whatever, to go out and try to, like, make friends at the local bar for all, that's what I was doing before, but I just get tired of investing in friendships that last a night, or, you know, like, these people will go off to another hostel, or I jump to a new city. And it's really hard to keep investing and asking this and being asked the same 20 questions every night. You know, that's totally something that's really difficult for me to keep up. So just having that person to see the city with to, like bounce ideas off of to have a conversation partner, and everything else is, is amazing. So I think at this point in my life, and going forward, that'll be a vital part of any future moves. Of course, she was my wife, but you know what I'm saying? Like, it's just a totally different experience.

Daniel De Biasi 42:11

No, absolutely even the fact that you mentioned like, go into a new CD, start all over meeting friends. It's exhausting. And when you do it, like a multiple times, it's a lot of work, we start fresh in a new life in a new country. You start fresh even when you move to a new apartment, you've got nothing. So you have to recreate your life, it's tiring, and that's probably why people do sometimes, like just after a few country, they just stop because it's really, really exhausting.

David 42:34

Yeah, that's how I feel as well. It's just like, again, I mean, it's a different life stage now being married. And so we're in a small beach town outside of Porto. So like, I've totally changed from Berlin, Tokyo metropolis. At one point in my life, I thought I just want to see, I want to live in if I can in all the biggest cities in the world. And I mean, you know, it's kind of a crazy goal. But that was what I thought I was like, okay, Beijing, cool, let's do that, you know, and then Tokyo and Berlin. And where's next? But now, it's just very different priorities, like, slow down, try to live somewhere, you know, longer than 1 2 3 years, try to build a little bit of roots, like, live a comfortable life near the water, you know, again, moving with my wife, and everything is just totally different. And, at first, again, like, I just thought, like, how I just jumped into life in Berlin, I thought I would always be that way, you know, just move and like, instantly try to like, just be on my own and try to figure this thing out. And I just think my, my way of thinking, after so many moves, and realizing how hard it is to pack everything up and say your tearful goodbyes, and start everything over again. Like I'm kind of, I won't say that we'll be here forever, I have no idea what the future holds. But I'm definitely not eager to jump up and move somewhere else again,

Daniel De Biasi 43:47

Even like the friends that you mentioned, like making new friends it's emotionally even there like it's, it's a process because all the friends you made and then sooner or later or in for different ways, it just you lose them because either they move somewhere else, you move somewhere else. And it's like the people that you care about your friends and everything. So even then it's something to keep in consideration when you're when you decide to move abroad or leave for another country, something you need to keep in mind.

David 44:10

Yeah, I felt like and, of course, again, this wasn't my plan from the beginning, and the way I was kind of surprised it happened this way. But in both Tokyo and in Berlin, I was sort of the first person to make the move. I wasn't the last person jump off the sinking ship or something like I was the first person to go and just like dive in the water. You know, it was like, I'm out of here. I'm done with this. And you know, it was like super sad for the people as well. Of course, they're sad for me, but also for the people that were continuing to live there for the close friends that I had. And now I feel like here in Porto for other reasons, mostly, like COVID related and things like that, and just different makeup of the people here and the expats and I'll just a lot of different reasons. I feel like I'm the one who's staying behind and I love it. I don't feel like it's a sinking ship. But I also now I'm feeling the effects of kind of what I did. leaving other places, I mean, at least as I can presume that they felt or if I tried to put myself in their shoes. And yeah, it's hard, it's hard. And it's been really hard to make friends here, partially, or probably primarily because of this COVID pandemic situation. So, yeah, it's an ongoing process. But I do hope that with all the investment that I've made in trying to build relationships, and networks and friends here, that it will pay off, because I'm hoping to stay here for quite a bit longer. But let's see what the future holds.

Daniel De Biasi 45:27

And before moving to your latest adventure, I want to ask you a couple of questions just because you managed to move to three different countries by just finding a job there. What was your process? How did you find these jobs in other countries?

David 45:42

Yeah, every time that I moved, of course, outside of the one in Beijing, which was, you know, through that company, for those three months, every time that I moved long term to new country, I found a new local job there. So I mean, each one was different. But basically, I would just go on LinkedIn, like everybody else. But more importantly, it also reached out to recruiters. And you know, it depends on your field. And what you want to do there. And I was, I'm in a fortunate situation, which also was not planned to, because I started in finance, right? I thought maybe I could do that through banking, or something, I tried that a few times as well. And I applied to many foreign banks, but none of that kind of came together. But then I just managed to somehow get into product management for software, tech companies. And as a result, somehow, there are a lot of English speaking roles around the world. Again, it was not, like, let me get into this so that I could get abroad, it was just kind of I got lucky, it worked out. So I think I'm in a field where there's high demand, you know, I can prove my skill sets, and this and that, and through my experience, you know, built on itself over time. And so recruiters, I also tapped into my network when that was people from my university, and I would use the University alumni database, and reach out to those people with cold emails, or, you know, the recruiters again, or like, friends have sort of parts of networks of other people. So the kind of people in your network that are connectors, those people have a lot of relationships. And if they're more internationally minded, or you know, if they've done a lot of international business, then those people might be good people to tap into and see if they happen to know anybody in whatever city or country that you want to move to. So yeah, I think being in Berlin, it helps to also get those job interviews and other cities in Europe, I mean, it's an easier sell than moving somebody from the US, for example, not just in terms of proximity, and timezone and everything else, but also maybe expectations around earnings, you know, income and things like that, as opposed to I mean, it can be a big jump for people, if they're not prepared for it to come to European salary, if they're an established situation, the United States, for example. So I think it's just taken a ton of like you said, perseverance, a ton of stick to itiveness, and just continuing to knock on doors until something opens. And, like with Japan, I expected to find something there. And I didn't, but I just changed my approach changed my focus. And I got that offer. So that's kind of what I can say, I guess, in general, that sort of getting into specific countries, but it's a process that takes a lot of time. And you really have to dedicate yourself to it unless obviously, you know, fortunately, can come your way as well. So I wish that for people. But yeah, also, there's many ways to get abroad, like teaching English and things like that. It was just that I wanted to continue my career and try to do something where I wasn't just phoning it in, or what, you know, just doing it every day for eight 8, 10 hours a day, or whatever it is. And then just praying that I would enjoy the nights and weekends, I wanted to still be trying to feel like I was moving in my career and doing something that I was interested in and getting the added bonus of being abroad.

Daniel De Biasi 48:40

And your latest job in Portugal, even that pne came to a laid off once gain, like from a laid off something good happen. Because after you're laid off, you decided to start your own thing, your own project. Do you want to tell the listener what are you doing right now? What's your latest adventure?

David 48:55

Yeah, absolutely. I actually started this thing that I would call a side project called Expat Empire about three years ago. So basically, I was thinking about how I could eventually potentially start working for myself, and what skill sets or what things in my set of experiences would help other people or that I could, of course, turning to business. And what I kept getting to was coming back to it was really this experience abroad, and not just travel but really long term living abroad. So of course, you know, we've talked about places I've lived and how in this conversation, but I thought about maybe how I could help other people and be able to yeah, just make that sort of key part of my message and my career ultimately going forward. And so it really started as a side project. I started with writing a book about my time in Japan called Passport to Working in Japan to help other people if they're also interested in trying to find jobs in Japan, and especially ones outside of, you know, the typical English teaching route. So I did that and launched the website in July of 2018. I had the podcasts a couple months later, I think in December, started releasing those episodes and it just was something that I didn't really know how it would all kind of come together. And I'm still always in this process of iteration and figuring out, you know, where the future will take it. But I was having that going on in the background this last couple years. And yeah, with the job here in Porto, it was really cool, because it was a company that was focused on helping people to move abroad. So it was in that perfect position where I could learn, as well as, of course offer value. And they were interested in my application as well, because of that expat and buyer experience. And so it just came down to basically COVID related budget cuts. So the team was more than half the team was let go in one day. And so I was part of that. And that was in October of 2020. And the thing was, though, while again, it's a mindset thing, and I think as well, but I also had in the back of my mind, and it was my dream all along was to work on this business full time from Portugal, even when I was in Berlin, thinking about where we would be like my, my ultimate dream was, even then with that job in Portugal to Berlin, was to maybe I could work remotely from Portugal, and eventually leave that job. And once I was set up here and comfortable, eventually, you know, maybe be able to work on this full time. So I just saw that, you know, now we're in Portugal, now this thing just came out of nowhere, and a bunch of us got laid off. And so it's pretty much from the next week, I just was like, alright, well, now it's my chance to really go full time with this thing. So since October 2020, I've been full time on this and building a team of people working on it around the world. But basically what we do is outside of all of that content. So the books, I've also made courses and the podcasts and blog posts. And we have a meetup group here in Porto and things like that. So we have all this content, helping people to get inspired to move abroad and how they could do it and where they could do and things like that. But we also offer personalized consulting services to help people no matter where they are in their journey to get to that next step. And that could be that they're thinking about moving to a brand new country, and they're just in the very early stages of thinking about it, or maybe becoming a digital nomad, finding a job abroad or retiring abroad, you know, we'd really try to help anyone move anywhere. It's our ultimate goal. And so we do that through our destination comparison service, for example, looking at different places that they can move to around the world, countries or cities or looking at their visa options, and our piece of planning service or a checklist of all the steps they have to take before and after they move to get settled in a new country. We have a global network of partners that can help people on the ground to find houses, find schools for their kids get insurance and utilities and everything set up. So we get coaching and we have kind of all these different services. But basically again, it's just to help people where they are today to get to the next step and hopefully eventually to get abroad if that's their goal one way or another. And yeah, I would love for people to come check it out in And there, they can download the Ebook: Top 10 Tips for Moving Abroad based on my experiences moving to these different countries over the last years, as well as signing up for a free 30 minute consulting call to talk through their thoughts about what they want to do next, and get some feedback and see if it makes sense for us to work together going forward. So definitely recommend people check it out if they're interested in

Daniel De Biasi 53:03

That's amazing the work you do. And it's something that I like to do as well, something would try to build with the Emigrant's Life, do something similar just to help other people just help other people moving abroad, because I wish I had something like that when I decided to move abroad. Things worked out quite well when I did it. But I was lucky enough to go into on the right path, I guess. But at the same time, people are not as lucky as I was. People don't have the same path that maybe people can take the path that I took when I decided to leave my country and hopefully like through work and the service that you provide, and we provide with this podcast, get the help, they need to actually do it, to actually chase and live the life they want to live. So that's our goal, right? That's the mission.

David 53:43

Yeah. And I think I think you're doing great stuff with this podcast, and your blog and your website and everything. And it's been cool to see a lot of people sharing their stories on different platforms. And I think you know, it's a great time for people to be thinking about their next steps with all of this going on. Obviously, it's a crazy time, and we have to see how everything works out. But it's a chance for people to think about, are they happy where they're living? Are they happy in their careers? Are there other opportunities out there? And I think there's so many ways to get abroad, whether it's working holiday or student visas or golden visas or passive income and tyerman. And there's just like, so many different options, people are even getting citizenship through ancestry, and there's so many options that probably people don't even think about or know about. And so I think it's really great to be able to have those conversations and help people kind of think through the steps and what they need to do and just be a guide to the whole process.

Daniel De Biasi 54:32

Yeah, no, absolutely. And the next question, I know might be pretty obvious. Probably I know the answer. But it's one of the question I ask to all of my guests. So I'll ask you as well. So do you have any regrets about leaving your country?

David 54:45

No, I have absolutely zero regrets. And I can say that with confidence. And my goal is to keep staying abroad as long as possible. I don't know if that's gonna be in Portugal. It's gonna be you know, here there. I don't know what the future holds. At this point, you know, I really hate that question. And where do you see yourself in five years? Because every time I've answered it, I've been completely wrong. And I think that's just the way that it goes. Like I could have said in Japan, I'd still be in Japan, or I could have said in Germany, in Germany. So who knows. But the goal, kind of one of the last options on my list, which obviously, I am quite privileged and lucky to be able to say this, but it would be to go back to the US at this point, I think it's my dream growing up was to go abroad. And now that I've been able to do it, and across multiple countries, and like we talked about every time that I thought it might not happen, or I'd have to go back, or I was like, afraid of being deported, or, you know, whatever, I didn't know what the future held, it's managed to work out one way or another. And just to try to keep doing that, I'm going back to visit the us shortly. And I'm excited to go and see family and friends. But at the end of those trips, I'm always like, ready to come home, which for me now I mean, it's changed locations over the years, but now is in here in Porto. So I imagined I'll feel the same way this time, too.

Daniel De Biasi 55:56

Yeah, I totally get it. And do you feel lucky to be an immigrant?

David 56:01

Yeah, I feel extremely lucky. I mean, yeah, like you said, it was my goal. And it was my dream, and took a very bumpy road to make it happen at first and to stay abroad. But just the fact that I've found those job opportunities, and now that I've got, you know, the financial situation, and the business and everything set up to be able to sponsor myself, and that I found such a welcoming country here, and just generally had such good experiences abroad, I mean, certainly a lot of tough ones, and a lot of cultural shock, and adjustments and all of these things. But I feel extremely lucky to have this opportunity, and the fact that there are different types of pieces that can make it happen, and companies that are willing to sponsor people like me, and yeah, all those different ways that we talked about to be able to get abroad, it's, it's great to be able to share that message. Because a lot of people, I think they think that they have to get a job abroad. And of course I did, and many people do. But you know, there's different ways to make it happen. And it really depends on where you want to go, or how open and flexible you are with your plans. So yeah, it's worked out great for me so far. And I feel like it'll keep happening. But you know, there's definitely a big luck component, along with the hard work as well.

Daniel De Biasi 57:07

Absolutely more. And the more you do, the more you build the skills to know how to do it, and now you got the opportunity to help other people with your skills. So that's everything at the end. Not always, but usually it works out if you're putting effort into it.

David 57:19

Yes. 100%.

Daniel De Biasi 57:20

And with your experience now living in different countries, and now helping other people doing the same thing, is there anything that looking back, you would have done differently?

David 57:29

I don't think so. I really don't think so I think everything happened in some time. I believe that it took me a long time to come around on this. But I think for example, like we talked about, I tried 50 jobs, or at least applications in Japan, for jobs that were fitting, what I kind of generally wanted to do it wasn't just haphazardly applying to just a bunch of random stuff. There was a time that I thought maybe if I stuck it out and applied to 100. But I couldn't really find any more that I wanted in Tokyo. But maybe I could have tried other parts of Japan or just tried to broaden the horizon scope of the applications and the type of roles if- there was a time that I thought if I applied to 100, maybe I would have found something. It's still possible, I guess that that would have been true. But I also think, like, just given how in that case, it happened that the very first job I applied to in Berlin gave me an offer. I kind of think that even if I tried 100 or 200 applications, that I still wouldn't have gotten anything in Japan, you know, it's just one of those things that feels like that was the way that the universe was headed for me. And so I kind of I would just use that as an example to say across the board, in university, you know, the jobs that I've had, the different countries I've lived in, I think everything's happened in some time, even with this business. I thought before, especially when I was thinking about leaving Berlin, like maybe I just go full time in the business, but just didn't feel right. I wasn't ready. It just didn't feel right. And I knew that I wanted to get somewhere else if I could through a job. And somehow it was the one that again, that was the perfect role at the perfect kind of company in the right industry, in the city that we want to be in like, I feel again, very lucky, but But it feels somehow that universal. So I don't look back and regret anything or say that I should do something differently. I think everything happened just in the right way at the right time.

Daniel De Biasi 59:15

Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes like it feels like the universe or somebody something or whatever, just laid up the path in front of you, you understand that that's the way to go. Right? That's I'm not a religious person. I don't really believe in this kind of stuff. But sometimes it feels like it's something is walking your way to make it happen.

David 59:33

Yeah, I agree. I'm also not religious, but it does. In a sense, there's a benefit of hindsight. But I can also see is the thing where you know, the path forward I think will become clearer. If you knock on enough doors if you try hard enough, and you have to keep trying. And during that process, you might think oh, that would be the perfect job. That was what I was waiting for. You know, the other job didn't work out because this this is the perfect one. I'm so thankful that it didn't work out. I'm going to get this one and then you don't get that one. either, right, and then it happens again, it happens again. But then I got the job in Berlin. And then I went there. And guess what, that's where I met my wife. And some of the best friends have made my life and had all these great experiences. And then I tried all those jobs across Europe. And it's like, I got this close, you know, so many times, and then wow, got that job. It just like happened to come through. And it was like, so easy, you know, it just like I got that job so quickly, without much work or doing assignments. And all these things I didn't do for the other positions, or I didn't even come out to Puerto to do the in person interviews all over Skype, or zoom, or whatever it was. And just one of those things, and you kind of have to struggle through until the past becomes clear. But maybe that's enough spiritual mumbo jumbo for for today. But I do believe it.

Daniel De Biasi 1:00:44

No, yeah, I'm the same. I'm the same. And do you have any particular advice you would like to give to the listeners that are thinking or wanting to move abroad?

David 1:00:53

I think I would probably go back to what I said kind of before, but maybe to rephrase it and just say like, if this is really your goal, or your dream, or like something's calling to you, then I would strongly suggest trying to see if it's a possibility, that kind of thing I said about maybe it wouldn't work in Germany, or Japan for me or this or that. But I would rather know than sit in this endless game of questioning myself and wondering if it's really what I wanted in the way that if, for example, somebody wants to find a job somewhere else, I would say, well start applying, and just see if anything happens. And maybe you don't get any bites, but maybe you do. Or you know, reach out to career coaches or whatever company or form that, you know, person that take shape. Try that and go and, you know, tap into your network and just try to see if it will happen. Because I think sitting in that limbo, and just wondering, you know, it's never sort of the perfect time. Well, I guess except if you get laid off like I did, and then you can kind of say, well, that's okay, now I have the universe or whatever, again, has given me that space to experiment, to maybe there those key moments in your life to reassess as well. But sort of any day is as good as any other day in general with trying these things. I mean, yeah, might be a little bit difficult now for this or for that, but again, where you're trying to go, but in general, you know, you can always just try to move the ball a little bit further forward, I would recommend to people that they go for an action oriented solution approach, rather than just like pondering it endlessly if they're serious about it.

Daniel De Biasi 1:02:21

No, absolutely. And in your case, somebody else made the decision for you to lay you off. So you are forced to make a decision. Sometimes, like in my case, for example, when I decided to leave Italy, I quit my job, or everybody was saying that it wasn't smarter with like, a good job. It was like a stable job. Like, I don't want to do this, just like I want to go abroad. So you have to quit your job. So you have to make the decision yourself. So either way, that's what you want to do. Sometimes you have to make the decision. Sometimes somebody makes a decision for you. But if that's what you want to do, yeah, just do it.

David 1:02:52

Just go for it. Yeah.

Daniel De Biasi 1:02:54

Yeah. If you need help, just look for help,at the end, just try and do it, right?

David 1:02:58

Exactly. I think it's, it's better to do that, then. I mean, I kind of go back to this idea that I really try to live without regrets. And the way that I do that is by going after anything that I'm interested in, you know, if I'm serious about it, or even if I'm pondering it, you might, you know, just considering it, you might as well just give it a go. But I'd rather do that than be 80 years old, if I'm lucky enough to be that old and look back and be like, Why didn't I really go the extra mile to try to get to Japan, which was my goal, you know? So I guess that's just what's driving me forward as well. Just looking kind of trying to see the big picture, even when we're day to day in the midst of all the the details the weeds.

Daniel De Biasi 1:03:39

Yeah. Awesome. Thank you, David, for taking the time to do the interview. And for the listeners who wants to get in touch with you. I mean, probably Expert Empire will be the website to the way to the place to go. So is the place to go. Sweet. Thank you so much, David for taking the time and do this. I really, really, really appreciate it.

David 1:03:55

Yeah, it's been my pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity and look forward to keeping in touch.

Daniel De Biasi 1:03:59

Yeah, absolutely. Sweet. Awesome. Thanks.

David 1:04:02

Thank you.

Daniel De Biasi 1:04:02


Thank you so much for tuning in this week and stay until the end. If you enjoyed this episode and want to support the show, you can share this episode with your friend and you can leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Podchaser. As usual, you can find the links of everything we mentioned in this episode in the show notes by visiting If you want to follow us on social media, you can find us on Instagram and Twitter at Emigrant's Life and Facebook at Emigrant's Life Podcast. And one more thing before we wrap this up. If you want to move abroad and you need help, feel free to reach out to me either via email at or through our website, I look forward to meeting you and helping you any way possible. So thanks again for listening. Talk to you in the next one. Ciao.