Along with working as coach for global nomads living around the world, I also post an Interview Series on this website where I share the stories of global nomads who have moved abroad, are traveling the globe, or are transitioning to life back at home.
I’m pleased to present to you today the very first couple that has been featured as part of the interview series. Miguel and Yvonne are the travel bloggers behind Trip Bitten, where you’ll find the following story of how they met, and all about their adventures of traveling as a couple:
“[We] met each other in Shaoxing, China, a little over 4 years ago. You could say we’ve been together since the day we met. Shortly after we became a couple we went on a backpacking trip through China. After that trip a lot of other trips followed; together we’ve been to Korea, the Philippines, the Netherlands and Thailand.”
Tell us a little about yourselves.
We are Miguel (USA, Florida) and Yvonne (the Netherlands) and we currently live in Beijing, China. Miguel works for CNPC, an oil company and Yvonne studies Chinese at the Communication University of China. We love to travel and Miguel writes a marketing blog.
What motivated you to move abroad?
Yvonne: After graduating in 2009 I found it very hard to find a position as a primary school teacher. After substituting for a year and saving my pennies I decided to go travel for a while and afterwards come back to the Netherlands. That didn’t happen and (almost) 5 years later I am still living in China.
Miguel: I was tired of living in the US and after graduating from university, I wanted to see the world and see how other people live.
Where all have you lived abroad? What place was your favorite and why?
Yvonne: In 2008 I lived in Jyvaskyla, Finland for a semester. I had the time of my life there: a great country for outdoor activities, a lot of parties and a lot of opportunities to travel. During the 5 years I’ve been in China I have lived in Shaoxing, Shenyang, and currently Beijing.
Miguel: I have only lived in China and the US. I really like Beijing. I would like to live in Europe in the future, maybe the Netherlands.
What’s the most difficult part about living abroad? What’s the best part?
Yvonne: the most difficult part is being so far from family and friends back in the Netherlands. I’ve had a tough year and at moments I thought about going back to the Netherlands just so I could be with my family.
The best part is really getting to know a culture and the people as well as getting to know people from other countries who are living in China.
Miguel: The difficult part is being away from family, but you get used to it. The best part is the ability to travel more.
What have you learned from living abroad?
Yvonne: That I can easily adapt to new cultures and lifestyles. China is very different from the Netherlands, but I have never really encountered culture shock.
Miguel: It is much easier to do than many people believe. It is easy to live abroad if you are flexible and you have an open attitude. I also have learned more about myself and have become more independent.
What is your secret to keeping a positive attitude while living abroad?
Yvonne: laugh! Sometimes things are so bizarre, that the only best thing to do is to laugh about it. If I start wondering why certain things are the way they are I will most likely get very frustrated and that’s not worth it.
Miguel: I often get frustrated with work and work culture, but it is part of the gig. If I wanted it easy and ‘normal’ I would move back home. Every culture is different and you have to be willing to adapt or you will be unhappy. I have learned to adapt and for the most part keep a positive attitude, like Yvonne said “you have to laugh!”
What’s the best place you’ve ever traveled to?
Yvonne: Lapland was amazing for its Northern Lights, Thailand for its food and China for its nature. It is just impossible to pick one place as all the places I traveled to had something special.
Miguel: Every place is unique, but if I had to pick one place: South Korea. I really liked the people, food, and culture. Of course, I was only there for 2 weeks, so it is really hard to say much. I also liked France (Paris) and the Netherlands. I love to travel, so, I usually have a good time no matter where I am traveling.
Do you have a bucket list? Would you share with us a couple of things on that list?
Yvonne: Do you have a minute? There are so many places I would love to visit that it would take a long time to list them all. The ones on top of my list are a trip to Japan, riding the Trans Mongolian Express and seeing the Big Five in Africa.
Miguel: I have a few bucket lists. We all have goals and dreams for work, life, family, travel. On my travel bucket list, it would be easier to name the countries I am not interested in than the ones I want to visit. I am pretty much interested in see all places during peace time. I think safety is important, so, war zones are not high on my bucket list.
What advice do you have for people who are considering moving abroad, but are feeling doubtful?
Yvonne: Make a list of pros and cons, look at your finances (keep a good amount of money saved for when you come back) and if possible follow your dreams. It’s better to regret the chances you took and didn’t work out than regretting not taking the chances you had and looking back & thinking ‘what if…’.
Miguel: If it is something you really want to do…. You will do it. If you have doubt it is because you are not sure if you want to do it. It is all in your mind, I could tell you a thousand reasons why you should do something, but if you are not ready to do it…. You won’t do it. It’s that simple. Find out why you aren’t ready and work on that, everything has been done before, so you can do it if you want. The only thing holding you back is you.
ABOUT MELISSA PARKS, THE FOUNDER OF INTENTIONAL EXPAT:
I moved from Seattle (USA) to Madrid, Spain in 2009 in order to work as an English teacher for a year. I soon discovered that when you accept the invitation to become a global nomad, life may take you in unexpected directions! This one year abroad turned into ten, and during that time I earned my master’s degree and PhD in Clinical & Health Psychology, lived in both Spain and the Netherlands, became fluent in Spanish, transitioned from an accidental to an intentional expat, and met my future husband, a fellow global nomad. I recently relocated back to Seattle and provide online coaching for global nomads, If you’re a global nomad yourself and want to be featured in a future interview, please get in touch!
Would you like to learn more about my coaching services for expats and global nomads? I offer a free 30-minute consultation for potential clients so that you can see if my coaching services are a good fit for you: