This is part nine in my new Expat Interview Series, where I interview interesting expats around the world. I’m hoping this series of posts will provide some insight into what it is like to live overseas, and might even encourage a few people to pack their bags and make the move! If you are looking at moving abroad, check out this multiple citizenship site, great for expats.
Meet Laura and Tanbay, two soul-mates in their 20s from the UK and Germany. This incredible couple have been together for the past ten years and have been travelling the world for the last three. The travel blog, Travelling Weasels, documents their adventures in house sitting in exotic locations around the world and their brilliant YouTube channel is full of daily Vlogs including their very popular “English Girl Eats Foreign Treats” video series. Laura and Tanbay are an excellent example of a couple going against the grain, creating a fun and interesting life for themselves and refusing to conform to the norm! Oh, and they’re ridiculously fun to be around. They are currently working and living in beautiful Budapest!
What made you move abroad in the first place?
Initially, we were looking for an ‘easier’ way to live than renting, which is how we found house sitting (looking after someones pets and homes whilst they go on holiday). We planned to house sit in the UK and/or Germany, but quickly realised we could do it anywhere and everywhere, so obviously that meant flying to Australia.. Basically, moving abroad was kind of an accident, but we fell in love with it almost instantly.
How long have you been living abroad?
We left the UK in July 2013 to travel around Australia. After nine months we came back to Europe, but decided to keep on travelling and start our own businesses. By 2016 we’d built up a solid base and were able to take a step back from house sitting. We went to SE Asia for three months and started our daily YouTube channel. We’re now back in Europe and are slowly checking off countries and planning a trip to the Americas next year.
What’s the most difficult thing about living so far from home?
At first, missing family and friends was the hardest thing, but thanks to wonders like FaceTime and Skype, and because we make friends on the road, this got easier.
How did you make friends when you first arrived?
When we were house sitting full time, it was through our house sits – friends and family of the home owners. Nowadays we make most of our friends through our work – hotel managers, tour managers and of course travel bloggers and YouTubers.
What do you love the most about being an expat?
The variety of it, I think a lot of people crave security, comfort and a constant routine, but in fact these are what’s most damaging to us. It prevents us from growing and makes us boring and narrow-minded. Okay that’s a bit harsh, I can’t speak for anyone, but for me it certainly was true!
Has anything funny happened to you due to cultural differences or language barriers?
Nothing has been more humiliating for me when I forgot the word for ‘peanut’ in German (Erdnuss). I knew nut was Nuss, so I made an ‘educated’ guess and told my soon to be mother-in-law that I just ate some ‘pe-nuss’. haha.
How do you cope when things are going badly?
We have a few mantras: ‘It’s okay to be scared sometimes, as long as it doesn’t define who you are’, ‘failures are a part of life, if you don’t fail, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn, you’ll never change’. Repeating those a few times helps, as does keeping some perspective, things do occasionally go badly for us: broken bones in Australia, severe food poisoning in the Philippines, getting quarantined in China… but the more bad things that happen, the more you realise the bad times are temporary, and they make the best stories later on.
Do you think you travel a lot more now because you live overseas?
Definitely, if we were living back home we’d no doubt have jobs we hate and no time (or money!) to travel.
What are your future plans?
We are currently in Budapest, with plans to visit Croatia, Slovenia, Venice, the UK, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Sicily this year. Next year we are planning on going to either North or South America (but hopefully both)! In terms of ‘the future’ we don’t see ourselves settling down anytime soon, we love travel and each year we enjoy it more and more.
If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Find work that you love doing. Personally I don’t see the point in moving abroad to your dream country, and then spending the best part of your time picking pumpkins or doing something you hate!
Want to read more about Laura and Tanbay? Be sure to check out their blog “Travelling Weasels” and follow their adventures on Instagram!