Where it all began...

It's my curiosity about the world that led me to becoming a self-initiated expat for 15 years. Like many others, I thought life abroad would be an adventure. And it is! Except nobody prepared me for the rough parts of the adventure.

Struggles with feeling at ease in a new culture, making meaningful connections and establishing a career in a foreign country - these were all things I had to figure out by myself. But I was determined to keep going until I had made it work.

Over time I began to notice other expats quietly struggle just like I had. This made me realize that there's not enough honesty about the bad days of life abroad. So, in 2019 I started Bad Days Abroad to normalize talking about expat struggles so we don't have to deal with them alone.

Since then I've moved on to helping expats discover their needs and values and thereby help them decide whether to stay or go - because without a deep understanding of ourselves we won't feel good anywhere.
Years as expat
Countries lived
Months as repat

Quick facts about me

I'm a Third culture kid

Someone who falls between the cracks of several cultures, not really belonging anywhere and yet knowing exactly how to navigate unfamiliarity. I have family in Estonia, Switzerland and UK and I spent my formative years in Estonia, Russia, Finland and Switzerland.

Countries I've lived in

I've lived in Estonia, Russia, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal and UK. Although my passport country is Estonia, I have a much deeper connection to Switzerland and Portugal. There's just something right about those two countries.

Why I repatriated

A combination of expat burnout, identity crisis, need to settle down and curiosity about life in Estonia after 15 years abroad. It was a decision I made after several years of quiet pondering. Read more about it here.

biggest lesson

There's no such thing as the worst country in the world. Our success or failure in a foreign country is very individual. It depends at least partly on our current needs and values, whether those can be met in our new surroundings and our ability to adapt to things we can't change.

Things i love

I'm very passionate about good food and trying out new dishes - it's the most exciting part about traveling for me (that and taking photos). I also love hiking in nature and I feel particularly at peace in the forest (that's those Estonian roots in me!).

Language nerd

I've always been good at picking up new languages. In contrast, I'm terrible at math or any hard sciences. Growing up it was my goal to become a polyglot. Well, I did manage to learn 5 languages but on an average day I feel like I can't speak even one language well.

"I'm thankful to have stumbled upon your thoughts. Sometimes honesty stings, but it's better than vague "inspirational" quotes. You are appreciated.​"
JD
EXPAT DAD