A New Project

Following in the footsteps of Indie Hackers, a community of independent entrepreneurs, I’ve started the process of building a community of expats who discuss their lives in a new location. I’m planning to interview individuals, starting with myself, about the difficulties, experiences, and expectations experienced in the journey to build a new home. The entire ordeal has been so informative for me and I’m frequently asked questions, especially from those back home.

First things first, I need a name for this project. Expat Forum has been the working title, but doesn’t really do it for me. Today, in addition to writing personal answers to my first set of questions, I’m working on a name.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I was a big fan of Anthony Bourdain and his spirit of searching for connections in every corner of the world through food. This project has undoubtedly been influenced by him. Beyond that, his shows had catchy names, No Reservations and Parts Unknown, that got to the core of his purpose. I’d be foolish not to imitate. My strategy is to choose the words that evoke the emotion or description I’m looking for and then search for synonyms and antonyms that I can craft. Expat Forum is a little too on the nose, and I don’t like the word “expatriate”. It sounds like “ex-patriot”, and I can’t endorse that. But the word gets the point across, and a few searches around thesaurus.com leads to a good selection:

expat: foreigner, outsider, native
native: local, foreign
foreign: far, exotic, unknown, distant, remote, local
live: settle, flourish, savor, prosper

What I’m looking for is a title that evokes a feeling. My own experience abroad has been very different from that of any previous vacation or short adventure. I’ve built a new home here in many ways, both practically, in my apartment and the city in which I live, but also in my relationship with society, the people of the city, and its history. I have some ideas, I’d love to hear yours.

There’s rarely a day that I’m not asked about my time in London or the decision to move here. I hope these can be answered by me and others.Is the food really awful? How do people view the US over there? Why’d you move? I always save the most heartfelt answers for those who are thinking of making a move themselves. There’s a bond that forms with anyone who makes similar decisions, whether moving abroad, choosing a career, or becoming a parent. Boarding a one way flight to another part of the world makes an impact, and there are relatively few people we can turn to for advice. I hope this can be a place for the dreamers to find comfort and advice.

The plan now is to begin gathering interviews. It’d be easiest if the subjects could write the answers themselves but I doubt I’ll get the depth I’m searching for in the beginning. Instead, I’ll start with telephone conversations, sending the questions in advance, and a finished version for before publishing. In time, momentum should bring interviewees to me, but for now I’m on the search.

I would very much love to hear from you about this ([email protected]), mostly concerning 2 things:

  1. Do you like the idea? Do you have any suggestions for what should be included?
  2. Do you know anyone who would participate? The best candidates will have lived outside their home country for more than 1 year and be willing to discuss their experience with me. Feel free to send them my email (or email us both :)).

Thanks for your help, enjoy the World Cup!

Corey