Guest Post by Richard Bee
I am proud to be an Australian, but even more defining — I’m what you might call a professional expat.
I have essentially been away from home and on the road since 1958 when my father, an airline pilot, accepted a posting to a foreign land.
So off we went, my parents, my three sisters and I, all of us dressed to the nines (as it used to be) in one of the last Super Constellation flights across the Pacific. After two unplanned but very memorable weeks in Fiji due to engine trouble we arrived in San Francisco, and a new life opened for all of us.
That was more than 54 years ago.
Adaptability is Key
When it came my turn to choose a career, I left what a cushy job and accepted a position with an unknown startup that provided me with unlimited travel, a global network of true friends, and a plethora of experiences that would enrich my life beyond anything I could imagine at the time.
As an expat child, I learned from a very early age to be adaptable. We moved yearly because my father’s job only renewed in annual increments and my parents firmly believed new experiences were the stuff growth was made of.
So every year we moved into a new home in a new neighborhood, went to a new school, and left everything familiar behind.
If you’re reading this, have a family, and are considering an expat life away from your homeland and extended family, my advice would be to go for it.
Your children will probably hate you momentarily and cry for a few days about missed best friends and changes to their schooling, but within days their lives will change to such an extent that they will be looking forward to something new with passion. Their old life, although not forgotten, will become a cherished memory as they look forward to new things in new places with increasing vigor.
That being said, there were some things that we really missed.
In my case, when I was young, it was Jaffas (orange covered chocolates found only in Oz) and Vegemite (an Australian treat). We would wait for my father’s flight-crew friends or family friends who visited to bring those special things we missed from Australia.
We were lucky, because there were other expats without access to a supply chain that would make those treats they missed from home available — even if only in limited quantities. Some is definitely better than none.
Well, that was many years ago.
It’s much easier for today’s expats. With a little foresight, they can receive virtually anything they need or desire wherever they are located.
The solution is easy — hire a shipping service that understands an expat’s needs. When all is said and done, you can relax on your beach chair in an exotic location and still have access to those treats and personal indulgences you miss from home.
What to Look for in a Package Consolidator
Package consolidators are easy to find in almost every country of the world. Some are better than others.
The best consolidator will
- receive your online orders
- inspect content for damage
- repackage as necessary
More importantly, they will provide you with the key to overcoming what I term “Express Shipping Shock” — consolidation. This important step in your personal supply chain will save you enormous amounts on shipping charges and dramatically reduce the price of your much-needed indulgences.
A WORD FROM THE WISE: You need to make sure you and your consolidator understand that some items simply can’t fly. The difference between a good consolidator and a sham is simple — the good consolidator will go out of their way to assure your complete satisfaction and you will receive everything you purchase online in good order.
The sham consolidator will simply treat you as a number, will not advise you as to the acceptability of the products you order, and will treat you as an account number getting your goods in and out of their facility as quickly and as painlessly (for them) as possible.
The expat lifestyle is a wonderful opportunity for both you and your family. If you are considering moving offshore with your family, your children will thank you later for the most memorable and life-changing experiences of their lives.
Take the time to look at the options available for an off-shore virtual address for your household — then go forth out into the World and have a wonderful time!
Richard Bee lives in The United States. He’s still an Australian, still an expat, and still travels as often as possible. His partner, American Aileen Scurato, misses some things when they travel. For example, as a “normal” size American woman, she needs larger sizes of clothing than she can find in a foreign location where the indigenous people are of smaller stature.
Richard is an Express Industry pioneer and was the first Manager/employee of DHL International Limited in Sydney, Australia in 1973. Aileen and Richard operate ThePouch, a virtual address and drop-ship service, where they cater to the needs of expats.