Designing your own life

Take a step outside your comfort zone, and wander for a bit

Posted by Eddo on April 6, 2017

When I joined Raet four years ago, I couldn’t have thought that by now I’d be living in Madrid with my girlfriend. Sometimes, when opportunity knocks on your door, you open it.


The idea of living abroad had popped up in my head already quite some years ago, yet I was anticipating more countries like Ireland, UK, Denmark. Sweden, US, or maybe the New Zealand. I guess that US and GB are at the moment a bit out of the question, with respectively Trump and #brexit going on.

So far living and working in Madrid has been quite a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. Initially we took it on as experiment living abroad, as the assignment is just for a year on paper. Now actually living here for nine months already, we don’t see ourselves moving back to NL anytime soon.

How this all started

Two years ago Raet actually decided to focus on an international market by acquisition of a South America payroll & HR company, RH Pro, and then decided in order to atract new development talent to open an office in Madrid. One of the first employees hired was actually a team member for our development team. Not everything worked out quite alright in our team, and after a few months we had a new member on our team in Spain (rest of our team was still in NL). We expanded the team even further during the summer of 2015, and that led to me visiting the Madrid office in January of 2016. In my previous article I already wrote about the effect of physical presence and social contact in a distributed setting.

During some drinks while in Spain I was asked whether I would move to Spain for Raet, and I mentioned that under the right circumstances and conditions I would take it into consideration. That led to a chat with the department director a week later, and about five months later we actually moved out of our apartment in Deventer.

Has it been easy on us since then? Nope, it isn’t easy living in a foreign country where you barely can understand a word from anyone. We knew that in advance, and we also wanted to learn Spanish because of this. Well, actually we wanted to learn Spanish so that we can travel through South America on our own, yet that plan has changed a bit.

The dreams that we had while living in the Netherlands haven’t left us nor have we abandoned those, in fact the move to Spain has made it somewhat easier to make a decision on what we actually value in life. Sure, we miss friends that we used to see almost every week that still live in NL, yet we visit them when we have the chance. And we have made some new friends over here.

It is true that now that we live here, we see more of the country than we used to do while living in the Netherlands. Should we ever move again, that is something that I’d like to keep doing.

Take a chance when an opportunity comes around, or create an opportunity when you are in need of a change. You are responsible for your own happiness, and maybe take a step outside your comfort zone. What is the worst thing that can happen?

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