When I first told my mom about our decision to put in for an overseas assignment, she gave me this advice: Make sure you both have the same goals in doing so. Before ‘draft week’, we were asked to compile a list of the top 5 assignments Jonathan would like to be considered for. When narrowing down our list of five, we re-evaluated our goals based on each potential job location.
Jon’s company distinguishes between ‘hard-ship’ and non-hardship locations, and a few places like Thailand or Indonesia fall somewhere in between. Depending on where a location is on that scale determines the magnitude of employee benefits. For instance, taking a job in a ‘hardship’ like Angola would include a substantial pay increase and two “Rest and Relaxation“ vacations. Not to mention we’d have virtually no living expenses since the company pays for housing and vehicles.
Our goals for an Angolan assignment would be primarily to save enough money to pay cash for a house when we returned stateside and also to take some spectacular vacations to Europe and South Africa. Our goals for a location like Angola looked drastically different from a place like Aberdeen.
Non-hardship expat locations like Scotland, Canada, and Australia still have their perks but are more minimal in terms of benefits. Therefore our goals while in Aberdeen are a bit less financially ambitious; mainly we hope to travel Europe and somewhere along the way, start a family.
By going Ex-pat, Jon automatically gets 4 weeks of vacation, plus every other Friday off. Scotland also has several ‘bank’ holidays which will allow for long weekend trips around the country. There is a European Airline, Ryan Air, which offers unbelievably cheap airfare. Seriously, they make Southwest look ridiculously overpriced. I looked up a round trip flight to Dublin and it was 50 pounds (roughly 80 dollars) including luggage. With several cheap, direct flights it will be easy to take 4 day trips to Paris, Rome, London, Amsterdam, etc. Europe is our oyster.Since we don’t want to take any big trips immediately after getting to Scotland (and because there is nowhere better to be in the summer months than Scotland) we are planning on using our first few months to travel in-country. By the end of the Summer we hope to have seen the Isle of Skye (Jon’s choice) and the Orkney Isles (my choice).
|Scotland vs. Texas|
My biggest wants are the Brittany region of France, Portugal, and Croatia.
Oh yea, and Prague. And Budapest, Istanbul, Wales, Spain, Slovenia… And the list goes on and on and on. Which must see European sights are we missing?