InterNations expat guestblogger Brynne explains why and how she came to establish her own relocation company.
My expat journey has taken me from Hong Kong to India to London and beyond. In the process, I have danced tango in Delhi, gained a love of Chinese pop art, and embarrassingly mistaken a British royal for a commoner. I’ve hunted down candy corn in Singapore, avoided baijiu in Beijing and cooked an American thanksgiving dinner with my Hong Kong amah. I’ve straddle continents, cultures and languages, and simultaneously loved the ride and longed for the comforts, conventions and customer service of home. Along the way, I worked in finance, earned an MBA and started a business to help others do just the same.
In early 2010, I moved to London to do my MBA at London Business School. After years of living in Asia, I anticipated a smooth move westward to an English-speaking country I was familiar with. The reality was very different, however. My husband and I first moved into a short-term sublet apartment rented and managed by notorious British estate agent, Foxtons. Deceivingly attractive from the outside, the apartment lacked hot water, internet or a proper dining room floor. To make matters worse, I had no bank account or mobile phone yet, without proof permanent address (take note, those moving to London!).
One evening, in a moment of sheer frustration, I asked my husband why it was so easy to plan a holiday online to basically anywhere in the world and still so hard to plan a move between major international cities (in my case, Singapore to London). “You should change it,” he said. And thus, MOVE Guides, the one-stop-shop for international relocation, was born. MOVE Guides helps professionals plan an end-to-end move with expert local content, unique move planning tools, and price comparison and booking for services like shipping personal goods, opening a bank account and finding a home.
I love living abroad. I think every person should experience it and I think every country should welcome those from abroad to its shores. We live in an exceptionally global time with unique global challenges, skills gaps and connectivity. MOVE Guides wants to ease the flow of both labour and capital across borders. Gen Y and millennials (roughly those born after 1979) are the most globalized and connected generations ever. Our research shows that more than 92% of people in this demographic expect to live and work abroad. They relate to peers across borders perhaps even more than to those within the same borders. An American expat in Brazil often has more in common with an Aussie expat in France than an American in the USA.
Expats collectively share an experience that broadens their perspectives, heightens their maturity and raises their self-awareness. We are a unique breed that travels more than average, uses technology regularly, and craves adventures most wouldn’t dream of. If we were a country, we’d be bigger than Brazil. It is MOVE Guides hope that going forward planning a move abroad will be as logistically simple as planning a holiday…and that many more people will get to try baijiu in Beijing, tango in Delhi and Thanksgiving in Hong Kong.
Brynne Herbert is the founder and CEO of MOVE Guides, a one-stop-shop for international relocation. Previously, she worked in finance throughout Asia. Brynne is an American expat, who currently lives in London with her Kiwi husband. She speaks four languages, practices yoga and runs half marathons. She holds a B.A. in History from Yale University and an MBA from London Business School.