Kayla's Column, Philippines

Becoming an Expat in the Philippines

As the cliches go…I took the leap, I dove in, I just did it! But really — how and why did I become an expat in the Philippines?

How did I become an expat in the Philippines?

The story really begins in 2011 when I accepted an internship with GoAbroad.com. I was a junior at Colorado State University, taking full time honors courses and running a residential cleaning business on the side, when I realized I really wanted to start gaining experience in the areas I was studying and loved — marketing and social media. I remember interviewing for GoAbroad’s Social Media Internship like it was yesterday. I was nervous and hopeful. I remember telling my parents, “How cool would it be if I got to work with this company!? I bet I will get opportunities to travel, which is what I’ve always wanted to do!”

Fast forward to 2017 and I’m still loving working for GoAbroad.com, and living and working in the Philippines as a result. It was GoAbroad that afforded me my first trip overseas to the Philippines in 2012, a trip to Australia in 2013, several months living in the Philippines in 2014, a whirlwind tour of the UK in 2015, more months living in Ireland in 2015, and then back to stay in the Philippines long-term in 2017.

Working for GoAbroad.com has been so much more than a fulfilling job. It has changed and shaped my life, introduced me to meaningful travel, and allowed me to meet and work with inspiring and incredibly talented people. GoAbroad’s President and Founder, Troy Peden’s vision and generosity are one of the main reasons I’m able to happily call myself an expat. From day one, the way he described the power of travel inspired me to always reach for more and to always jump on an opportunity to travel. His commitment to changing the world one traveler at a time is something that I hope to champion the rest of my life.

Troy and I gearing up for a GoAbroad event.

As a happy coincidence, Troy sent me a surprise guest post at the same time I was drafting this post. He so eloquently describes the transformative power of travel and what it means for small-town kids like us — give it a read!

Why did I become an expat in the Philippines?

It might be a better story if I could pinpoint the exact moment that I became enthralled with the idea of traveling the world, but the truth is, I wanted to explore the world for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I didn’t want to be a police officer or an astronaut; believe it or not, I wanted to be a business woman. For years I wanted to work in print advertising (magazines specifically) in New York City. I dreamed about going to work in a big fancy building and getting to travel around the world to meet with clients. I had this vision of myself in high heels with a suitcase (haha!). Looking back on that now, I know that the parts I was really drawn to were feeling accomplished in my job, and of course getting to see the world. I can’t help but smile as I write this, feeling truly amazed that I can say those two things are now my reality.

What I actually usually look like when I’m traveling for work, and grumpy about being photographed in this state! 😉

In truth, I became an expat to fulfill my dream of immersing in another culture; to continue my love affair with meaningful travel; to make new friends and meet new people; to become a global citizen and a better person; and to continue building the foundation of a life that I’ll be proud to share with my future grandchildren. I couldn’t be more grateful to also be able to share this experience with Tyler, and for us to learn and grow together through this beautiful thing we call life!

Have suggestions for what we should write about next? Tell us in the comments! 

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