35 Embracing Culture and Mastering Japanese with David McNeill of Expat Empire

Alone With Peter
Alone With Peter
35 Embracing Culture and Mastering Japanese with David McNeill of Expat Empire

Moving abroad is exciting but also overwhelming. What do I pack? How do I find a place to live overseas. Will my job sponsor my visa? The questions go on and on and it can be hard to find the right answers.

David McNeill of Expat Empire has been there. He knows what it’s like to need stability in a new environment and he’s on a mission to help others with their move abroad. In Season 2 episode 18 of Alone with Peter we talk about David’s childhood, his attitude surrounding travel and cultural exchange, his move to Japan, and how he became fluent in Japanese,

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Feeling at Home in the Netherlands and South Korea with Peter Kersting | Expat Empire Podcast 46

I actually had the privilege of being on David’s podcast Expat Empire a few months ago to talk about my time living abroad. You can check that out here!

David McNeill Founder of Expat Empire

If you want to get in touch with David McNeill or learn more about what Expat Empire has to offer your move abroad check out the links below.

Website: https://expatempire.com

Podcast: https://expatempire.com/podcast-overview/

Facebook: https://facebook.com/expatempire

Instagram: https://instagram.com/expatempire

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/expatempire/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/ExpatEmpire

Please enjoy part 1 of our interview with David McNeill, Founder of Expat Empire

*Transcripts may contain a few typos. With interviews ranging from 1-2 hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors.

Peter Kersting: Welcome to Alone with Peter. I’m your host, and on this podcast, you’re going to hear interviews with entrepreneurs, artists, digital nomads and people seeking personal growth. We’ll dive deep into what set them on their journey, where they are now and how their story can impact you, including any helpful insights if you aspire to take a similar leap of faith. No matter where you are on the journey, thank you for spending some quality time Alone with Peter. Today, we’re talking to someone who crosses a lot of those lines. I’m excited to have David McNeill on the show for a few reasons. David is the founder of Expat Empire, a business designed to inspire you to move abroad, giving you the tools you need to make that plunge swimmingly. We’ll talk about how he got started and what Expat Empire has to offer you and your international journey.

Peter Kersting: David is also a podcaster, traveler, and I call him a digital nomad, but we’ll get into what that term even means. He’s lived in Tokyo, Berlin, and now Porto, Portugal, and he’s fluent in Japanese. We’ll focus quite a bit on David’s experience with Japan as it’s an integral part of his story and something I’m personally invested in. In part one, we’re talking about David’s childhood, travel, cultural exchange and Japanese studies. Stick around because this is going to be a really fun three part interview, concluding with some helpful tips for you if you’re interested in doing something similar. So without further ado, let’s get into our interview with David McNeill of Expat Empire. Well, David, that’s kind of a weird tease, but I want to get started by saying how the heck are you, man?

David McNeill: I’m good. I’m good. Thanks so much for having me on the show. It’s a pleasure to be here and talk about my story, and I know we’ve talked about yours as well. So a lot of things that we have in common, and I’m sure past that we’ll cross, hopefully physically one of these days, but definitely at least in spirit.

Peter Kersting: Dude, I would be so excited to meet you in Portugal for a beer, which brings me to my first question. Tell us where you’re from originally, but cat’s out of the bag, where are you right now?

David McNeill: Yeah, so I’m originally from the United States, and as to where there it’s a little hard to pin down, but I was born in Northern California. So maybe that’s the easiest answer, but we moved around growing up a lot. But now I am based in Porto, Portugal or actually just outside of Porto, the downtown in an area called Matosinhos, which is more of a beach town vibe that we’ve got going on over here. Yeah, I guess that brings me up to where I am today, but definitely I’m sure we’ll dive into all the good stuff in between.

Peter Kersting: We are definitely going to dive into a whole smorgasbord of things, because the way the Alone with Peter is designed is we spend a lot of intimate time with our guests. We do three part interviews. So today in this episode we’re going to be getting into your backstory. So I hope you’re ready to talk about some stuff, because I want to get an idea of who David McNeill is. I think in order to do that, we have to talk about who, not who you were, but where you came from.

David McNeill: Yeah.

Peter Kersting: So tell me a little bit about what it was like moving around so much, because it sounds like you’re from San Francisco but that’s not where you stayed all the time.

David McNeill: Right. Right. So yeah, we moved many times growing up, mom, dad and my sister, younger sister, mostly because of my parents’ jobs one way or another, it wasn’t military or anything. But my dad was working in visual effects for motion pictures for films for a while. My mom was a teacher, but she has a PhD and got a position at university and things like that. So for her job, we moved sometimes for my dad job, we moved sometimes. Yeah. I think that was a big part of just my experience growing up, obviously having to deal with that, but also learning that I could kind of pick up my life and go make new friends and get comfortable in different environments. Mostly it was the West Coast and the south, actually spent most of my years growing up the childhood in Alabama, in mobile Alabama or nearby there, where my grandparents are as well.

David McNeill: So that’s a big change from somewhere like California and then also even going back there to the Los Angeles area for high school. So huge cultural shift even within the United States, and then from there it was like, okay, where for college? For me it was like, there’s a lot of great schools here in California, but I would like to go somewhere totally different. So for me it ended up being the University of Texas at Austin. I applied to all out of state schools, but ended up going there and yeah, just ultimately continued my career in different cities in as well. So I think it had a huge impact on my desire to experience something different, and eventually that became certainly getting abroad as well.

Peter Kersting: I always laugh when I ask that question, where are you from to somebody who’s a traveler because I find this always a caveat. It’s like, well, technically I’m from this place, but I’m also from here.

David McNeill: Right.

Peter Kersting: Is that how you feel?

David McNeill: Yeah. It’s always hard to pin down and I want to give an honest answer, but I have to talk like that for a while to try to explain it and even then it doesn’t really get, like I missed a couple places when I just gave that overview. Especially when you’re a broad, because I think because now I would view my home, for example, here in Portugal, more than I feel connected to United States. But of course I’m from there, I’m not Portuguese, I’m not local. Then, there’s the other weird aspect of it where at least in other places, especially in a place like Japan, but frankly all over that I’ve lived and I’ve visited. When you say the United States, they’re like, “Great. So are you from New York city or are you from Los Angeles or are you from San Francisco?”

David McNeill: Basically, it’s like you have three options, and luckily I could say at times San Francisco, I could say Los Angeles, but there were also times where I wasn’t living in those places and it’s hard to know how to respond in a way that they would really be able to get it. Of course, the US is huge and geography is pretty much hard for everybody. But it’s nice to be able to say I’m from a place that they can connect with on some level, even from the Hollywood movies and TV shows. But may not be, of course that’s not an authentic view, but it doesn’t also gather all of my experience even within the US.

Peter Kersting: I’m smiling because I remember from my experience living in Europe, that it felt like if a European word to draw a map, before I say this, Europeans are actually pretty good about knowing where other countries are, because they’re surrounded by so many different countries. The US is almost like a bunch of different little countries together, but it’s so big that it’s just a weird difference, right? But when Europeans, I feel like if they were going to draw a map, it would be California and the middle is Texas, the bottom right corner is Disney World, and then the top is New York. That’s what people know. Then, if you’re saying, you’re from some place like Arizona, I don’t know what that is. Maybe they go, “Oh, Cowboys,” or something like that.

Peter Kersting: But you made a point earlier, I don’t know how much people really reflect on this enough that the US is so different culturally. Already in your childhood, traveling from San Francisco to Mobile, Alabama to Los Angeles and the other places that you’ve been, it was our huge cultural shifts. Did you feel that as a child moving around? What was your experience of culture?

David McNeill: Yeah. I’m sure I did on some level, but maybe not too consciously admittedly. I mean, so I mentioned also that I went to high school in the LA area. I went to university at the University of Texas at Austin. I didn’t have really much of any other experience with Texas and even then, I mean, I was just in and around Austin, which is its own unique city and vibe. I just remember in my freshman year of university, in the first semester I was asked by somebody, “Oh, did you decide to come to Austin because it’s more progressive and liberal and so on?” I just looked at her and I couldn’t even really understand what she was saying, because it wasn’t even a thing that thought about. It wasn’t necessarily about culture or politics at that point or anything.

David McNeill: It was just about, this is a cool city. For that matter, they have a great university and I got into a good program. Also, a big thing for me is I love concerts and I love going to see live music and that’s “the live music capital of the world,” I think debatable. But it was a great place to go to school and to experience, I don’t know, the “culture” in Austin. But I guess what I thought too, even going from yeah Mobile to Los Angeles was, well great, we get to go to the big city. Of course for me, I was also around the time that I started getting interested in Japanese and there were actual Japanese programs there. It was just I love the idea of exploring something new, but I wouldn’t put it too much in some sort of cultural way in a sense. It was just it was new and big and interesting, and I wanted to dive in and just soak it all in, wherever it was and whatever it brought.

Peter Kersting: I’m not going to skirt over the Japanese, but we’re going to talk about it a little bit later. I want to touch on something else you just said. It seems like for you, the first or second choice about a location is not about, like you said, the politics or the demographic necessarily, it’s about other things. What are some of the things that really attract you to a different location?

David McNeill: I think one of the things that I love just in general, not just about even living somewhere, but traveling somewhere as well is, I think my favorite thing and what I always look forward to on some level. I love going to a new place is just the feeling of putting in your headphones, listening to music and walking around and getting lost. I always kind of deep down on some level, even continuing today have that wonder lust. I think it’s just somewhere deep inside of me, and I think that’s true for a lot of travelers and expats and so on. So I think that’s something that I’m always searching out and I love to visit a place again the second time. Of course, you can’t typically see everything the first time, depending of course how big the city is.

David McNeill: But there is something that’s really special about seeing a place for the first time, and just having that feeling of, you turn right, you don’t know what you’re going to find, and then you don’t know if you can get back. Obviously, it’s aided by things like Google maps and I’m not saying I’m completely lost to the world, but it’s a great experience. It’s always interesting to move to a new place and then have that, and then after a couple weeks or months, you kind of feel you know the place more or less like the back of your hand, and then you end up desiring that feeling again. So it’s something that keeps me going.

Peter Kersting: Okay. This brings me to a question that I often think about, and I know the answer for myself, but I’d be curious to hear what you think. Then, in general, what do you think the answer is. In my experience, the people who are the most traveled or who just enjoy living abroad long term the most are people who look at cultural differences, differences in location, even some of the crazy things that happen in travel. They look at those “differences” as exciting rather than scary.

David McNeill: Yeah, absolutely. I think the same. I mean, I do try as I can to see different festivals or holidays or interact and engage with different traditions and festivities, and things like that. So I think that’s a great part of it and what I’ve often thought, and this is even true in the United States, for example, in university. But as I’ve moved into different cities and countries around the world is that that first year that I’m somewhere is, while it’s really hard, I mean, just all the paperwork and getting settled and finding a place and making friends, and all that stuff that comes with it. It’s also the most exciting and engaging because you haven’t necessarily experienced Christmas in that culture or whatever their local holidays are, and things like that.

David McNeill: So that first year is so absolutely packed with that wanderlust feeling and getting everything set up. What typically happens is I go into year two and it’s still usually pretty good, but it’s a big step down in terms of the excitement around that exploring something brand new, because it’s like, “Oh yeah, I remember this from last year,” or, “That was fun, but maybe I’ll just stay in this year or whatever.” Luckily, at least here in Portugal, I feel now having been here just rounding up on two years, actually still really love it here and there’re that I want to dig into. I mean, part of that’s probably also because of the pandemic that we’re going through. Can’t do as much as I would’ve liked, but I’m glad to be in that mindset today as opposed to most of the countries and places I’ve been in things, where it’s like that first year is full on and then I start thinking about where’s next.

Peter Kersting: That is a really interesting take. I appreciate the honest answer, because I’ve noticed this with people that I’ve met traveling, they’re very interesting people. They’ve been to a lot of different places, but they feel somehow they can’t stick around long, they need to get out. I wonder for you, have you ever felt, wow, I really, is it a discomfort thing or is it just you’re so excited to try the next thing? Because it’s a very different challenge to grow root somewhere than it is to experience something new, take off again.

David McNeill: Yeah. Yeah. It is. I think that’s the sort of strange part is I mentioned that one year that it takes to kind of get acquainted with everything comfortable and that’s the most exciting time. So on the one hand when you’re going, at least in my experience, when I’m going to year two, I maybe am starting to get that wanderlust again. But on the other hand, that’s at the point where I’ve actually settled into the place to some degree, you’ve made friends, you’ve got the apartment, you’ve got the job or whatever it is the situation is. So there is a push and pull there.

David McNeill: There’s the part of you that wants to go and explore and get out, I mean, of course you can travel on the weekends and things like that. But maybe there’s, I guess kind of a FOMO element of it, but there’s also that idea of, who knows how many years you have on this earth and that type of thing. So it’s like you want to pack in a lot of stuff and don’t necessarily, at least in my case, never wanted to sort of wait until the retirement year.

Alone With Peter.

Peter Kersting: I think it’s safe to say that if you listen to this show on a regular basis, you probably agree with David, that life is about experiences and how we treat people along the way. I’ve been enjoying this interview with David so much and I hope you have been as well.

If you find value in Alone with Peter, I ask that you leave a review on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get podcast. If you want to talk more to David McNeill on a follow up Q&A at some point down the road, let me know on Instagram @alonewithpeter, send me a DM, leave a comment on one of the posts. I’d love to have him back on the show, but I want to hear what you guys think. So with that, let’s get back to David from Expat Empire.

David McNeill: So there’s that type of thing I think that was driving me when I was younger of, I just had this idea of, I want to live in all the big cities of the world and I didn’t clarify or define that. Eventually, I realized that was, I mean, not impossible, but probably just not as much fun as it sounded experience of getting, again, like pulling out the roots and going through the process all over again. But that was definitely what I was feeling up front. So I do think that there’s… I think it changes over time, but I think that there’s a push and pull in making the roots, and then also leaving them shallow enough to where it’s not horribly painful to pull them out.

Peter Kersting: I’m glad you used that analogy because that’s exactly how I felt in the past is, the longer you stay somewhere, the more time you have to spread roots deep, right? I remember feeling when I was leaving South Korea, which I lived there for a year. You said a year usually it takes to get really accustomed and get comfortable and stuff. I was fortunate enough to have made some really deep connections even within that time. Not to say that other people don’t, of course they do, but I felt I was so blessed in that place that I made really strong connections with Koreans. So leaving, I felt like a potted plant kind of, like my roots were pretty deep, but they weren’t so deep that you couldn’t pull them out. They’re just going to bring some of the soil with it. I wonder how much you want to build roots at this point versus keep them shallow at this stage in your life.

David McNeill: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s definitely changed, and I mean, part of that is shown by, okay, I said before, I wanted to be in these big cities so I did. Before I had left the US, I was in San Francisco, then I was in Tokyo, then I was in Berlin, and then we moved to a very small beach town in Portugal. So totally different vibe. Yeah. Also, got married two years ago, a little over two years ago as well. That’s right before we moved to Portugal. So that’s kind of part of it too, but it’s all of that. I think it’s just a changing life stage. But at this point we do intend to be here in Portugal for the foreseeable future. Hopefully the next few years, you never know. I’ve moved now a few times before I thought that I might do so, or when you start out, you think it’ll be maybe the rest of your years, but then you kind of, you never know.

David McNeill: But at this point, trying to put down the roots, maybe not completely, I would doubt that this is the last spot, just because of how it’s been so far. If I were to put my money, it would be somewhere else. But not because it’s not, Portugal’s amazing, but just the way that these things go. So trying to put those out there and not try at this point to think too much about any consequences of that down the road, because I think we have a more long term view than I had in the past.

Peter Kersting: How much of that is being present versus thinking ahead?

David McNeill: Yeah. That’s a hard one, because I think it’s a great question. I thought about it more like… I did have some, I guess, challenges in the end for being present when my mind was always thinking ahead. But I do think that there was an element of just that wanderlust that kept flooding in. So in a way, I mean, I also know people that have been in Berlin and that’s their first city abroad for five plus years. Or of course, I knew people in Japan that were there for 10, 20 years. So there’s the people who make it for the long haul and maybe they don’t have those thoughts or they aren’t as strong. But I think at that time in my life, it was that thing that was just, I need to… There’s only so many minutes in the day and so many days in the year, I got to keep it going. I got to keep living this life and exploring.

David McNeill: So that was coming up and I was trying to still… I guess I thought about this way, I thought, okay, I want to… Whenever I thought about making a move to another country or another city, I thought, I want to get to the point, I want to have done the things and said the things and mostly seeing the sites or doing this or that activity that’s known for the place. I want to do those things such that I’m in a position where if an opportunity were to come up, I would feel no regret in taking it, because I had done those things that I wanted to do. That was my mentality around it. So it was still trying to be present and to get those things done, but there was still maybe a checklist type mentality to it, obviously to some degree.

David McNeill: But now, I mean, I guess I’m looking forward in different ways. I mean, in terms of the lifestyle that we built here, the business as well, we can talk on all that later. But I think the goals are different and sort of the, and maybe that’s still looking forward, but still trying to be present. It’s hard to do both, right?

Peter Kersting: It is one of the hardest balancing acts I’ve ever tried to maneuver. I want to highlight a couple things you said, because you said some really cool stuff there, in my opinion. First of all, I really relate and I think others would do as well to what you’re saying about wanting to explore a new place and not enough hours in the day and just feeling like, man, I need to see this other thing, because who knows, life is short. So life is sweet. I need to be taking action and seeing what the world has to offer and that excitement that comes with that, right? I want to understand what is life like in Portugal? Who are the people in Berlin? How do you become friends with someone in Japan? Those are for certain types of people, yourself and myself, those are the kinds of things that I’m getting goosebumps right now talking about.

Peter Kersting: I just get so excited. The culture part of it to me is so and alluring. I just really want to… It’s almost like a challenge. How do I relate to this person and build a relationship with this unique person? But also in this unique culture that there’s an openness that is necessary there. So I really appreciate, and I wanted to highlight that. The other side of it is, not everybody’s… There’s degrees that’s right, you mentioned, there’s people you met 20 years in Japan. I don’t know if I do 20 years in Japan. I really like Japan. I don’t know if I do 20 years because I get that FOMO thing, right? I don’t know how much of that is just, hey, I’m down with deep roots. I’m okay with that. I want to be somewhere different, but I want to… So there’s that something, and then I also really appreciate how you’re willing to talk about how that changes. As you get older, as you get married, I’m sure being married has got to have been a huge part of that, right?

David McNeill: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It was in a really good way. I mean, I think after doing that whole thing of starting from scratch and the dating scene, and going to clubs and doing this whole nightlife thing for a while. It was fun and I mean, there’s obviously an attractive, elusive, whatever element to it. It’s fun and it was good for those times. But I think what I realized, at least in my case time and time again was I did have sort of desire to settle down at some point. Yeah. I just met the perfect person at the perfect time when I was there in Berlin. That we soon started thinking about where it was next for us and it took, we can talk through it later, but it took us a while to make that happen.

David McNeill: But we started it off I think on the right foot with the right mentality and making the move now. I mean, it’s totally different to move with somebody else opposed to moving on your own. I still remember going from Tokyo to Berlin and I landed in Berlin. I checked into Airbnb and again, I had just gotten off this long, long flight, right? But I checked meetup.com, I saw there were people meeting at a bar, went over there and met these people. Then they said, “Hey, we’re going to a club,” and I’m like, “Great. Let’s go do it.” I didn’t actually last that long because I was just so zoned out. I was just like, I need to go back to bed. It was probably only 1:00 AM or something, which is the early night for these clubs in Berlin.

David McNeill: But that was my mentality was literally hit the ground running. Now, maybe to make a comparison to moving to Portugal with my wife was me hitting the ground running was, we arrived and then two nights later I started my Portuguese lessons. That’s way tamer, still hitting the ground running but in a way that’s much tamer and more, I don’t know, adult or boring or whatever you want to call it. But I think it goes to show just the difference in mentality, the difference in lifestyle and what you’re looking for. I think that’s the beauty of being abroad and trying to keep doing that is just looking for those places and those opportunities in countries and cities, and people that make you feel at home that align with what you’re looking for at that time. Because maybe I’m not always looking for this, I don’t know. But at this point it’s great, but that’s how I felt about those other places as well. Now, this is a good fit for right now.

Peter Kersting: Classic example of 20 versus 30.

David McNeill: Yeah, exactly.

Peter Kersting: Going to the club until 1:00 AM the second you get into a place versus starting your Portuguese lessons right away. I love that.

David McNeill: Right. Yeah. I think that sums it up pretty well. I mean, in both ways, I think probably. Yeah. Hitting the ground too hard, because I think what I learned quickly in both the scenarios or both the situations was, okay, it’s fine to take some time to get this thing sorted, but on one hand its parties and friends and fun. The other hand it’s like, that was a more the wing to adapt and adjust. That’s a very different motivation, right?

Peter Kersting: No, but I appreciate the comparison because either way you’re taking your personality into account. You definitely are a go-getter and I’ve also noticed that you are someone who’s looking to go where opportunity takes you, and we’re going to touch on that more. But I would be remiss not to go back a little bit in time and in our conversation. How much your dad being a visual effects guy, your mom being a teacher moving around? First of all, how is their attitude about the world and work? How has that impacted you?

David McNeill: I think it’s impacted me quite significantly but not in a sense of, okay, we grew up in foreign countries and this thing and that. But I think it was just more, again, of that openness to different experiences, different parts of the US. But also we traveled, I mean, not extensively, but we’d take a cruise to Mexico or went for a couple weeks to Europe, and we did those kind of things. We went to Costa Rica for two weeks or we did this and that. I think those types of experiences were really instrumental and fundamental in me wanting to continue going abroad. Because I think once you see that and how different it is and when you have some sort of, I don’t know if you’re born with that wanderlust or how it develops, it’s hard to say. But I think when you have something like that or that seed starts inside of you and starts to grow, I think you start to realize, well, if you really want to have some wanderlust, if you really want to explore somewhere new, that’s going to be outside of your home country.

David McNeill: Even though, as we talked about different parts of the US are so different as well. So it was kind of that feeling that there’s just something out there and it’s different. I’d also point out, which I like to do and give credit where it’s due is also my grandpa actually, because he was in the Navy for 20 years. Early in his Naval career did a world cruise for nine months and would always tell me these stories. I think he did two of them, but I really remember the stories from the first one where he was seeing Japan, for example, obviously the port and more the military type environment than the core of Japan. But seeing that, I think it was in 1950 or somewhere around there, and it was just right after the war.

David McNeill: It’s just hard for me to even imagine, really. I think those types of stories, I always felt, if I ever become a grandpa or something, which at this point no kids. So we will see what happens. But if I were ever in that situation or obviously we’re talking to kids, friends and family and stuff, when I’m in my 80s, like my grandpa. I would love to be able to tell those stories of my time. I think that was always something that was it’s always been underneath. A lot of this is just that desire to fully live life, experience a lot of stuff, have a lot of war stories of my own way, but hopefully not actually in the war zone.

Peter Kersting: I hope not.

David McNeill: I try to avoid those, but it’s trying to reduce regret and to have those experiences and just to be living life fully, because you never know how long it lasts.

Peter Kersting: That is so fascinating. I feel like we could talk about your back story a lot longer, but I’d like to make a quick shift here. Because I think you have provided me a good opening. Your grandpa serving, doing that world cruise and specifically telling you stories about Japanese. Is that where your interest in Japan came in?

David McNeill: I think that was one factor, certainly. There were many, but that was one, I mean, definitely I give the credit there. Another piece of many was that my dad growing up and maybe it was that connection that my grandpa had with Japan in some way. But my dad growing up had exchange students, Japanese exchange students staying at his house with my grandparents and his sister and brother and everything. But it was at a time where my dad was around 16, 17. The students were around the same age. So hearing those stories, seeing the old photos. So there were all of those pieces that’s been there.

Peter Kersting: Hold on a second. Sorry.

David McNeill: Yeah.

Peter Kersting: When would this have been?

David McNeill: This would’ve been in the-

Peter Kersting: The ’70s? The ’80s?

David McNeill: Yeah, the ’70s. Late ’70s, I guess

Peter Kersting: That is really interesting. I mean, it’s pretty far removed from World War II already. But your grandpa having served right around that time, I think that is really cool.

David McNeill: Yeah. Yeah. It was through the church, I believe. I think it was somehow related to that and I don’t know the religious element of it. But at any rate they, I believe coordinated it that way and somehow they got in this list of people that were open and willing to take folks. Yeah, I mean, just hearing the stories from that time and if I could, I mean, we could talk about it later. But I actually helps my dad reconnect with this guy 30 years later after I moved to Japan.

Peter Kersting: Oh my gosh. Yes, we will. We will definitely have to touch on that. That is so exciting.

David McNeill: Yeah, it was really cool. But all of those pieces, I mean to your original it was all that family stuff. But also getting into Japanese culture and animation, the video games, all of that. All of those pieces played a role and it just sort of, there’s more to it. But those are the main pieces that really made me start getting that interest, and then moving that direction and quickly it became a passion.

Peter Kersting: Fascinating stuff. David McNeill, founder of Expat Empire on Alone with Peter. This is just the first taste guys. This is part one of our three-part interview and oh my gosh, I’m fired up. This is going to be so good. Obviously, we’re seeing a little bit of a trend here with Japanese being in the middle, okay? So guess what? On the next episode of Alone with Peter, we’re going to be talking about David’s move to Japan, the pains of travel, how he understands that.

We’re going to see how that plays in a little bit more later on to what he’s doing right now. Also, we’re going to talk a lot more about fluency in Japanese, learning another language, the challenges that come with that, and the cultural aspects that come with that, of living in a country that’s so different from your own.

We’re also going to be talking about taking what is given. What does that mean? As well as the birth of Expat Empire. All coming up on the second episode of Alone with Peter with David McNeill. Thank you for tuning in and we’ll see you guys next Monday.


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