As mentioned in my last blog entry I attended a week-long woodworking course in Metten, Germany. The course happened to have been taught by Garrett Hack, one of the most respected and talented woodworkers in the US. During the course one thing struck me, and it was not a board falling on my head… 😉 No, it occurred to me just how important it is to bring a hobby with you when you move abroad. Since I was a kid I have loved woodworking. During the time I lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts I had a woodshop in the basement of my house. Yet during the final stages of my move to Germany I sold all of my woodworking machines and tools. This was difficult for me, but at the time I felt it was worth it because I really wanted to start my new life as an expat in Germany. A few years after living and working in Germany I discovered that I really missed woodworking. In 2006, the year after I married my second wife, we bought a house just south of Munich, including a good-sized garage. This – and the encouragement of my lovely wife – gave me the opportunity to rebuild a woodshop. Now, before I travel back to the US for business and when I am home in Europe I look for and take courses where I can. This has given me a great creative outlet, inspires me at Hull Speed Associates and it adds joy to my life.
So while planning your transfer as part of your company’s expansion abroad, don’t forget to bring your hobby with you. It will help you integrate into the local culture in a more profound and fun way.