The Crypto Entrepreneur
You go by three aliases, but your friends call you by your Discord name: Loki. While attending Bitcoin conferences, you spend the evening arguing over whether Tor should be used for everyday browsing or only while doing business. You have an e-residency in Estonia but tell people you’re a citizen of the world. You mined crypto in 2014, scored a free CryptoPunk in 2017, and when normies ask what you do for a living, you say, “investments.” You’re not sure if you live in a constant state of paranoia or if it’s all the Monster Energy drinks.
Expat expiration date: It’s only a matter of time before the government cracks down on your crypto business. Luckily your worldly belongings fit into a duffel bag.
The Trust Fund
You wanted to move to Ibiza but needed a real job since your father expects you to take over the family business; you settle for Madrid. You graduated with a BA in Japanese Studies and minored in Sonic Arts, but since your father’s friend is a VC who invested in a gaming startup, you get a job right after graduation. You show up late to the office and drink coffee until 11 AM, put in a solid hour of work designing a sound bank for the game, and leave early to nap before DJing at a weekly club night. You’d like to get a dog in theory, to appear local—but as a rule, you don’t pick up after others.
Expat expiration date: Six months maximum since “the job isn’t a good fit” and you have a better one lined up in Miami. It’s an endless cycle of failing upwards for you, my friend.
The Silicon Valley Transplant
You moved to Sweden after the 2016 election—you’re a feminist after all—because you wanted to live in a country that supports gender equality and generous parental leave. Not that you have a partner, but you’re hopeful. You exercise your stock options, get a new job with a Swedish tech company, and can’t wait to escape the tech bros and constant sexual harassment. At the office holiday party, the head of HR passes out on your boss’s IKEA kitchen island after leaning in to sniff your hair or maybe your neck. You’re not sure which, but you realize that harassment knows no borders. You publish a long Twitter thread about the incident and mention your company after finishing off an overtaxed bottle of red wine. Then you look into apartment swaps in Berlin.
Expat expiration date: Two years. You’ll move back home to Ohio after your boss refuses to renew your work visa.
The Lifestyle Blogger
Are lifestyle blogs still a thing? You’ve had one since your semester in France, fifteen years ago, and it’s still going strong. What a journey it's been! You wear pale blue, dusty rose, and off-white dresses with high heels and pose for pictures on cobblestone streets. Your live-in nanny, God bless her, takes photos of you and it’s such a relief to have someone watch your two adorable children while putting her MFA to good use curating photos for your Instagram feed. You wish Switzerland had some version of hygge or lagom so you could parlay your expertise and 10k followers into a book deal. You Google “fondue revival” late at night to see if it’s something you can specialize in.
Expat expiration date: Your husband’s finance job will keep you abroad for eight years, from Switzerland, to London, then Hong Kong, which will result in some serious shifts in personal branding but you’re #blessed that the moves result in so much content.
You introduce yourself as Mariana even though you were born Mary from Allenstown, New Hampshire. You were destined to move to Italy after you watched Mary Kate and Ashley in When in Rome and felt superior because even you knew what espresso was. You lightly shame other expats for ordering a cappuccino after breakfast while you share your journey of opening up a boutique travel agency, meeting the Italian man of your dreams, and balancing a full-time job, three kids, and the ability to make pasta from scratch. You smile and say you couldn’t imagine your life any other way. When you begrudgingly fly back to visit your parents, you forget to switch to English and say “mi scusi” to the woman you bump into with your Bellagio luggage. You order a coffee at Starbucks, take one sip, and declare, “How can you people drink this? This isn’t coffee! It’s water.”
Expat expiration date: You’ve become insufferable. You’ll live overseas indefinitely.