It is the end of December 2013 and our adventure for 2014 is about to start. My wife Lasira (Janeth), look my son Zamir, sales and I are going to take part in a 12-18+ month adventure of living outside of the United States. The main reason for the trip is for me to develop and launch Marina.io, my new startup. The success of the company is built around establishing a foothold in the European market. You can read more about the details of this business on the About Marina.io page.
Our family currently consists of the three of us. Myself (Dustin), my wife Lasira (Janeth), and our son Zamir, who we call ZamZam for short. One unique thing about our trip is that after having purchased tickets for the three of us earlier in the year, my wife and I discovered that we are expecting another child in March 2014. We will be in Bra?ov, Romania for the birth of our new child.
Our Adventure Starts from Door County, Wisconsin
I grew up in Door County, Wisconsin, which is an area of only 28,000 residents. The population in Door County swells in the summer months and the area hosts more than three million tourists each year.
Door County is a great place to raise a family. The schools are pretty good, the cost of living is relatively low, so is the crime, and one can buy a nice three bedroom house for around $75,000 – $100,000 USD, which compared to other parts of the US — apart from Detroit, Michigan — is quite a steal. This area also attracts retired couples, many of whom become snowbirds and go to Arizona or Florida for the winter.
Traveling is in our Blood
My wife Janeth and I first met back in 2005 while I was working in Asia for a Chinese manufacturer in Suzhou. Janeth is originally from the Philippines but was also working in Bahrain for about six years. We met in Boracay, Philippines, and later moved to a place called Antipolo, Philippines, which is a 50 minute ride away from downtown Manila
I had previously spent chunks of time in Europe when I was in college in the 90s. My first trip was to a small town in Spain called Burriana, which was arranged through our local Rotary Club. Later on I studied abroad in Germany, back to Valencia, Spain, then took part in a university exchange program to Leeuwarden, Netherlands. My first job out of college was teaching English for Inlingua in Modena, Italy and also working in the overseas export department of Marazzi Ceramica in Sassuolo, Italy. I was 24 years old at the time and had such a rich and wonderful experience in Europe. I always wanted to go back for a long period.
I turned 40 years old in early December 2013 and felt satisfied that we were taking the plunge and that my wife was onboard with everything. Being able to work remotely was something I had been working toward for many years with my current business, which I explain a bit in this post. And being able to work on the Marina.io business was a great opportunity to thrust ourselves in the heart of Europe and develop a great new product.
ZamZam is only two and a half years old, but he is growing up in a multicultural surrounding, even from within Door County. His mother is Filipino, but she hails from the Yakan tribe (link to Wikipedia article). We both agreed that she would speak to him mainly in her native tongue, Yakan. There is also a Filipino community here, and he gets exposed to Tagalog at the holiday gatherings. Not only that, but for the time he went to the babysitter, he was exposed to the Pashto language, which was only spoken to him. It was funny because one time at home he asked for “uba”, which I assumed was the word for “water” in Pashto.