Who are you?
I am Roger Southam, serial entrepreneur and High Performance Coach. I founded my first company in 1989 and ran it successfully until 2016 when I sold it to an International Real Estate Advisor.I am a Chartered Surveyor by profession by now active in Biogas, Tech solutions and high performance coaching.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
My wife and I moved November 2018 to Cayman Islands. We moved because I was asked to take on running a property management company on Cayman Islands and sort out its problems. The company was in a poor state and the complexity to resolve was too challenging with little support from shareholders.
I left the business after 8 months and decided to stay in Cayman Islands and set up my own business. It requires a Caymanian partner to start a business, and through my original business partner I met a local who has become a good friend.
What challenges did you face during the move?
In short, everything! With little support from the shareholders we were faced with finding a home, sorting out bank accounts, finding our way round and establishing ourselves. All the while I was sorting out the mess in the company, which lost all staff within my first month of being there. The reasons were from resignation to issues with immigration. I was then left recruiting new staff, adapting to the Island culture.
I had changed from being a large fish in large sea to being a very small fish in a small sea. It took a while to realise I was damaging my health with the hours I was working and this led to the decision to leave the company. My wife had adapted to Island life and the opportunities for creating a new business were strong and to be built upon.
How did you find somewhere to live?
My wife put in the legwork while I was working on the company and found us a very nice home. She reached out to a stream of letting agents on the Island with varying degrees of success. After a week she found what has been our home for 14 months and we are signed for another 14 months.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Yes there is a good size population and mix of locals and expats. There are 192 nationalities on the Island and a smorgasbord of cultures and ideals. It is good fun and engaging now.
What is your relationship like with the locals?
Good, I find them engaging and charming and enjoy learning culture and experiences. My coaching business is finding me working closely with them which is rewarding.
What do you like about life where you are?
It is great waking up to sunshine most mornings. There is a spiritual calmness on the Island which is uplifting. Having only short distances to get places is a delight as even in traffic it is not bad. We are enjoying a lot of new experiences and making new friends.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Not much, although I travel a lot with my business so get the best of all worlds.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
There is a culture shock with pace of life and getting things done, adapting to this has taken a while. Although once in the groove I am managing to keep my drive and savour a slower pace.
What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?
Excellent! The food is great and we love the cuisine. We are living on fish, vegetables and salad and feel much healthier as a result. However, the prices are crazy high though which is not good. Cayman regularly comes out as most expensive place to live.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Take a leap and go for it, nothing ventured nothing gained and if you are thinking of a move embrace your future.
What are your plans for the future?
We plan to continue our adventure and build the business across the Caribbean. We see ourselves here for the foreseeable future and would hope that we can settle here with Island hopping the norm as we build the business.
You can find out more about Roger Southam at rogersoutham.ky.
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