Hanne and Markus, Koh Samui and Zagreb

Who are you?

We are Hanne and Markus, a Finnish couple who decided to try new things and see the world. In the summer of 2019, we sold everything (not laptops or cameras) and moved to Thailand (Koh Samui) to start a new life and to find ourselves. After a year, and because of Covid-19, we came back to Europe. But instead of moving to Finland, we chose Croatia. At the moment, we’re located in Zagreb, but we’ll be heading to Split very soon. We are travelling with three rescue cats from Thailand, so they are our furry little nomads as well!

We are writing a lifestyle/travel blog called Hop Into My Boots and also sharing our life with our dear followers on Instagram @hopintomyboots.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

We wanted to try new things and experience life in another country, with new people and a new culture… We wanted to feel what it is like to be a foreigner, and to do what we want, whenever we want, and wherever we want. We moved away from Finland in the summer of 2019 and headed to Thailand. We had never visited Thailand before, so it started as a rough ride.

What challenges did you face during the move?

In Thailand, the biggest challenge was to get familiar with the people – not locals, but other expats. It felt like we weren’t part of the expat community. There were also some financial issues, and we made a few mistakes, since we didn’t know how to live as nomads and what our monthly incomes would be.

How did you find somewhere to live?

We have used Airbnb, Facebook Marketplace and Facebook groups. They are a big help, and we ALWAYS get a place from someone local.

Are there many other expats in your area?

In Croatia, there are lots of expats, especially from the US and the UK. In Thailand (we lived in Koh Samui), there were lots of expats as well, but the problem for us was that they were pretty much always over 50 years old.]

There are lots of expats in Koh Samui, Thailand

What is your relationship like with the locals?

At the moment, we don’t have a relationship with the locals. Our landlord and neighbours are local, but that’s it, and we never see them. In Thailand, it was a bit better, but we didn’t really know any locals. Maybe we’re too introverted.

What do you like about life where you are?

It’s pretty good. Sure, the Covid-19 situation is making some problems for us, since there are some restrictions, but, overall, it is pretty good. Zagreb is kind of rainy and grey at the moment, but maybe Split will be better.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Since we are freelancers working as content writers and SEO specialists, it’s sometimes hard to find work. We don’t have a remote job in another country, but instead we offer our services to companies around the world. Finding clients is the hard part. Also, travelling isn’t that funny when you have to do it after a few weeks.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

In Croatia, we haven’t really seen anything yet (we’ve only been here for two weeks), but Thailand was different from Finland. The noise of the speakers, cars, and everything was in another league, especially in Bangkok, since Finland is so quiet. Also, Thai people are much more smiley and friendly than Finnish people.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Do what YOU want, and don’t listen to what your family or friends have to say. They might not like it, but that’s okay, since you are living your life and they are living theirs. Also, get familiar with other nomads or expats. Don’t be alone. That’s the worst thing that might happen. We’re glad that we have each other.

What are your plans for the future?

To find more or better jobs and to grow our blog and Instagram so that they are much bigger and have a wider audience. It would be a dream come true situation to get a monthly income through our blog/social media. Maybe one day we will reach that dream. We’ve gained a lot of new friends, and we’re part of a great community, even though we only started a year ago. Also, it would be great to stay in Croatia for a longer time – maybe even to get a house and settle down.

Visit Hanne and Markus’ lifestyle/travel blog, Hop Into My Boots, or follow them on Instagram @hopintomyboots.