Life As An American Expat In Germany

CARLIE: Hey there, it’s Carlie with the Expat Focus podcast. If you’re not tuning in to the show on YouTube yet, check us out at ‘Expat Focus’ and don’t forget to subscribe.

Before the pandemic hit, American, Jake Doherty was running two very successful tour guide services in Bavaria. When Covid-19 completely decimated the travel industry, he had to find another way to put food on the table. In this chat, find out what motivated Jake to become a tour guide and settle in southern Germany, and why he set up his interactive cooking experience platform called, Deri Dari.

Jake, you’ve been called an encyclopedia of Bavarian history. Can you tell me how an american living in bavaria ends up with that reputation?

JAKE: Well, that’s a funny reputation. But, to start with, I’m a history nerd. You know, I started studying history when I was in high school and then, when I went to university in Atlanta Georgia, I double majored in history and philosophy. When I moved over to Europe, about 23 years ago, which gosh it doesn’t seem that long, but 23 years ago when I moved over I was very tactile and so I wanted to go around and just touch everything. I was like, oh I gotta go see that church, what’s that, what’s that, you know? And so it was just this journey. And what ended up happening is it led me to become a tour guide.

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I’ve been a tour guide now for about 15 years and what ends up happening as you kind of develop your repertoire of tours that you’re going to do, is you begin to build the story that you’re going to tell on these tours. And I use the history that I culminated from university, from college and from going around europe and just seeing these things, and then continually reading. And then, I had the one thing that every tour guide hates. I had a bad review. I had a client come out and she said she didn’t believe everything that I told her. And boy, it broke my heart. It’s like, oh my god I gotta fix that, I gotta fix that.

CARLIE: Were you offering history tours of Bavaria at that time, or somewhere else in Europe?

JAKE: I was, yeah. I was offering history of Bavaria and she was actually on a brewery tour, which is my specialty. I know everything about beer. So, it was kind of one of those shocks to my system, and it was a good one. Every now and then you need to have that wake-up call. And what it did is it made me go back and restudy, and relearn and continue to read good books about what it is that I do for a living instead of watch, you know, Seinfeld on the TV.

CARLIE: But, was she right? Like, I mean, well, were you incorrect? Or was she wrong in her belief that she didn’t believe it?

JAKE? Well Carlie, it was interesting timing, because every now and then you get a kick in the butt from the cosmos. And so that review came out an about four weeks later the high school teacher that gave me my love of history, he came to visit Bavaria and I took him on a couple of tours. And it was so much fun to have him there because he kept correcting me on the things that I was wrong. And then I kept correcting him. And so I was like; no no, you got that wrong, come look at this. And so, it was a great joy to have that experience right on the heels of the bad review.

And like I said, it was a kick in the butt from the cosmos because you combine the two things. It told me that even if I was telling, maybe the the historical facts in the right way, maybe I could tell it a different way that would entertain, but keep it more to the truth, you know? And so, it was a lot of fun. And so, was she correct? In her own way, in the way that she saw that I did my job, yeah she was correct. Now, historically, what I was talking about, beer and its birth and of course the the monastic breweries and how they brought beer to what we have today, it’s a, you know, history has a lot of sides, let’s say that. So, I think I’m correct.

CARLIE: And, you know, like you said, you quite like beer. Is that what kept bringing you back to Bavaria and, ultimately, you know, saw you base yourself in Bavaria? What was it about Bavaria when you first came to Europe that just saw you keep wanting to return?

JAKE: It’s funny, expats whenever they decide to settle overseas, especially Americans when we come over, there’s always that one place that just kind of grabs us and especially travelers. And if you ask a traveler what’s your favorite place, they’re going to know it right off the top of their head, oh well that’s my favorite but I also like this, this, this but that’s my favorite, For me it was Bavaria, because it was like a homecoming. I am from South Louisiana. Way down South, just outside of New Iberia where they make tabasco a little town called Cade. Or, my mother was in Lafayette Louisiana, my father was in Cade. So, very small town, South Louisiana, Cajun French community.

So, those people, they’re very family oriented, it’s their life. Everything is about family. It’s about who you know. In fact, the running joke where I am from is, when I meet somebody, it’s like; okay, well, who’s your mama? Who’s your papa? Because, you know, you want to know their bloodline, you want to know who their family is because family is everything. So, when I moved to Bavaria, the Bavarians have that exact same mentality. It is very, very family oriented. And so, whenever you go to meet a Bavarian, the first question is, well what’s your family name? You’re like, Bada. Oh, which Bada are you? Are you from the Ilshad family or from the Middenvale Badas? Are you the (inaudible) Badas, you know?

And so, it felt very comfortable. And they have a strong sense of pride in who they are. In their clothing, in their farming lifestyle and yes, beer. South Louisiana, we love our beer. And of course the Bavarians, they like to think they created beer. So, it’s a lot of fun being here and being in that culture.

CARLIE: So you, know you have this history of, you know, loving and studying history and then you end up in Bavaria, which is all about the beer and has those family ties that mean a lot to you as well. Was it a bit of a no-brainer for you to get into being a tour guide or did you look at doing other things before you found your path?

JAKE: I had traveled Europe by bartending. And, when I wasn’t bartending, I was working in ski resorts. And when I wasn’t doing that I was working in hotels, anything from housekeeping, to bartending, to running a restaurant for the american military for our Armed Forces Recreation Center Europe. So, I had kind of bounced around doing whatever gave me a paycheck and kept me traveling, and kept me, you know, housed and fed. So, tour guiding though, how did I get into it? I was good at it, it just kind of came natural to me.

I started working as a tour guide for a little bit, but for the American military here in garma spartan kierken, and then I got a job working in Munich as a tour guide. And then, when I was living in Italy for a short period of time, I thought, I could be a tour guide here, but there’s so many rules for being a tour guide in Italy. And I started some of the process to get my licensing and I thought, wow, this is a really neat job. I think I could be good at this.

And then, I abruptly had to leave Italy and I came back to Germany. When I got back to Germany, this was, yeah about 14 years ago, 13 years ago, I had already kind of had my foundation. And I thought, well, this is fun. And I’m very narcissistic and I love having people listen to me. Just like, oh yes, look at me. You know?

CARLIE: You’re going to be the centre of attention.

JAKE: So, it’s just awesome, you know, to have that opportunity to teach but not have to great papers. To have people be entertained by what I talk about. And to, basically, take people and show them the stuff that I think is cool and to watch them think it’s cool. It’s just, there is no better job to be honest.

CARLIE: You know, it’s funny my first thought of, you know, if you go somewhere and you want to do a tour as well, isn’t the best tour guide a local? And then I thought back to the trips around Europe that I have done. When I was in Paris, it was a Canadian guy showing me around Paris. When I was in Iceland, it was a Swedish woman. When I was in Munich, it was an American guy. And I thought, how many times have I actually done a tour run by someone of the same nationality and possibly from the place that I am touring?

So, what is it about foreigners do you think, that make good tour guides? And what is it that means you don’t need to be from the place you’re guiding? You know, to do an award-winning, and have a great reputation as a tour guide?

JAKE: It’s funny you bring that up. Pre-Covid, I had a staff of eight people that ran towards with my businesses. And I never, well, let me say this, I didn’t never, I just very rarely hired locals. I always hired expats. And the reasons being are this: 1) an ex-pat comes into an area, or somebody who’s not a local, I don’t have to use the word expat, just somebody whose not a local, they’ll come into the area and they’re going to be fascinated by everything. Whereas somebody like my wife, who was born, raised from this town, has never been to the peak of the tallest mountain in Germany, which is what the photo is behind me. I mean, I bought her first ticket to go up there when we got married. She had never been to Neuschwanstein Castle. She had never gone to see Ludwig II’s dream.

CARLIE: Everything on her doorstep, yeah.

JAKE: It’s right there on your doorstep. And the problem is, they look, you know, further down the road. Whereas we come into this situation, as a foreigner, into this town, into this area and it’s like, wow everything’s new and exciting for us. And we share that excitement very easily to our customers and to our clients.

The second reason that I never hire locals is, as an english-speaking tour guide service in Bavaria, we cater a lot to Americans and to people from the United Kingdom, Singapore and other countries. And, inevitably, there’s always going to be questions, especially here, about the Nazis. What do they think about that time period between 33 and 45 when Adolf Hitler was in power? And, if you have a local and you’re the client, sometimes you don’t want to ask those questions. You’re afraid you might offend them. You might bruise their, you know, you don’t know how to approach that subject matter. Whereas an American who’s talking to an American who’s lived in that country for 22 years, they know that American is going to be like, yeah I’ll tell you anything you want to know.

CARLIE: And they can tell you what they’ve experienced of the locals’ attitudes and thoughts on that as well, without having that confronting situation of asking and, possibly offending, a local person, I suppose.

JAKE: Exactly. And I’ve been blessed in the sense that I have just a great pool of amazingly intelligent people who live and work in (inaudible) for the American military, that have either retired or are looking for extra work, that I can basically draw from to hire as tour guides. And so, that is very handy for me. So, it makes for a lot of really fun tours.

CARLIE: Yeah, absolutely. But, I mean, you said you have or had a staff of about eight people, but then Covid happened. And we know that the accommodation, the tourism sector was just completely annihilated. What happened to your business over that time? Your businesses, because you run two different tour companies, don’t you?

JAKE: I do. We have All Things Garmisch, which is where we do day tours, team building and outdoor recreation. And then we have Bavarian Beer Vacations, where we do most of our vacations and trips.

CARLIE: That sounds like my type of plan.

JAKE: It’s a lot of fun. I mean, it’s self-explanatory. So, mainly we go to the Oktoberfest. But, what ended up happening was, my wife and I we were in South Africa on vacation. We came back, it was February. And by the beginning, I think it was the beginning of March. End of February, beginning of March, there’s about a two week period there where I lost over $270 000 in confirmed bookings. Gone. It took about two weeks. Two weeks for everybody to cancel.

We were fully booked because we had the passion play coming in, we had the Oktoberfest trips, they were all completely fully booked. And just all of our day tours for the summer, gone. Everything was fully booked, everything was canceled. And, you know, you take a lot of deposits using these booking agencies like Fair Harbor, so we had to pay all of that back. I just bought two new vehicles, had to sell those back as quickly as possible. And then, I pulled in my staff and there was a lot of tears and we drank a lot of beers, a lot of tears a lot of beers.

And yeah, we all realized that it was over. So we, my wife and I run this business together, so we went to the (inaudible) to tell the different German government agencies, and we basically mothballed it. We kept it alive but, you know, breathing on a ventilator, so to speak.

CARLIE: Yeah, life support.

JAKE: Yeah, exactly. And then, I sat on the couch in my underwear, grew out my beard, you know, drank a a lot of beer.

CARLIE: Is this lockdown number one?

JAKE: Yeah, exactly. Ate a lot of mint jelly. More mint jelly. And then, eventually, my wife she threw me outside the door. She’s like, get out of my house. And I went outside and I think she hosed me down, and then I found some clean clothes… It was lockdown, we weren’t supposed to associate with anyone, we’re not supposed to be anywhere, you know, can’t go anywhere. But my neighbour, who is a good friend of mine, we basically, from across the fence, started drinking beer together and talking.

And he’s a chef and he started talking about how he was losing all of his shots and it just gave me this idea about creating my new business, which is called Deri Dari, which we now run in the United States, where we create live interactive cooking courses for people. So, it’s a lot of fun. And that is really what kind of kept me afloat and kept me going. I was able to focus my energies there. Get it moving, get it up and running. And now, thank God, I’ve got some great business partners who kind of run that so I can focus more back on tours and tourism.

CARLIE: It’s such a good idea. I think I did two cooking courses during the first wave of the pandemic. I signed up for Japanese cooking classes. So, we had a live class a week for like four weeks, and so it was like a little activity my boyfriend and I did together at home. And I did one on French pastry to learn how to make a tarte citron. I was so proud of myself.

JAKE: That’s awesome.

CARLIE: Did you find like you had a lot of uptake in the States? Lots of people were, you know, wanting to move on from baking banana bread and try something more adventurous?

JAKE: Yeah, we did. We had a lot of fun. We set it all up. We had about, we started off with about 42 chefs. We were doing live interactive cooking courses. We would couple with ingredient delivery and it went really, really well. But then, once the lockdown started lifting, the business started kind of dropping. We knew it was going to happen. And so we always, kind of, were focused on our next project, which is what we’re doing as we speak, where we put, basically, in CSA boxes and meal kit delivery services, we put a flyer inside those and that flyer says, ‘’would you like a live chef?’’.

It’s got a QR code on it and what we’ve done is, we’ve built this business up enough to where, now, you can scan that QR code using your phone and (inaudible) in there, choose a chef who is live and then have that chef unbox the CSA box with you, talk about the ingredients inside and what you can cook. Or, if you’ve got a meal kit delivery service and you’re in the middle of cooking this meal and, oh my gosh I just accidentally put, you know, the butter in boiling water, what do I do? Then you can instantaneously- near to instant, it takes about five minutes with, you know, getting the paperwork done, so to speak- you can have a live chef in your kitchen.

So, that’s my biggest goal, is to have it where you can just, you know, once you have your membership, it’s just you click a button, there’s a live chef. And so, it helps with, a lot of the meal kit delivery services are really interested in it. And we’re working right now with two different ones. And then CSA box companies, it’s a lot of fun because you get these weird vegetables, sometimes you’re like, what do I do with that? You know?

CARLIE: It’s so funny you mentioned that, because I feel like my boyfriend and I did the natural progression from, you know, doing a few cooking classes during lockdown and we’ve just signed up to meal kit delivery.

JAKE: There you go, the natural procession. Exactly, the progression. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun.

CARLIE: So now, next we’ll be looking for a chef to give us advice. That’s exactly what’s going to happen.

JAKE: We’re there for you. Just go to deridari.com and you can find us.

CARLIE: And I suppose the chefs you worked with initially would have been so grateful for the opportunity during Covid, when their restaurants weren’t open and maybe they weren’t, you know, dealing with takeaways, to have something to do. I mean, I know the Japanese cooking course that we did was a woman who would normally do workshops in person and just, you know, her business died overnight. She’s like, okay I’ll take it online and see who out there wants to do it.

JAKE: Yeah, it was… there were so many people that were hungry, that needed a paycheck and were lost. And so, we had a lot of chefs gravitate towards Deri Dari immediately once we put it out there that we were doing this. And for us, as a business, it was great because we got to weed through the ones that we knew were going to be really good chefs, that had that ability to use this platform to teach. And then the ones that went back to work when, you know, the restrictions lifted, we had plenty so that we could basically say, okay you go on back to work, let us know when you have free time if you want to continue working with us. And then there were those that decided, maybe this is where we want to stay. So, the moms who wanted to spend Christmas with their kids instead of in a kitchen.

CARLIE: Yeah. It’s opened up so many new work opportunities for people. I’m curious to know if you took any of your tours online at that time. Because I know, weren’t museums doing like, virtual tours and stuff during the first lockdowns? Did you ever think about you doing your Bavaria tours as an online concept?

JAKE: Well Carlie, it’s interesting you bring that up. That’s how I got the idea for Deri Dari, is all the OTAs I was working with, now online travel agencies such as Tours By Locals, Viatar, Expedia, Airbnb, a lot of them gravitated towards virtual tourism whenever the lockdown began. And so, I kept getting these emails and even phone calls saying, ‘’will you do this as a virtual tour?’’.

CARLIE: Yeah.

JAKE: The problem I had here is, most of my tours were outdoors, bad wi-fi. So, I did a couple just to kind of test the water, so see how it would go. And I just didn’t find it to be a seller, so to speak. I mean, if you want to learn about Neuschwanstein, that’s a Youtube video. So, why pay for it?

CARLIE: Yeah.

JAKE: So, it was just kind of hard for me to, in my mind, justify creating a tour and then selling it, when I could just do a Youtube video and show it to you, and then you can just go and click on it. Whereas that’s why I kept, kind of, playing with the idea in my head. And then my friend, who is the chef said, you know he was losing all of his cooks and he didn’t know if he was going to get them back. And I thought, wait a minute, what about, like, a cooking show? Because then, especially if I can couple with some form of ingredient delivery, it’s tactile. Remember, I’m very tactile. So, it’s like, we can give you the stuff you need and a live chef. So you cross the barrier, that video chat barrier.

CARLIE: Definitely. Yeah.

JAKE: Yeah. It’s funny because there was a big company, who shall remain nameless, who had approached me about doing virtual tours even before Covid, and that’s what I kept telling them. I was like, you have to have something tactile there. You can’t just put it on the screen. You need to have something in their hand.

CARLIE: Give them, like, a box of cents to go with the tour or beers.

JAKE: Yeah, exactly. Lots of Bavarian beer that would be perfect.

CARLIE: Yeah. I think a few of my friends did gin and wine tastings over zoom with some guides that looked like fun too. And so Jake, now that international travel is like, tentatively back on the table and people are venturing overseas again, what do your two tour businesses look like now?

JAKE: I was in the United States for about a six-month period, building up Deri Dari until, I think it was end of July, end of july last year, 2021. End of July I got a phone call from a travel company that I work with that is in Illinois, and he’s like, I’ve got bookings, are you going to be available? And I said, I don’t know.

CARLIE: Bookings? What are those?

JAKE: Yeah, exactly. I was like, I don’t know, let me get back to you on that. So, I talked to my wife about it and we were kind of on the fence as to whether or not we were going to move the kids to the States and put them in school there, or keep them in school here in Germany, because I have two daughters. So, we sat down and my wife and I had a heart-to-heart about it and we decided, yeah let’s go back to Germany.

So, we packed everything up, went back, unmothballed the businesses. All things (inaudible) got the insurances back up, got the vehicles ready to go, and inspected that kind of stuff. And I called up that guy in Illinois and I was like, yeah I’m ready. And so, we had August, September, October- pretty good bookings. We weren’t, you know, anything pre-Covid but we were at least getting two to three bookings a week. And then, November is traditionally a quiet month for us. And then, December is chaos because we have the Christmas markets and we have Krampus, the evil demons that come out and beat you, which is so much fun.

CARLIE: Yes. Creepy dude.

JAKE: I love it. It’s my favorite event of the year. I take people every year and it is my all-time favorite thing. I call it vacationing with fear. You gotta come Carlie, seriously.

CARLIE: It is scary.

JAKE: Oh, it’s awesome. So, we were all geared up. December, I had already started bringing back a couple of my old guides because we were double and triple booked, and I was excited. And December was going to be good. And then, Delta variant, Omicron variant. And so, within days, there goes December. Everything got canceled. It took like, three days. Everything got cancelled. And I was talking to a friend of mine, she owns a restaurant, and I was talking to another guide who runs a tour service here in Bavaria, and we were, all three, just lamenting about how there’s just no reliability in our business anymore. People book, they cancel, book, they cance,l book to cancel, and the OTAs that we work with offer free cancellation up to certain dates, which is great for the consumer-

CARLIE: -but not for the business.

JAKE: And then, if you book direct with us, which was always an advantage but now we’re using basically booking agencies such as Fair Harbor and others, well they want their cuts too. So, people book and then they cancel, we still got to pay that little percentage, basically, for the transaction fees.

CARLIE: And you’re getting nothing out of it.

JAKE: We’re losing money. We’re losing money, so it’s not there yet, especially here. Because, and I’ll tell you what every one of my clients say, is they’re afraid to come over here, have a great vacation, get Covid, not that they’re going to get sick, but get Covid, and then be stuck here for another two weeks because they have to quarantine. Or for another week, if they have to quarantine, depending on what rules they are.

CARLIE: I was speaking to another American, Crissy Whalin, who’s traveling the world with her son Zephyr. She runs the Instagram account singlemombudgettravel and she was saying it’s a selfish act to travel right now, but if you go ahead and do it, you need to plan to possibly need to extend your trip for an extra two weeks because of Covid. And if you can’t afford an extra two weeks because you have to stay in a hotel, in lockdown, in Germany for example, then don’t go, don’t go abroad.

JAKE: Yeah, exactly. And so, that’s what we’re finding, is people are very cautiously, attentively booking and then they hear something on the news, on CNN about how this new variant’s coming, and they cancel. So it’s not there yet. So, what I have kind of started to do is, there’s a lot of American military that live and work in this area, so once again started working with them, tentatively. And a lot of retirees. So, as your friend was saying, who runs that Instagram account, that if you can take that, if you can put in your mindset that you might be extending your travel for two weeks, you’re going to travel. Retirees, they have no set schedule so we we’re seeing a lot of people over sixty that are just like, screw it, I’ve got three different shots in my arm, I’m coming to Europe.

CARLIE: Right

JAKE: And so, we’re getting some retirees with the mindset that if they do get stuck here for an extra two weeks, it’s not the end of the world.

CARLIE: It’s cool, don’t have a job to go back to.

JAKE: Exactly.

CARLIE: No big commitments. Yeah, that’s a good point.

JAKE: But it’s a challenge.

CARLIE: Well, that’s what I was wondering Jake. So, in hindsight then, with so much uncertainty in tour guiding, was it the right decision, do you think, for yourself and your family to move back from the States and and try to resuscitate your businesses at this time?

JAKE: I think it was Jack Nicholson in an interview in the 1970s said that, regret is a useless emotion. I look at those decisions as something that’s going to lead me to something else. Do I look back at the finances of it and think, it would have been better to stay in the States? Yes. Financially, if I would have stayed in the United States and continued to build up Deri Dari, just left the other businesses mothballed, I think my family would be in a much better financial place. Emotionally, mentally, my kids would have missed their friends here in Germany. What we have here is unbelievable.

Like, I mentioned earlier Carlie, we have a ski run in our backyard, we have zero crime, I haven’t locked the the back door to my house since I moved in. The kids walk back and forth to school every day, in fact they’re going to be home in about two hours. So, it’s just, this is a better, in my mindset, community for my family. In hindsight, if I would have known what I know now, would I have stayed in the States? I might have. I might have stayed in the States. It would have been a harder decision to make. My wife and i we lamented over it over a glass of wine and I think it took us about an hour to finally just say, well let’s go back to Germany, we really like it there, it’s really nice in Bavaria, we can do this from both sides of the pond. But yeah, you know, it is what it is.

CARLIE: It’s such an uncertain time. Like, it’s really hard to know how things are going to look in three or six months. Will you be back up and running with your tourists full time? Or will you be moving on with your cooking and chef business and taking that to new heights? You know, it’s like the great unknown right now, which is so hard for businesses. And I’m curious if, you know, we’ve heard broadly in the global news about the United States, for example, was giving support for people furloughed. Have you been getting support from Germany for your businesses?

JAKE: When Covid first, you know, happened, yes, we were able to apply for some financial aid from the German government which happened for about a six-month period. So, it was nothing in comparison to what we had been living on prior but it was something. You know, it was something to, kind of, keep us afloat so we were very thankful for that. But then it dried up. And it’s completely dried now.

And every time Bavaria, you know, says they’ve got some new restriction and everything gets canceled, it’s just coming out of our own pocket. Now, the good thing is Deri Dari is doing well in the United States and my wife, she is employed here. She’s got her own business here too and it’s actually doing quite well. So, that helps a lot, it really does. Because, without those two financial supports, I mean we would be in, you know, I would be working for Amazon like everybody else around here.

CARLIE: And what business lessons do you think Covid has taught you?

JAKE: Wow, business lessons.

CARLIE: Or continues to teach you.

JAKE: Yeah. Diversity. Keep yourself diverse and ready to pivot. Pivoting is key in any business. If something’s not working, you got to be able to just, you know, mothball it, move on to the next thing that’s going to work. Find something that is going to be successful and be willing to make change. You know, a lot of businesses, that’s what happened to them, or happens to them, is they are unwilling to change. They have created a business model which they think works but over time it’s going to disintegrate, it’s going to die. In every business, that’s going to happen it’s inevitable. So, you have to be willing to change with the times and with whatever occurs. And right now, travel is just simply dead and I don’t know how to pivot that into something that’s going to change. So, that’s why I created Deri Dari. But yeah, I’m hoping.

CARLIE: And it sounds like, even in the short time that you’ve had Deri Dari up and running, you’ve already evolved that a couple of times, which is so impressive. You know, you’ve really responded to the phases of this pandemic.

JAKE: You kind of have to. Change is key, you know? Being able to create change and have a team around you that sees the same problems in the same way that you do… Steve Jobs said it best. If you can get everybody in one boat, rowing in the same direction, you will go wherever it is you wish to go. So, it’s just having a good team and everybody working in the same mindset, and trying to achieve the same goal. So yeah, you know, being able to pivot, having a good team, those are two key things in any business to succeed. With what I did before, with travel and tourism, I don’t know how to pivot right now.

It’s ironic that we’re doing this interview today because, just about an hour ago, I was on a call with two other travel companies and their owners and we were discussing what is going to be the future. What is going to work? And how are we as travel businesses, one was in Munich, one was in Füssen, and I’m in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and these are two very successful businesses and very successful people, but they’re in the same boat I am. You know, they’re looking for jobs at Amazon because they can’t make enough money to feed their kids. So, I don’t know. I don’t know what the future’s gonna bring. We’ll see.

CARLIE: I’m really curious about, yeah, the future of of tours and how people will take them. You know, in in three, six months, in two years, will we be back to pre-pandemic times or will we be using virtual headsets to experience Bavaria?

JAKE: I don’t know.

CARLIE: Maybe you need to get into VR. Maybe that’s the way.

JAKE: Yeah, I was in a lot of startup conventions and stuff like that over the past year, and VR is huge. That’s the big mark that everybody’s trying to move into. So it’s coming, it’s coming fast. They just nedd to figure out that queasiness.

CARLIE: To end on a positive then, whether it’s through a virtual reality headset or travels back on and people are with you in person, why should they experience Bavaria, and particularly your tours?

JAKE: Oh goodness. Let me start with here. This is just an amazing place to be. The history is just fascinating. You’ve got, of course, the history of the Mistelbach family. Bavaria itself is its own country. You have the time when the Napoleon was here, that French connection, so you have that French food as well, mixed with the very heavy German food. You’ve got the great things to see. We have Neuschwanstein Castle, the alps. We have beautiful alpine lakes. We have Herrenchiemsee New Palace, and Munich. Munich itself is just an epicenter of cool stuff, you know, just to go wander and check out.

And then, if you want to do a tour, if you’re going to do a tour in this area, I suggest doing it with either me or with a private tour guide, such as myself, and I can recommend some great ones. Because, having that person who can show you the things that you normally wouldn’t see, that’s what really makes it exciting. Those are the memories that you’ll never forget. So, you will be able to go to Neuschwanstein Castle an not have to stand in a long line or ride in this huge bus with a bunch of stinky people, and be able to get around everybody, but still have, like, the secret gems that nobody else knows about. Like, the view of the castle from the back way behind (inaudible) where nobody knows to go. Stuff like that, or to see the Dragon of Hohenschwangau.

Those are things that you’ll never forget. And they’ll ring true for the rest of your life. And that financial bump that you’re gonna have to, you know, pay for having a private tour, you’re going to thank yourself later in life. So, yeah. That’s why I would jump on a tour with me, that’s why I would see Bavaria, and Carlie, if you love beer. It’s here. It’s here.

CARLIE: It’s a no-brainer.

JAKE: There’s nothing better than the beer in Bavaria, baby.

CARLIE: Jake, it’s been lovely to chat on the Expat Focus podcast today. Thank you so much.

JAKE: Carlie, thank you for having me on the Expat Focus today, it’s been a pleasure.

CARLIE: That’s it for this episode. You can check out Jake’s businesses by searching for all things garmisch, Bavarian beer vacations and deridari.com. And expatfocus.com is where to go for free moving guides, expat experiences and other resources to help you move abroad easily.


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