Dominika Miernik: Living a Hybrid Life as a Nomad and Expat
Our special guest on The Moving Roadmap podcast, powered by Avvinue, is Dominika Miernik.
Dominika Miernik is an Award-Winning International Career and Expat Coach. She specializes in helping women seeking to make an international career change to navigate the challenges and opportunities associated with discovering their dream career and then adapting to a new country.
Transcripts are automatically generated and may not be an 100% accurate transcription.
Nicole (Host): Welcome to the moving roadmap podcast, powered by Avvinue. My name is Nicole, and I'll be your host for the show. In this episode, we're excited to introduce our guests, Dominika Miernik, who is an award-winning international career and expert coach. She specializes in helping women seeking an international career change to navigate the challenges and opportunities associated with discovering their dream career.
And then adapting to a new country. Welcome to the show Dominika.
Dominika Miernik: Welcome. Welcome. And thank you for inviting me. I am really excited about this podcast.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. So let's start off. Where are you originally from and where are you now?
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. So I am from Poland and I have started my expat international adventure many years ago, and now I am in Nice.
So from on my French digital adventure. Yeah.
Nicole (Host): I love it. So you're not far from me.
Dominika Miernik: Yeah, we encounter,
Nicole (Host): Yes, absolutely. Amazing. So you started your expert journey years ago. What are some countries that you've lived in?
Dominika Miernik: Yes. So I lived in Italy for many years. I lived in Rome and so I actually moved from Poland to studied psychology at the University of Rome.
So I lived there for many years. What about. Seven years. And then I moved to Milan because my partner was working there. and from Milan to Manchester, UK, because of a job opportunity that we had there. And in Manchester, I lived for five years and then we came back to Italy. Because my partner is Italian.
So we came back to Rome and then we decided to have this, I call it a flex-pat, digital flex-pat at the bench or so it's a mix between digital Alomar and X project. And we decided to move here to France for a few weeks. And then we came back and also we came back this year and we were supposed to stay for, for a few weeks and then to travel.
But, because of this, right now we are here in France, but I really like it and it's a beautiful place. So it's Italy. UK and France for now.
Nicole (Host): Love it. Amazing. What did I say? An adventure, especially tying in the digital nomad experience, right? You probably can work anywhere. And so being able to move around is, is really exciting too, explore different cultures and to connect with people all over the world.
Dominika Miernik: Exactly. Yes. And when I started my ex at the bench, or I didn't feel that about becoming a digital nomad, so I am really grateful that now we have this opportunity to travel and work from our laptops, basically. So we have this online career or portable career, let's say mobile career that we can take with us.
Nicole (Host): Yeah. Amazing. So tell me a little bit about when you decided to move abroad. I know that first time you said Rome to study psychology, what was that like? And making a decision that you were going to go to Rome?
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. So actually I was, so I was like always attracted to, to Italy and Rome, especially I visited Italy before, moving there a few times as a tourist.
So I was attracted to Italian lifestyle and Italian Italian culture. And also I have a part of my family. My mother was living there at the time. So I had this opportunity to go and have a taste of this, of the culture. and, just an opportunity came up to study and I acted on this opportunity to go there.
And I was really excited about it. So at first, I thought that I will go there and stay for a few weeks or a few moms, and then come back to Poland and study, in Poland. But then I had this opportunity, to start studying psychology at the university. So I decided to stay. So, it wasn't planned. I think it was an excitement.
So it was many years ago actually when it was 20 years ago. So it was a different kind of, traveling and also a different way of living the international life. So I was, yeah, for having this opportunity to go. So it wasn't planned. But yeah, I acted on the paternity. Let's say.
Nicole (Host): Amazing. Sometimes we are presented with, you know, a decision.
Do I go back or do I just take this adventure and do what I can to stay in this beautiful city? And you know, so many people are inspired in the moment and go, you know what I'm going to say. I'm going to find a way to stay. So you found a perfect way to stay in Italy, especially because you were, you were already interested in Rome and love the city. So. Glad you were able to make that happen.
Dominika Miernik: Yeah, exactly. It's all about making the decision.
Nicole (Host): Yeah. So now, okay. That was 20 years ago. What about more recently? How did you then decide you were going to go from Milan Manchester and then now do this flex-pat style of living. How did you decide that?
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. So at the time, I was finishing my university and I was also exploring my career options, what I can do next.
And so my partner was working in Milan, so I decided to join him and because we had a long-distance relationship for four years. So it was. A time to decide exactly what we want to do if you want to, or I can move and stay and stay there. So I moved to Milan. and also I was excited about this new, new adventure, because Milan the North part of Italy, it's a little bit different.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, oh yeah. Very different.
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. I've heard it’s different. Exactly. So I wanted to explore this, the site of Italy and also be with my, with my partner. So once again, I had this opportunity and I had to make the decision once again, if I want to stay or if I want to move. But I think that. Desire and this curiosity, to explore and to see different kinds of learning and different kinds of working in different parts of Italy.
This is what helped me, to make this decision. But make the decision quite, quite easily and then once again, after one year and having live there, my partner, he wanted to move to, to Manchester, UK, and I fought. Yeah, that's another way to explore the different kinds of different countries once again, very different from Italy and different from, from Poland, from, so from Italy because of the weather and also of, different ways of living and the culture.
Yeah. So once again, I had disappointed. Yes. Let's go and see how, how it's going to be.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely, amazing. You seem very adventurous because you've moved around a lot and you're able to take advantage of those opportunities. So love it. so walk us through maybe some of the steps you took. So once you made the decision, right, you were sharing, okay, you made the decision, you were going to follow your partner.
and, but what steps did you take to move, can you walk us through some that?
Dominika Miernik: Yeah, of course. So before moving. Okay. And this is the same about Rome Milan and Manchester. So, I visited those cities before, so I explored exactly if this is something that I want to do, if I like this. And how is life there?
So I visited as a tourist, in March Milan or Rome. Yeah. Explore exactly how I can leave, eh, and in which art I can, I can leave. What are the prices? What is the cost of living what I can do? What are the career opportunities? For me, so of those places, and I also so did a research online. Maybe not for long, because it was a very, very long time ago.
So didn't have the support online, but they did a different kind of research classic one. And so this is not the one. Yeah. So yeah, exploring, researching, learning, asking questions, connecting with other people who are living there, and asking them about. About the city, about the country? What steps did they, did they take, for example, or to study or to find, to find a job and then taking the decision and moving if I want to?
Yeah. If I want to move or if I want to. Okay. So, but it wasn't that it was a little bit of exploring and. And learning also the language improving my, also my Italian, because I had an opportunity to visit Italy before. So I started also the language a little bit before and also with English. So we started English at school, but it's a different kind of, Of experience when you are learning exactly in an English speaking country, it's very different.
Nicole (Host): Yeah. One is, definitely textbooks learning and the other one is okay, there are all different accents. There's all different ways, expressions. So learning the language, it's very different when you learn before and when you're immersed in the culture.
Dominika Miernik: Yeah, exactly. Also with about the documentation, because when I moved from Rome to Poland, to Rome, so I'm Poland, my country, wasn't a part of the European community yet.
So it was a lot of administration. It was a lot of visiting, offices in Warsaw, and filling in all the documents. Checking with the university in Rome. So there were a lot of those, let's say boarding steps that you have to take when you are moving to a foreign country and you need to fill in all the permits documents.
So it was a lot of, yeah. Exploding checking with, the Italian embassy in Poland, then checking with the Italian university here in Rome without the documents and then feeding in everything, be doing a lot of translation of my, of the diplomas, like everything recognized by the Italian government. Right.
So there was a lot also of those steps when it comes to, to moving from Poland to Rome at the time. But then, Then at the beginning of 2000, 2000, it was, it was different when Poland joined, European community. So it was a little bit easier to move from yeah. From Italy to the UK. Yeah. But there is always yet those administration part anyway way you have to check.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, absolutely. And there there's so much paperwork and just making sure everything is exactly detailed, for administration, for it to go smoothly. completely know that, and those were listening probably are navigating through that now just with the administration and, getting their visa and residency.
So. Great point on that. and it was really interesting how you visited the cities before I've heard from different experts. Some that have visited the city before they scouted, they did their research and then others who just, all right, let's go to that place. And they moved without. Ever visiting the city.
so it's great that you, you took those steps in your move to figure out, you know, what's the cost of living, what are the career opportunities? And that probably ties a lot into your career now as a career and expert coach sounds like you have all the right steps in place, for making sure that there's a smooth transition to your life abroad. So that's really good.
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. Yeah. It's different for everyone. So for example, once again, herewith, with Nice, so France, I visited me before and I love the city, so I decided to move like first or to spend 10 days, then two weeks. And now I am here for a few months. So it seems that I like, yeah, I love the city. And then I decided to move.
Nicole (Host): But that's part of the digital nomad life. So completely understand.
Nicole (Host): So tell us a little bit about what are some of the challenges you've experienced in coordinating any of the relocation that you've had? What are some challenging experiences?
Dominika Miernik: The challenging experiences? Yes, the, probably at the beginning at once.
Yeah. The challenge was the bureaucracy and a lot of the administration work. So this was a little bit tiring then, then. Having an indifferent language at the beginning, this was also, I'm quite challenging, especially studying psychology in different languages. So a lot of work into learning, improving Italian.
And so this was, This was challenging. Yeah. yeah. So moving sometimes can be challenging because you have to organize your staff. You have to organize how you want to move what you have now. For example, I learned. To be, veteran minimalistic about, about what I want to bring with me when I am traveling and having this like lifestyle, let's say, but when you are moving and you want to take all your stuff, not all your stuff, but like, Some of your, of your, the important things that you have.
So this can be organizing the location. This can be this going to be challenging and moving everything. And when you move like a few times after a few times, it can. Become tiring for, yeah. It became tiring for me, but I am still doing it. So, yeah. So,
Nicole (Host): Okay. So you mentioned the flex-pat and I know you mentioned it's kind of like a hybrid, so do you have like a central home base and then you go and travel, explain that a little bit more, cause I'm sure some people are interested in doing that themselves.
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. So flex-pat. Yeah. So for me, it's a mix they did before. It's a mix between digital nomad and an ex packet, but a flex-pat. Yes. Who is moving, who is moving like for a short time that brought, it can be like a few weeks or a few months. And so, yes, I am based like on the logistic administration.
And let's say like, like I had, my headquarters are in Rome, so yeah. Everything. Yeah. And then I am moving from yeah. From, from there. So I can always come back, come back to Toronto. So yeah, for me, this is. This is, this is like a Flexbox that you have a base and then you can move and stay in your place in the new place for a little bit longer.
But of course, you can also leave your apartment and you can go and move and then come back. Correct. Or the city that you, that you, that you love. So, yeah, for me, this is.
Nicole (Host): Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like something that I might even try because now living abroad, but also wanting to explore different cultures and get to know other places, you know, I'm not from the US so I'm not having traveled everywhere in Europe, and there are so many beautiful places to easily travel to.
But even taking it beyond that maybe a few weeks, or even try a month in a different place, I love that you have that hybrid.
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. Now we can have a different kind of living and traveling. So it's important that we have this opportunity to work online. So I am really excited, about that, that we are free to yeah.
To travel and work, and then you can decide where you want to stay.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. So what are some things that you didn't expect or you not expected in your move? Or your time in different cities and countries? Is there anything that has shocked you? Of course, other than maybe the pandemic, which the world is in shock.
But is there anything that you've come across that has really been something unexpected?
Dominika Miernik: Yeah, I didn't expect that my international journey will last so long. Yeah. In the beginning, I was always speaking that I would come back home and that's it. So I didn't expect it that this. This will be my way of living my, my lifestyle.
And I didn't expect that I will be like working on online and traveling. I always fought about me, like when I was finishing university that I would have my home office. So like an office and working as a psychologist. And then my clients are people who are interested to work with me. They will come to me and we will do that.
We would work together, but then I get, then now I am working more online. I'm working now online, full time, so I didn't expect that. and, Like the cultural, cultural differences, maybe let's, let's say so coming like from Poland and moving to Italy, Italy, it's this open country communication and speaking with people.
So at the beginning, I was a little bit confused because we are quite. Yeah, we are quite like, we have not so open as Italian art, like in Poland. So at the beginning, I had to like to adapt myself to them, on the cultural level, and understand more the way of living and what are the differences? Like more, optimistic, Like the way of life and viewing the world around you, then Polish people that are more realistic and pessimistic.
So those differences between, cultures, which is very interesting. and, then moving from Italy to three UK. So I didn't so many years living in Italy, like them. Maybe when it comes to the weather, this climate factor will impact me so much because I moved here from the, from the country full of sand to the country full of rain.
So, yeah, of course, but also very interesting to see that the beginning, like the first year, yeah, so those small cultural differences that I think every expat or person who is moving. It's finding on, on the way.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. Yeah, I know for myself as well, you know how you mentioned from Poland to Italy and the change of, you know, more reserved culture to open communication and optimism in Italy.
I also have noticed that with my move from the US to France, and you know, just the different ways of communication and the different view of life. So to say, and, and how that cultural differences. Kind of causes me to adjust, but at the same time it goes, well, there's certain things I, I like about myself that I'd like to continue, especially being optimistic.
And so I can see how the cultural differences in of course all ex-pats go through this journey and the difference between their home country and where they're moving. So that's very great that you pointed that out and seeing the difference too, from Italy to the UK.
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. exactly. Yeah. It's better. It's better and interesting. And I think that you have to have like an open mind and to be cordials and also ask questions. If something is not, not clear or you don't understand. So this is also what I have learned through those years that asking questions, ask you to explain and. Yeah, connecting with local people and imagine yourself liking the local culture to get to know it more and understand it more.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. So now, looking back, what would you have done differently and planning any of your moves?
Dominika Miernik: That's a great question. I don't know if I would do something differently. I think that I'm happy and satisfied how things went for me during those past years. So that's great.
Dominika Miernik: Thinking about that. Yeah. I think now. I am satisfied with everything.
Nicole (Host): No, that's perfect. So, so then in that case, what advice would you give to someone who's now considering to move abroad? And I'm sure we have listeners who they are considering to move abroad. So what advice would you give to them?
Dominika Miernik: Go, just go, you go and explore. Don't overthink it. and you will see that it will be an amazing experience, whether it's for one week, one month or. One year, just go for it. Don't overthink it. Take all the steps, explore, learn about the culture, learn the language and go for it.
Nicole (Host): Love it. And you said it was so much enthusiasm.
I love it. God, just go. So if you're planning your move right now, just go don't over. Think it, of course, go through the steps, you know, learn about the culture, but. Take the adventure. It's going to be amazing
Dominika Miernik: Exactly. Because you can always, you can always come back for your home country or the city that you, that you love.
So think about that as an experience, something that you can add to your, to your background when it comes to professional or personality, personal background, but you will learn. A lot about yourself and a lot about different cities and countries. So go for it. Explore what are the steps and just move.
Yeah. This is my advice.
Nicole (Host): I love it. Great advice. Just like you said, worst-case scenario, you go back to the life you were living before you go back to that city. So you know how hard, you know, how bad could it be, right. Like the worst-case scenario will be you just going back, but Random question. I always like to ask our guests on the show.
What's your favorite city you visited?
Dominika Miernik: My favorite city is Rome.
Nicole (Host): This is like a trend. I mean, I've heard a row multiple times. I've been to Rome. Love it, but it's so nice to see so many people after traveling to many countries, Rome seems to be the, at the heart of a lot of our ex-pats.
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. So yeah, there must be something. Yeah, exactly.
Nicole (Host): Love it. All right. So how can our listeners find you on social media?
Dominika Miernik: Yeah. So you can go and check my website, which is DMcoaching.edu. And on my website, you can find, or the social media links to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So you can go and check my website and then you can connect with me.
Nicole (Host): Perfect. Thank you so much though. Dominika, this was really great to hear about your journey and how it continues to unfold.
I know you're currently in France, but you know, in the next few months you'll be somewhere new, so excited to follow along your journey and also. So really learn about the career and expert coaching service that you provide. So we'll include the links in our description. So if anyone wants to connect with you and look into some of the professional psychology and coaching that you provide, we'll definitely include that.
So thank you so much for being on the show.
Dominika Miernik: Thank you very much. Once again, Nicole for inviting me, and I am really happy about, this interview. Thank you.