Moving to Amsterdam

My wife and I have always wanted to move to Europe. Always – as long as I can remember.

This Summer, I attended 360|iDev in Denver, where I met Mike Lee. Actually, I was sitting beside him at breakfast when someone turned to him and said “has anyone ever told you that you look a lot like Mike Lee?” To which he replied “all the time.”

Mike lives in Amsterdam, and later that day he gave a compelling argument for moving there as an iOS developer. Lots of opportunities, a great society, and it’s freaking Amsterdam! I texted my wife, and she was on board. We figured maybe I’d take next summer off or, in a few years, move over.

Fast forward to Friday, December 6. I saw in the iOS Dev Weekly newsletter a sponsored link for a job posting in Amsterdam for Booking.com. In the span of a few hours, my thoughts progressed like this:

  1. I should apply for that job – they’ll relocate me and we could live in Amsterdam.
  2. If I should apply for that job, why not any other job?
  3. If I want to move to Amsterdam soon, I should commit myself fully to that idea. Make a plan and execute on it. I don’t like to half-ass anything.

And so, in the space of a few hours, we had decided to move to Amsterdam.

A few things lined up for us. My wife just finished her degree and doesn’t have a job tying her to Toronto. Our lease is up in February, and a project I’m working on at Teehan+Lax is also done at that time.

February it was.

We spent all weekend planning and listing our possessions for sale on Kijiji. It was a hectic two days. We asked questions like “will we be able to afford this?”, “what about a job? What are the visa rules?” and “what about our cats?” We called our parents to let them know – we’re lucky to have such supportive families. Finally, and most distressfully, I planned how to tell my boss.

I’ve worked at Teehan+Lax since February. I love it there. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. But in order to live in The Netherlands, I’ll need a Dutch job. I could have waited to tell my boss, but we both value honesty and I hate hiding things from people. So Monday morning, the ninth, I walked into his office and said “My wife and I have always wanted to live in Europe and we’ve decided to make a go for it in February.”

Jon said he was sad I was leaving, but excited for me. In fact, all of the partners were very supportive.

I work for amazing people, and I’m going to miss them. I cannot speak highly enough of my colleagues at Teehan+Lax. If you ever need the best creative work, you know exactly who to call.

That’s my story. In the span of three days, I saw a job posting in Amsterdam, decided to move there, listed my stuff online, and gave notice at my job.

Impulsive? Maybe. I’ve had a few moments like this in my life where I knew what I was doing was exactly the right thing to do, and it’s always worked out for the best. Scary? Yes, but that’s part of life. Excited? You bet I am.

I have no idea what comes next, but it’ll be an adventure.


Posted on December 20, 2013