After suffering a serious health problem that caused me to not only lose my job, but also put my wife and I in a serious financial situation, I had to find a way for us to get back on our feet. As I had previously worked overseas in Iran and Qatar, I knew that by becoming an expat, I would be able to earn far more money than what I could in the UK.
In view of this, once signed-off fully fit, I sent my CV to a company that carried out overseas contracts, which resulted in my obtaining a one-year contract in Saudi Arabia. While working in Riyadh and Jeddah, the company not only paid me a very good salary, they also provided free accommodation. This contract entailed working with foreign nationals, which was a new experience for me. I found our Thai and Philippino workers to be both skilful and helpful.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of work, the company ended my contract 6 months later and I had to return to the UK. Nevertheless, this short stint in Saudi Arabia proved to be more than sufficient in getting my wife and I back on our feet. It also enabled me to pay cash for a new car, something that had proved to be impossible for me to do while working in the UK.
Shortly after returning to the UK, I was fortunate enough to be offered a 4-month renewable contract to work in Oman. While working on contracts in Muscat and Salalah, the company paid for my accommodation, including meals in 5 star hotels. Apart from working on various villas, I also worked in the Emirs Palace, which was the first palace that I worked on.
A few days after completing my first contract in Qatar and returning to the UK, my old boss from Saudi contacted me regarding a contract in Brunei. As the contract involved fitting out a Palace for the Sultan of Brunei, I readily accepted his offer. His phone call resulted in a complete change of scenery – from working in the desert, I went to working in the jungle.
A few weeks later I flew out to Brunei, where at first I lived in a hotel in town, along with a few of my work colleagues. However, a few weeks later we all moved onto a large government camp, where we lived in self-contained Portakabins. On camp, all meals were provided, with our laundry being done free of charge. Thanks to the company providing me with a Jeep, I was able to get out and about to explore the country. Overall, life in Brunei was so good that I felt quite sad when it was time to leave.
As a bit of a bonus, before leaving Brunei, the company paid for my flight back to the UK via Thailand and Hong Kong. In Thailand, I met up with our Thai supervisor from the Palace project, plus several other Thai workers that I had previously worked with in Saudi. After a special dinner held in my honor, I was then taken around the village to meet the wives of some of the men I had worked with.
A few months later, a recruitment company arranged an interview regarding a contract in Qatar, which turned out to be a Palace for the Emir. Shortly after acceptance by the company, I flew out to Qatar where once again I was back in the Middle East. In Qatar, the company provided accommodation on a camp, with all meals provided. The company also provided an old pick-up truck, which enabled me to visit various parts of the country, including a beautiful sandy beach where I spent long lazy hours relaxing and snorkeling.
Shortly after returning home from Qatar, my previous company offered me a short contract back in Brunei. Once again, I left the desert and returned to work in the jungle. As well as providing accommodation, they also provided me with a Jeep.
This time I worked in both the Palace that is the home of the Sultan’s second wife, and in the main Palace that has four mentions in the Guinness Book of Records because of its size and extravagance.
Shortly before leaving Brunei, I received an invitation from a construction company to attend an interview in London regarding a contract in Algeria, which resulted in my receiving a one-year contract. Once again, I returned to work in the desert. However, this time it was in North Africa and not in the Middle East. The work involved construction projects in several desert locations. While in Algeria, I lived in camp accommodation with all meals provided, with the company also providing me with a car. On our days off work, along with some colleagues we used to drive to various ancient ruins.
I happened to be on a short break in London when the owner of a Jordanian construction company contacted me regarding a contract in Jordan. This resulted in a contract to work on a Palace belonging to King Hussein. The company provided a large well-furnished company apartment and a company car. While working in Jordan I visited the ancient city of Petra, which had been on my must-visit list. Petra is an incredible place with both the Treasury and the Monastery unbelievably spectacular buildings.
Shortly before leaving Jordan, a recruitment company contacted me regarding a contract in Turkey. The project involved the construction of a five star hotel complex down on the Mediterranean coast. Thanks to the recruitment company and the fact that I had a good CV, the client offered me a contract without even seeing me.
This contract turned out to be the best I ever had. Not only did I receive a very good financial package, it also included married status, which was my first such contract. During the next two years, the company provided a variety of accommodation, including living in a pension until my wife arrived to join me. We then lived in a hotel until the company later provided a furnished apartment. The company also provided a car, which enabled us to visit some of the many historical ruins in the region.
My wife loved Turkey so much, that after only being in the country five weeks, she suggested that we buy some land and have a house built. This we did, which proved to be the best move that we ever made. The region where I worked and still live is known as “The Turkish Riviera.” It has stunning mountain and coastal scenery, with many beautiful sandy beaches.
From Turkey I went to work on a five star hotel in Northern Cypress. The company provided accommodation in a furnished apartment, plus a car. From there I went to work on a five star hotel project in Turkmenistan. Even though I had never heard of Turkmenistan, I agreed to go there. The project was in Ashgabat, which is the capital of Turkmenistan, a country with vast deposits of oil and natural gas.
After Turkmenistan, a recruitment company contacted me regarding a contract in Indonesia. The project turned out to be a five star hotel in Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia. Here the company provided accommodation in a furnished apartment.
On completion of my contract, I accepted a contract from another company to work on yet another five star hotel in Surabaya. As this contract included married status, my wife came out to join me. We were fortunate in that the company provided us with a well-furnished house and a car.
Living costs and local transport in Indonesia are inexpensive. The price of a rail ticket from Surabaya to Yogyakarta, a journey of approximately 12 hours, cost considerably less than the taxi fare from the station to the hotel. With our location, it was easy for us to visit the beautiful island of Bali. On another trip we traveled to Singapore by train, this being a far cheaper method than flying. The money saved by using the train paid for our hotel room, making it an inexpensive weekend getaway.
On completion of my contract, we returned home to Turkey. After making numerous calls to various recruitment companies, I received two job offers at the same time. One was in Vietnam, the other in Malaysia. I accepted the longer contract in Malaysia. As the contract included married status, my wife came with me. The company provided a furnished apartment and a company car.
Shortly before leaving Malaysia, a recruitment company contacted me regarding a contract in the Philippines. After having an interview in Malaysia, I later received a three-year contract to work in Manila on a 52-story luxury apartment. The company provided us with a large and beautiful well-furnished apartment and the use of a company car. Like many expats in the country, we employed a live-in maid who turned out to be a first class cook.
On the social side, life in the Philippines was incredible. We attended numerous glittering balls as well as many dinner parties held at various friends’ apartments. After learning that golf lessons were not expensive in the Philippines, I learned to play golf.
Thanks to the low living cost in the Philippines, my wife and I were able to afford visiting several beautiful islands. One was the island of Boracay, which has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Due to an extension of contract, I was lucky enough to stay in the Philippines for over three and a half years.
My next contract occurred when the company I previously worked for in Malaysia offered me a short-term single status contract in Morocco. Once again, I returned to North Africa. However, this time instead of working in the desert, the project was on the edge of a beautiful long sandy beach. Here I lived in one of the hotel’s luxury bungalows situated on the edge of the beach. On my days off work, the company provided a car, which I used to visit the cities of Casablanca and Rabat.
From being down and penniless, I enjoyed years of travelling the world at someone else’s expense. In total, I have worked in 14 countries and visited a variety of fabulous places. Not only that, the companies that employed me paid for regular flights home, accommodation, plus most of my meals.
Another valuable bonus is that by not working in Europe, my salary was either tax free, or the company paid it for me.
All this came about from my contacting recruitment companies regarding overseas contracts. There are many companies dedicated to providing overseas employment opportunities. I highly recommend that you join such a company, as well as signing up with recruitment companies specializing in the kind of work that you are seeking. A Google search will give you a long list of many recruitment companies that send people overseas.
Just think, as a contracted expat, you not only travel the world at no expense, you receive a salary at the same time.