What are you up to in the UK and in Greenland?

“What are you up to in the UK and in Greenland?” It’s a question I frequently encounter from people who are curious about what I’m doing. My usual response is, “It’s my exploration and expansion year. I’m in the process of figuring out my next ventures”.

Quick Back Story:
Pre-pandemic, I had a 5-year plan for what I wanted to do with my life and travel business. My mother, who was preparing to leave for the UK at that time, asked me, “Ann Marie, how about moving to the UK?” I immediately said “No”, knowing I had a fixed plan to grow my business here in the Philippines.

And then, viola, the pandemic happened.

Oh, I felt so blindsided and cheated in life. However, looking back, it was such a blessing in disguise! The challenging period opened my mind to new opportunities. Through perseverance and endorsement from friends, I did project management and consulting, I sourced and supplied facemasks from communities, did communication and HR projects, and later managed a sustainability program for micro-retailers. Projects that I would not imagine pursuing under normal circumstances.

Surprisingly, the income I earned was significantly larger than my travel business. It also enabled me to save for the new life I had now envisioned for myself. As the pandemic altered my life plan, I became open to exploring my mother’s invitation to experience and live life in the UK.

The initial plan was to pursue another Master’s degree. This would grant me an additional two years to stay while I search for a job. However, during this time, my Money Coach, whom I affectionately refer to as my “Money Mama,” Nanette Ferraria, posed a crucial question: “What is your purpose for being in the UK?” I explained that I desire to be closer to my mother and expand my ventures there or in Europe, among other reasons. She then asked, “Is obtaining a degree truly necessary to achieve these goals?” The answer was obviously “No”. Instead, Miss Nanette proposed a more sensible approach: opt for a long-term visitor visa, save the tuition fee and spend on living allowances while I try to achieve these endeavors. Hence, I adjusted my strategy accordingly.

In the past 4 months, finding employment in the UK without a valid working visa has proven to be quite challenging. In my field, there’s already a high level of competition in the job market with local candidates. London, in some sense, feels overcrowded in this aspect. Meanwhile, my college friend Kristine Jornadal, who had already established herself and her business in Nuuk, Greenland, invited me to come over and join her. “Nak (my nickname), do you want to start a travel business with me? A new international airport will open next year. We can also explore other ventures.” I told her I haven’t consider my travel business in the Philippines a success yet (hence, it’s on hold at the moment). Although, we got the mission and products right, the next level was to transfer skills effectively and establish a replicable system. The business relied too heavily on my personal involvement and was not (yet) financially rewarding.

Following our discussion, I realized that this also presented an excellent opportunity to “try again” and apply lessons learned from past mistakes. Kristine, a resilient businessperson, has successfully grown her food business for over 10 years. Significantly, she excels in areas where I lack expertise and skills.

Coming to Greenland is like coming to an open canvas. Nuuk, the capital city, is experiencing rapid growth. One can feel the vibrant energy emanating from its expanding infrastructures and the local people’s clamour for independence (They are currently under Denmark). This country holds immense potential.

The journey I will embark with Kristine will definitely be an interesting and exciting one. In the end, our utmost aspiration is to become better versions of ourselves, whilst providing value to our customers and to the greater community.

Happy weekend folks!

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