Moving Back Home
On the 27th December 2015, I tweeted this:
My initial plan was to come for about 3 to 6 months to explore opportunities on the ground. I would return to the UK should things not work out, and try to settle here in case a great opportunity arises. After failing at building a startup twice, I was not really open to pushing once more. At least not immediately... Working for a large corporation was not an option, so I only had 2 options: start a design consultancy or work in a startup.
I quickly realised that my options were limited here, so I activated few connections I had in Lagos and Nairobi. Coming from London, that would have been a natural move I guess... But Home calling was so strong that I wanted to find a way to be useful to our local and growing tech scene. My good friend Joel told me that Kerawa was looking for a Product person to handle Design and Growth, so he connected the Founder Nino and I so we can discuss the role. Nino and I had known each other for a while on the Internet but had never met before, so our encounter was very smooth. 3 days later, I started as Product Manager for Kerawa, overseeing Product Design, Growth and Engineering.
It took me about 4 months to (re)get used to the frenzy of living in Douala, and that's why I am now writing this. I can say with total confidence today that moving back home was the best move I could do at this stage of my life. Working at a funded Pan-African startup from home, building a product used worldwide from my hometown Douala provides a very strong feeling of pride. It's easy to compete globally when in London, but much harder to do so from a so-called obscure tropical city such as Douala. Nonetheless, we're doing so every day at Kerawa, and I could not be happier work wise.
That being said, not everybody should move back. Do so if you want to, only when the time is right. When you feel ready. Regardless of how much time you need, I strongly advise not to be afraid to do so. Many of us are scared to go back to our home countries, especially when we've failed as per our cultural standards. However, we should not be afraid to move back to our home countries, as hard or harsh life could be there, as terrible or failed we could feel we are.
Don't wait for the perfect opportunity while staying abroad, they are unlikely to come to you. Don't expect to get an expatriate contract to move back to your home country. That too is very unlikely to happen. Come back, explore, and you may discover opportunities that you could not even suspect when abroad. That happened to me, to many friends of mine too, so certainly can happen to you.
What's your story moving back home? If you are still abroad, are you thinking about moving back? I'd be happy to hear your story!