Mike’s Expat Story: Embracing Adventure and Growth 

Mike’s Expat Story: Embracing Adventure and Growth 
Updated on April 9, 2024

Living a life of adventure and embracing new experiences has always been a driving force for Mike Wallace, CEO of Greenback Expat Tax Services. After growing up in multiple states throughout the US, Mike’s international exploration started with a trip to Italy before college. He was hooked, and in the following 20 years, he lived in seven countries across Asia, Europe, and the South Pacific. He is currently back in the US, raising his family in Michigan. 

As an expat himself, Mike understands the unique challenges and rewards that come with living abroad. In this insightful interview, Mike shares his expat story, the joys and difficulties he encountered along the way, and the valuable lessons he learned. 

Choosing the Path of Exploration 

Having lived outside the United States for over five years, Mike’s expat journey took him to fascinating destinations such as India, Korea, Tonga, the UK, Germany, and Spain. Each country brought its own allure and charm, but it was Korea that left a lasting impression on Mike. He highlights the modernity, convenience, delectable cuisine, and the extraordinary safety he experienced there. In fact, he shares an intriguing aspect of Korean culture where people reserve their spot at a table in a public restaurant using their phones. 

Mike’s first foray into the expat world began with a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in India. The experience ignited a deep desire within him to explore the world and understand different cultures. This passion became the driving force behind his subsequent international moves. 

Nara, Japan
Nara, Japan

Challenges In the Expat Life 

Being an expat presents its own set of challenges, especially when raising young children. Mike vividly recalls how everything from doctor’s appointments to grocery runs became more complex. However, he found immense joy in witnessing the world through his children’s eyes. The challenges transformed into opportunities for growth, both personally and as a family. 

Advice for Fellow Expats 

Drawing from his own experiences, Mike offers valuable advice to those embarking on their own expat journeys. He emphasizes the importance of humility, adapting to the new environment, and seeking guidance from fellow expats who can provide valuable insights.

Be humble – you need to adapt to your new country, not the other way around. Find a fellow expat who can show you the ropes; that will save hours of Google time. Also, trust your gut if you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Living overseas has been a transformative experience for Mike and his family. They have grown in patience, empathy, understanding, and courage, and their perspectives have expanded beyond measure. The rewards of experiencing new places and cultures have far surpassed any comforts they may have left behind. 

Embracing Community in a Foreign Land 

Community played a crucial role in Mike’s expat journey. Whether it was the friendships forged at work, connections made through church, or the warm encounters with Korean locals despite language barriers, the sense of belonging and connection created a strong support system for him and his family. 

Reflecting on his international moves, Mike realizes the immense growth he has experienced personally and professionally. His journey has given him a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by Greenback’s clients, fostering empathy and a unique perspective in providing expat tax services. 

Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia
Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia

Continuing the Adventure 

Living abroad has enriched my perspective, enhancing my ability to understand and empathize with the challenges our clients face at Greenback.

-Mike Wallace, CEO, Greenback Expat Tax Services

Looking ahead, Mike is eager to continue exploring new countries and cultures. His appetite for discovery remains insatiable, and he hopes to delve even deeper into the countries he calls home and the surrounding regions. 

Mike’s expat journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking a life of adventure, growth, and cultural immersion. His passion for embracing new experiences and his commitment to helping others navigate the complexities of expat taxes make him a true advocate for the expat community.  

We want to hear your expat story! If you’d like to share your story on our blog just answer a few questions about your expat experience. Your story could inspire countless other current and future expats.

Have Questions? Not Sure What to Do Next? Get Help Early! 

For US expats struggling with filing their taxes, Greenback offers an easy-to-use platform and knowledgeable accountants that could be the solution you need to achieve peace of mind. Don’t delay, and get started with filing your taxes today. 

For general questions on expat taxes or working with Greenback, contact our Customer Champions

The IRS tax code is 7,000 pages. Want the cliff notes version for expats? Let us help.