Remember those people who only need a laptop and internet to do their work? Alex here is one of them! He has lived in UK, Australia, United States, until he has suddenly decided in 2016 that Barcelona is perfect for him... He himself doesn't know his future destination, so don't be surprised if you see him next to your home sometimes!
Name: Alex Bejan
Hometown: Bacau, Romania
Abroad since: 2012
Living in: Barcelona, Spain
Current position & company: E-commerce Developer/Consultant - main client Warner Music Artist Services
TGR: Alex, I must say this - working in so many places on Earth is something a few people can brag about! Have you ever thought of such a career development?
AB: This is certainly true, Mihnea. I can say I’ve been quite lucky, but I also have been working hard for it and I've always had a plan in mind, at many times going against my family or friends’ advice. My motto is 'do your best, be positive and good things will happen’
I guess the turning point was in 2015. At that time I was living in London, which was starting to feel a bit overwhelming with the amount of people, lack of meaningful personal connections and ever-increasing rent prices (for properties that anywhere else you would pay half the money). And grimm weather, of course.
Wow, the naked truth about London - extremely bold I would say!
I just felt that London was killing my spirit... So, after a week holiday to Thailand which kind of changed my mind and priorities, the day I came back I decided that I want to leave it for good. I told my landlord I was going to move, I then arranged to work remotely and within a few months I was gone! Since then it’s been a constant adventure.
I suppose being an IT freelancer gives you the liberty to choose. What is it that you actually do for a living?
I am doing many things, but my main activity for the past few years has been to develop and support an Enterprise E-Commerce platform for Warner Music to help artists sell their merchandise. It is currently supporting over 100 artists and the stores are accessed by millions of people every year.
That sounds huge... Were you the only one responsible for that?
It is big, however the development team is quite small with respect to the size of the business. Of course, there are many other smart and talented people involved in the project - operations, store managers, customer service, marketing department. We are industry leaders for a reason, the business saw its revenue increasing year-over-year for the past few years, and I'd like to think I also had a contribution to these results.
What made you move back to Europe and why Barcelona?
The main reason would be proximity to my family and friends. I loved Australia and America, but they’re very far away from everyone I know, plus there’s a quite complicated process to get a resident visa there, so me and my girlfriend decided to stay in Europe, at least for now. Why Barcelona? I had already visited the most important cities in Europe and this is the one I loved the most. It’s warm and sunny most of the time, people are very nice and friendly, the food is amazing and there are loads of beaches!
We are on the same side here - Barcelona is my favorite city on Earth as well! Is there by any chance anything you don't like about your new home?
Well, the main surprise I had when I moved here was how little English they speak, especially considering that it is a top tourist destination. I find myself having to speak a broken Spanish more than I thought I would.
Another thing would be the bureaucracy and their working hours which at times it’s a guessing game.
I see... But you somehow find a way to always integrate in a new society...
Somehow... I try to be self-sufficient and surround myself with good people as much as I can, and this strategy helped me avoid unpleasant dramas and disappointments, but I think you can find common grounds with pretty much everyone.
Another thing that helps is maintaining my routine no matter where I am, from working hours to when I sleep or what I eat.
Do you see yourself moving back to Romania sometimes? What could convince you?
I do see myself coming back to Romania and I’m actually planning to do this, but more like another destination rather than moving there permanently. I don’t think there’s anything to convince me to come back for good, especially within the current social and political climate.
How do you generally feel about our home country?
Romanians are one of the most grounded people I’ve known to be honest. It might be the hardship that we had to go through, but we’re definitely a nation of very aware people, always prepared for the worst
I would like to see people communicating and collaborating more though, but that’s hard to do while most of the people are struggling to make a living.
How often do you travel to Romania?
It depends where I am, but I try to come at least twice a year to visit my family and friends. Or if I have to renew my passport.
What do you mostly miss about Romania?
I miss some people, the familiarity of places and speaking Romanian.
Please tell me something particular about Romania that you would usually say to a foreign friend.
I highly recommend Romania to all my foreign friends, especially the wild nature, the fact that everyone speaks English and the prices are low compared to other EU countries.
What is your biggest dream?
I dream about being in a position where I could afford to hire teams of very intelligent people and tackle some of the following problems: injustice, violence, access and quality of education.
Whenever you feel ready! You can start looking for some of the most amazing people right here on this platform Thank you, Alex, for your time!
The Golden Romania
All the interviews in this section, gathered in one place!
Razvan Mihai Oancea - the Regional Manager in the sewing industry whose transformation process has only started after 40, when he has moved to Hong Kong
Andrei Golesteanu - the experienced HR Manager who's in the position to develop US professionals
Radu Topliceanu, one of the top Romanian banking professionals worldwide!
Johann Stan, the Romanian who's in the position to approve a patent for any European innovation!
Andrei Lascu, the Country Manager of 750 IT Professionals in Indonesia
Mirel Baila, the first Romanian Abroad who has shared his amazing story to this platform!