Back in 1999, Chris laid his first roots in the Czech Republic when he purchased his first property that he later converted into a B&B. Since then, he has built a fine life deep in the Czech countryside that he has every intention of enjoying happily ever after.
1. Where are you from originally?
Formby, Merseyside UK
2. Where do you live now?
Toužim, Czech Republic
3. What first attracted you to your new home? Did you try anywhere else on the way? Did you move for work or for lifestyle?
I bought a property out here in 1999 and converted it into a Bed and Breakfast http://www.penzionnezichov.cz/ , whilst still working in the UK. In 2003, I decided to make the move and leave the job in the UK and come out to the Czech Republic. So, a complete change of lifestyle and work.
4. What kind of property do you live in now? Will you stay here? What’s your ideal place to live in within your new country?
I sold the B and B in 2007 to an American expat and bought a plot of land and built a new house in Toužim. For me, the location I am in is ideal. My wife ( Czech) works for the family business, just 5km away, and we are right in the middle of amazing countryside and forests, yet not too far from two large population centers (Plzen and Karlovy Vary). I have no intention of returning to the UK
5. Are you speaking a new language? If so, how did you learn?
After a slow start, I am now reasonably fluent in Czech.
6.What do you do for a living? Where do you physically work from? Do you work with clients/customers back in your home country or your new one?
Recently, I decided to go back to my original profession. In the UK, I was an IFA providing financial planning advice to clients of a couple of accountancy practices. I was also involved with the Chartered Insurance Institute, setting and marking professional exam papers as well as running training courses. I now work for an IFA in Prague( main roles are technical consultant, financial planning and working with the compliance director), but most of the work can be done online from my home office. All clients are expats.
7. Do you work online? If so, what is the internet connectivity like? What software do you commonly use on day to day basis? What would be your top tip for online working from your new country?
As above, a lot of the work is online. As for connectivity, it is now circa 20Mb speed as the telephone company has recently just connected our street to the network. Prior to this, WiFi was the only option and it was slow. Fast internet access is a must, for both document transfers and internet telephone. Had I needed fast internet at outset, then I would have had to consider living in a different part of town.
8. Are you paid in your new home currency or in pounds/dollars/euros? Do you exchange money often? If so, what service do you use?
I am Czech resident for tax purposes and I am paid in the local currency.
9. Do you have children? If so, how did they adapt to the move? How are their schools? Are they bi-lingual? Are their good future career opportunities within your new country?
I have two children, who were both born over here. They are bilingual and attend the local schools. The local schools are okay for children up to about 11. After that, they will need to go to a school in one of the larger towns. The Czech Republic is right in the centre of Europe and so for people with the right skills, there are lots of career opportunities.
10. Did you bring any pets with you? Or leave any behind? How did this work out?
I did not bring any pets with me.
11. Is your life better than it was before? If so, how?
I would say that life is better now for me than in the UK. If anything, I have more work and responsibilities but the atmosphere seems much more relaxed and less stressful. I have a feeling of space that I did not have before and I have a whole lot of new life experiences to deal with.
12. What are the best things about living in your new country? Has the move been good for the whole family?
The best things? Lower crime levels, safer for children, less traffic and a greater sense of freedom than in the UK.
13. What are the most challenging things about moving to and living in your new country?
The most challenging things have to be the language and the bureaucracy. There is no logic to a lot of the bureaucracy here and dealing with the government agencies is really frustrating.
14. Are you here for good? If so, why? If no , why not?
I am here for good. My children were born here, my wife and her sister run the family business and so I see no reason to return to the UK.
15. Any partings word to people thinking of moving to your country?
Parting words for someone coming to the Czech Republic? Don’t assume that Prague is representative of the whole country, have a look around. If you come here for work, make sure there is a demand for your skills that makes you more employable than a local. Try coming over for a long holiday first, before you make the move.
My name is Christopher Lean, I am married to Radka and have two young children. We live in Toužim and I work for an IFA called Square Mile Financial Services sro in Prague, I also write financial articles for expat websites. www.squaremilefs.com
My wife and her sister run a agricultural chemical testing company near Karlovy Vary, a town that filmgoers will know from the James Bond film “Casino Royale”, which was filmed here, and from the annual Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
We are surrounded by beautiful countryside and are both keen cyclists and we have four horses that the family ride regularly. In the summer, it is a popular holiday destination for visitors from Holland, Germany and Russia. Most of my free time is spent with the children, though I do find the time to visit the local hospoda (pub) to practice my Czech at the weekends.