Neil Morley, Owner of Cat's Eye Communications, a UK based content marketing agency, lived and worked in Slovenia for three years and now returns on a regular basis to service some local clients. He he compares expat life in Ljubljana and Detroit, where he lived for five years. He also gives a personal perspective on Slovenia.
1.You lived and worked as an expat for a number of years both in the US and Slovenia, which did you prefer?
I lived in Detroit from 2001 to 2005 and in Ljubljana from 2010 to 2013, both were great assignments but very different. In the US I lived a suburban style of life, away from the city, with the large company house and so on. We had to drive everywhere but it was great place to bring my two kids up. In Ljubljana, I lived a city centre life, which is hard to beat as Ljubljana is quite unique in the sense that it is small, friendly, safe and in so many ways, utterly charming.
2.How would you describe Slovenia to somebody who was never in Slovenia.
Nice place, nice people, nice climate and nice food and drink! Its a beautiful place first and foremost, with plenty of outdoor things to see and do, like skiing in the winter and the nearby Croatian coast in the summer. For me though the best parts of Slovenia are the less well known to outsiders - the out of way restaurants, with exquisite food and wine run by talented families and the special days out, like kayaking on the Krka, Slovenia is especially nice because its generally so quiet, unlike my home country, the UK and totally different to the US lifestyle I lead I think it just needs to work on the political and economic fronts, it needs to become a simpler place to do business in.
3. What are your favorite places in Slovenia ? What are your best experiences in Slovenia ?
My favourite place is probably up around either Bled or Bohinj with a mountain bike for the day. My best experiences are nearly all food related! I am a huge fan of Osterija in Dolenske Toplice and Majerija in the Vipava valley and I think my experience at Skarucna will live with me forever (in a good way!).
3.You have many friends from UK temporary working or staying in Slovenia. How they see Slovenia? Statistics show many UK guests coming to Slovenia.? Why is that so ?
UK visitors to Slovenia tend to be independent travelers looking for a nice city break or maybe an active outdoor week in nice sunny weather. The Ljubljana cafe culture is hard to find in the UK and its also now very difficult to "get away from it all in the UK" because its a very crowded island and the weather is hard to predict. It easy to visit Slovenia and the flights are generally pretty cheap thanks to Wizz, EasyJet and Ryanair.
I think there's less Brits seeking or finding work in Slovenia though since the "crisis" and the working expat community is I think much smaller than before - but the working expats in Slovenia, who I know, all like the place enormously.
4.You have many experience with networking by being part of many groups, one of them is UK related. Could you tell us what are most important elements for connecting people .
I network a lot, using LinkedIn and through my many business interests and via my own marketing agency. On a more informal basis when I am in Ljubljana I try and host a Pub Quiz in Patrick's Irish Pub on a regular basis. This started out as an expat thing, with ab out fifteen regulars but now the audience is two thirds Slovene and its a lot of fun, with about 60 people attending. There's some networking but mostly just entertainment and bringing people together for some fun.