Episode 34: Mahlena-Rae Johnson - "The Whole System Has Changed"

For some Americans, Canada can be a top contender when they start thinking where to live abroad. I mean  this shouldn’t be surprising. Proximity, shared language and a somewhat similar way life can make it appealing.

And let’s be real, there is a running joke, depending on the political situation in the U.S. in any given year, that appeal only grows. 

In 2019, Mahlena-Rae Johnson and her family made that move to Toronto, Canada, after the longtime feeling of wanting a life beyond the U.S.. 

Easy, right?

Not necessarily.

Mahlena-Rae  describes the almost two year gap between their decision to move to the country and the actual possibility of going. They tried. Several times before  they found an application route that made it possible. 

In this episode, Mahlena and I definitely talk a lot about the differences between the United States and Canada. She explains  how  her upbringing in St. Thomas, where her mother gained a position as a professor influenced her interest in travel as well as her reasons for pivoting from working in media to full scale entrepreneurship.

If I had to sum this episode up, it would have to be knowing the differences between perception and reality.  Mahlena Rae and I spend a good amount of time discussing what should seem completely straightforward on paper…is actually anything but in practice.

  • How her childhood living in St. Thomas influenced her interest in travel.
  • The actual process of relocating her family to Canada from the U.S.
  • Understanding how our communications styles can change when expats are outside their home culture. 
  • The ways she’s have to pivoted professionally while abroad.
  • Why the calls for diversity within media are completely unsurprising.

To hear the full episode, click below or listen wherever you get your podcasts. 

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