42 – Integrating ikigai in the context of expat life

How can ikigai be beneficial to the life of an expat?

Life as an expat is both exciting and challenging. Navigating unfamiliar places can be stressful at times, yet it offers a life-enriching experience that allows you to discover more about yourself and forge connections that lead to a sense of ikigai.

In this episode of the Ikigai Podcast, Nick speaks with Chloe Le Gouche and Karly Christ, sharing their experiences living as an expat and finding ikigai. 

Ibasho as a source of ikigai

"Ibasho is really a place where we can be ourselves, where we're being true to ourselves, particularly in interpersonal relationships, so friends, family, and activities that we engage in and the people that are part of those experiences. 

It's where we feel we're the most authentic, and that there's a lot of care from the other side. And it comes from many different places
." - Karly Christ and Chloe Le Gouche

Podcast Highlights

Karly Christ and Chloe Le Gouche

Karly Christ & Chloe Le Gouche

Chloe Le Gouce and Karly Christ are both NLP coaches; they empower women through their coaching business, Vibrant Ikigai, where they coach women using the ikigai philosophy. Chloe’s originally from France, while Karly’s from America; both are fluent in English and French. Both are currently living in Texas.


Vibrant Ikigai Coaching - Are you ready to find your own path?

Working together as Vibrant gap year

Karly and Chloe met through their husbands back in France, in 2012. It was during Karly’s second expatriation move, and Chloe was one of the very first people she met. At that time, they had a problem communicating because of language barriers. However, that doesn’t stop them from connecting and having a great bond.

About ten years after their encounter in France, they found each other living in the same city again, which is in Texas. It was the summer of 2020, during the time of Covid, both found themselves unemployed and contemplating life and which path they wanted to take; it was at that time that Karly thought of bringing to life her dream of starting her own business.

She had her vision on where she wanted to take it and thought of Chloe as the perfect business partner. Luckily, Chloe agreed to take part in it; she loved the idea of coaching young women in their gap years and helping them discover who they really are.


Merging their business with ikigai

Incorporating ikigai into their business is something that Chloe suggested. She thought that it would be great to include the concept within the gap year space, to which Karly agreed. They thought of ways how they can apply it to their coaching business, thus, they began exploring the concept and ended up finding Nick and the Ikigai Tribe, which gave them clarity of what the ikigai is all about.


Experiencing ibasho

Ibasho (authentic relationships) is a concept Karly and Chloe learned from Nick’s coaching program. For Karly, it is a place where she can be herself, particularly in interpersonal relationships – her friends, families – all the people involved in the activities she engages in. She has numerous ibasho in her life, all from which she feels being her authentic self. The same thing with Chloe, she thinks that ibasho can be people, and also places where people make memories with others.

Challenges of being expats

While having the opportunity to live in other countries is exciting, some challenges come from being an expat. Chloe shares that when she moved to the US, although being thrilled, she experienced some difficulties; living abroad felt like she lost ibasho because she had to leave behind her family and friends in her hometown. In addition, she had to adapt to her new environment: finding a new job, communicating with people, and finding food similar to what she’s used to.

Karly agrees that there are some challenges that come from being an expat. People have to deal with negotiating with different cultures – different ways of knowing, doing things, and communicating. She felt this when she moved to France, where she had to learn a new language and adapt to a different lifestyle.

Discovering Mieko Kamiya’s work

Through Nick’s coaching program, Karly and Chloe were able to discover Kamiya Mieko and her work on ikigai. One aspect of Kamiya’s work was her identification of eight ikigai needs: life satisfaction, change and growth, a bright future, resonance, freedom, self-actualization, meaning and value, and a sense of purpose.

The 8 ikigai needs are helpful for expats – those having to deal with the changes of living in a different country, and one essential thing to have in order to experience it is ibasho. Karly believes that pursuing hobbies and activities will help people create ibasho while fulfilling the ikigai needs.

For Chloe, she thinks that if she would have known ikigai at the time she moved to Texas, it would be really helpful for her in finding ibasho. As mentioned, there are some difficulties that expats face when they move to a different country. Hence, it is essential to experience the 8 needs of ikigai to find ibasho and feel a sense of ikigai.

Experiencing Kamiya’s ikigai needs

One of the ikigai needs that expats experience is change and growth; it is something that naturally comes with moving to a different country. Living in a different environment forces people to come out of their comfort zones, thus, offering more experiences for change and growth. In addition to that, the need for freedom is also something that expats experience; living abroad gives people the freedom to create the life they want, and there is a sense of independence – that you are in control of your life.

Moving to a new country is life-changing, and the more people get to experience the 8 ikigai needs: they change and grow; anticipate a bright future; they experience resonance as they make new friendships; they have the freedom to navigate their lives; they self-actualize whenever they learn new things; they find new meaning and value to their lives; and feel a sense of purpose with a new lifestyle.


Vibrant Ikigai Coaching

With the use of Nick’s ikigai methodology, Karly and Chloe provide coaching to women, often expats, who are wanting to change their careers, or those who are at a turning point in their lives. They have a 2-hour workshop where they go over Kamiya’s 8 ikigai needs. They also offer a one-to-one coaching program, a 4-month program that takes an in-depth approach to the 8 ikigai needs that can help their clients attain their goals. They also plan to have free masterclasses for women wanting to learn more about the concept of ikigai.


Ikigai Tribe coaching experience

Both are grateful for the opportunity to be part of Nick’s coaching program. Karly shares that she’s grateful to know the other members of their cohort, where they were able to share their knowledge and experiences. For Chloe, she thinks that it is a game changer as they were able to go deep into their emotions, share how exactly they are feeling, and resonate the ikigai philosophy into their lives.


Tips for expats

Take language classes. You will not only benefit from learning the language of the country, but you’ll get out of your house and meet new people. And those people may become your ibasho, and they'll be there for you. It will make you feel less alone and give you a support system. - Karly Christ

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Language Classes ikigai Tribe

The two share some tips for those living an expat life: first is to take language classes; Karly shares that people will not only benefit from learning the language of the country, but it also opens up opportunities to meet new people.

Do the activities that you love. If you did something in your home country, do it in your new country. If you used to go to the gym, find your gym, if you went to a yoga class, find your yoga class, it doesn't matter. If you can't understand the instructor, just jump in and go with it. - Chloe Le Gouche

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Activities You Love Ikigai Tribe

Second, Chloe shares that people should do the activities that they love; they should continue doing the things that they used to do in their home country.

Put things on the calendar that you can look forward to, and always have something on the horizon that brings you a feeling of ikigai when you think of it. So this could be a  long weekend trip, a nice dinner at a restaurant in your new city, or it could be a local cultural activity that is coming up. - Karly Christ

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Look Forward Ikigai Tribe

Lastly, putting things on the calendar so that people have something to look forward to; something to anticipate, that may give them a feeling of ikigai. More importantly, they think that it is important to always live in the present moment to make the most of their expat life.



Living an expat life may be risky but can also be a rewarding experience. It might be uncomfortable at first, as it forces people to come out of their comfort zones. However, these challenges of living in a new country may lead to new opportunities, and learnings, and help build new relationships. It gives people a chance to reflect on their lives, thus, allowing them to feel more ikigai.