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Expatriate Network: Nicolas Fraile

Tired of the corporate world, Nicolas left Spain to venture around the world all by himself with only his backpack for company. Along the way, he found another single traveller from Malaysia, who became his life companion as well as his business partner f

by / Published: 22 Dec 2015

Expatriate Network: Nicolas Fraile

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
I’m actually an engineer by profession, though I never worked as one. I was a business consultant for a big corporate company back in Spain for most of my life. I was becoming saturated with a demanding job that had me working until 11 on a regular basis, so I decided to take a break.

I set off on a two-year sabbatical with a chance of coming back to the same company with the same position and salary and did what my heart desired – I travelled. I went to Costa Rica. From Costa Rica, I went all the way up by bus and car to California.

Then from California, I flew over to Asia: Hong Kong and Vietnam. I then bought a motorbike in Vietnam and continued to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. I skipped Malaysia and my last stop was Indonesia.

HIS ARRIVAL IN MALAYSIA
I was in Indonesia for four months and it was at the airport that I met a fellow traveller, Yvonne, who ended up becoming my wife. She is basically the reason why I came to Malaysia. After chatting to her at the airport, I thought why not come to Malaysia to visit her, since it’s one of the Asian countries I’ve not stepped into.

I ended up helping her in her business at a restaurant in Changkat. After she sold her shares, we opened Pisco and years later we’re opening our latest bar, COMO. She encouraged me to get into the F&B industry with both bars.

THE PERKS
The customers make my job an enjoyable one. I would be bored if it weren’t for them! The best TripAdvisor review we got so far was from someone who said Pisco is a place where you walk in as a stranger and walk out as a friend. It’s great to see how customers who come on a regular basis have now become friends as they invite us out for barbecues and gatherings at home.

EXPANDING TO NEWER HORIZONS
I won’t be working under any company any more, that’s for sure. I’d like to continue as an entrepreneur unless I want to move back to Spain. The future definitely consists of us working on COMO and expanding into doing something more casual in a different area. Instead of bars and clubs, we’d be keener on opening an outlet with a casual vibe – like a cafe – for customers to chill at.

MEMORIES BY THE BEACH
I enjoy the beach. I have been to Perhentian, Langkawi and Pulau Besar. Pulau Besar was where I got married to my wife. The guests were a mixed crowd, half of them being locals and the other half friends from Spain, and the wedding at the island was a somewhat perfect union of both our cultures.

It’s funny how Pisco and COMO exemplifies just that – bars that don’t fit into a specific category, rather a wholesome mix of different aspects with Spanish elements. It’s where expats and locals alike can come together without any of them being more dominant than the other.

The wedding was important for me in that way as it celebrates the best of both worlds. And now that I have a son of my own, an ideal spot with the family for a vacation would be Pulau Pangkor or Cameron Highlands.

NEW EXPATS
Don’t just stop at Changkat. Once you start meeting the locals, you’ll explore so many other different things in town besides the nightlife here. Go beyond prime expat areas like Publika and Bangsar as they are comfort zones expats need to get over.

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