An A-Z of Expat Life – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – Part I

Everything you need to know about expat life in one easy A to Z list.


A is for the Armpit of the Earth: This would be an affectionate name for a really tough posting that will only be undertaken by the most badass of expats.  It’s a term to describe the furthest flung, most chaotic, challenging and maddening places on the face of the planet.  A is also for Airplanes and Airports, we often become overly familiar with these.  Any glamour we previously associated with international travel will quickly lose its’ shine, especially if frequently travelling solo with young children. Continue reading

The Lost Art of Letter Writing


Today I received a handwritten card from a friend who is far away.  She’s from New Zealand, I’m from the UK.  I currently live in South Africa and she recently moved from here to Asia.

The card didn’t arrive in my post box.  We don’t have a post box.  It came in true expat style via a mutual friends’ suitcase with a smattering of goodies to boot.

The wording on the front of the card is a Danish proverb which is completely apt for expat life, “The road to a friend’s house is never long.”  Although, I’d probably alter it to “The road to a friend’s house is never long, even if they are thousands of miles away and living in a completely different time zone.”

It made my day.   Continue reading

Digital Detox

Botany Bay

Clear Your Mind (photo taken at Botany Bay, Kent)


…and I’m back. I’ve been away and decided to take a break from the internet, the mistress than never sleeps and is relentless in her quest for your attention.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.  A holiday is supposed to be just that, a holiday.

Apart from a quick scan to check for vital emails I traded the internet for building sandcastles, visiting real castles, going for picnics, playing in parks and unadulterated quality time with family and friends.  We had a wonderful holiday, BUT, apart from the shot at the top of the post, I won’t be posting ANY of my holiday photos or writing about it.

I haven’t got a clue what my Facebook friends have been having for dinner for the last few weeks or what hilarious antics have been perpetrated by their pets or small children.  I haven’t seen updates telling me how long my friends have been friends with some someone on Facebook who I’ve never even met (accompanied of course by a slideshow of their friendship).  I’m assuming most people I know have been away or are currently on holiday at this time of year.  I hope they enjoyed or are enjoying themselves and look forward to hearing about it in person next time I see or speak to them.  I can live with not instantaneously knowing all these details.  It’s a relief not to see social media’s collective stream of consciousness for a little while.

With all the terrible things happening plastered across the front pages of newspapers and the whole Brexity mess going on at home in the UK, it’s impossible not to know what’s going on in the world, but taking a step back from the relentless cyber news cycle and everybody’s online reactions and comments to it all was an unburdening.  There was no temptation to click on link after link for further information, or to discover completely irrelevant but utterly tantalising content.

Once you’ve finished reading this stellar blog post and liked, commented and shared it (oh the irony), give the digital detox a whirl.  Switch off your computer.  Lock up your smartphone.  Stop liking, stop sharing, stop commenting and go out, have fun and be present.

Now that my holiday’s almost over, I had better get my thinking cap on for some new blog posts, so please stay tuned (again, I realise this is an ironic request).  

In the meantime, if you are going ON holiday, please go OFFline.