Expat Best Practices

Today I was inspired by this article written about what we can learn from expats. Here is the link:


Maybe I’ve shared this already but I can’t remember. One of the things that being an expat did for me was give me a life sentence… kind of like a death sentence but in reverse.  I felt like I was given a gift to live in the moment, to be fully aware of what I wanted to do with my life and to do it right now and not wait.

When we were getting ready to move overseas, I stopped being tired and busy. I made time to do whatever I planned or dreamed and did it. We went to Hawaii and came back the day before our anniversary. We then drove 6 hours to Southern California the next day on our anniversary to celebrate my cousin’s wedding. Before, I would never have done something like this. I would have used the excuse that we just got back from a trip and we were exhausted, and it was our anniversary and blah, blah, blah.  Instead, we went. Just like that. And enjoyed our family and the journey. This type of event and thinking happened over and over again before we left.

And then we continued living like this the entire year we were expats. We lived and worked like we were on a permanent vacation. We didn’t know when our time would end, so we kept doing whatever our hearts and minds could dream of doing. We lived it up. My new motto.  Sleep when you’re dead. My old motto that I still carry. I have lots of these little statements. Maybe I’ll make a list of them one day.  They help guide me and remind me to live it up, love it out and have no fear.

That kind of connects to the life/death sentence. None of us know how long we’ll live, but we live our lives sometimes like we have forever and we don’t. So I chose to live it up now while I can, while we’re healthy and curious and have a thirst for experience and connection. We should live this way…fully present and aware, adapting and changing and growing every new minute.  What a gift of life we all have… it’s up to us how we choose to spend our minutes.

So back to the article… I’ll summarize what I found to be the best practices that The Backpacker shared about expats:

Expats are:

* Friendly, open people eager to make new friends immediately without pretension

* Fun to be around. They are curious and want to know your story and want to know about their new culture and land

* Adventurous, risk takers, and gutsy! Expats have to leave their home land, pack up their belongings and start new. This is uncomfortable and they do it anyway.  I love this – do it anyway mentality…so what if you’re a bit scared, unsure… try it anyway

* Try new things – new food, new languages, new rituals

* Have an attitude to “Just Do It” like Nike says – stop thinking about it and planning it and just do it

* Live life like you’re on a permanent holiday. Think about that… isn’t that a great idea? We have to do the work and study, but then what? Play!! Travel!! Explore!! Enjoy!!

* Love to hang out and socialize with friends, living it up

* Tend to enjoy themselves and welcome the revolving world of friends with a culture of openness. I love this and live this statement.

I miss being overseas and having the title of a current expat. I liked the experience and the friendships I made and miss them so much, even if everyone is away on summer holiday. I plan to incorporate these best practices into my daily life, living a more normal day to day life back in suburbia. I plan to keep living it up, loving it out and enjoying this beautiful world every day. I plan to fight the negativity I see in the media and continue to spread joy and love every where I go.  Thanks for joining me and sharing the journey.


“Grateful people are joyful people; the more joyful people are, the more we’ll have a joyful world.” – Brother David Steindl-Rast

20130718-222830.jpgThank you Michele for sharing Shasta with me today.  ;-). Thank you Val for having Christian over and spoiling him and for all the books. Thank you Christine for happy hour and my delicious succotash salad. Thank you Ling for the gorgeous Dahlias from your yard and the steam buns for Charlie. Thank you to all 6 kids who came over for dinner and filled my house with joy.  I love this life right now.  😉