I have been an expat for two thirds of my adult life – in Italy, Germany, England and finally Scotland. Although growing up no one in my family or close circle of acquaintances was an expat, I was always curious about living abroad, and when I could finally do it as an adult, I realized that being a expat was the condition which allowed me to be the best version of myself. Moreover, as an academic, one of my areas of expertise is expats: I have written a book and several articles about music and exile, focusing on Spanish exiled composers.
I’m a father of two boys (6 and a new born) currently living in Tokyo. I was born in a small town called Ballarat in Australia, then moved to Melbourne when I was 22. My first taste of expat life was during a U.K. Working holiday visa in 2006, that lasted 18 months. Once I returned home, I realized that I’d been bitten by the travel bug, and within 6 months I was teaching English in Japan.
During that time I met my wife, and we decided to move back to Australia for a few years (5). Therefore, I officially became an expat in November 2013 when we moved back to Tokyo for the foreseeable future. Since being back, I’ve been working on achieving some of my creative goals through my writing.
Dr. Rachel Woodlock is an academic and writer with a special interest in the experiences of Muslims in Western societies. She studied and worked at both the University of Melbourne and Monash University in Australia before she moved with her family to the quiet solitude of rural Ireland. She has lived as an expat Australian in County Tipperary for nearly four years, during which time she co-wrote For God’s Sake: An Atheist, a Jew, a Christian & a Muslim Debate Religion and co-edited the academic title Fear of Muslims? International Perspectives on Islamophobia.
Raised in a Baha’i family, Rachel found a new home in Islam in the late ‘90s, so she is an expat both geographically and religiously. Her religious life has taken some wandering twists and turns but she is particularly entranced by Islamic spirituality and its comparisons and overlaps with ascetic ancient Eastern Christianity. She also has an interest in Jewish-Muslim interfaith relations having attended Jewish religious education classes as a child, honeymooned in the Holy Land and worked professionally with colleagues at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation.
In Ireland, Rachel has found friendship, welcome and much craic!
I’m a photographer and artist who lives in Tokyo with my wife and daughter. Born in Chile, I moved to Australia as a young child and grew up like a classic third culture kid, speaking English at school and Spanish at home. In my late 20s, I moved to London, where my daughter was born. When she was 2, we moved to Delhi, then later Hong Kong, and Singapore, before arriving in Tokyo in 2013.
Along the way, I switched careers, leaving academia and going back to studio work, music and then photography. This experience was summarised in my first book No Missing Tools. I also regularly share experiences of living and working in Japan on my blog, and also Twitter and Instagram.
Everyone knows about the amazing spring in Japan, where the cherry blossoms burst forth in clouds of white and pink. But, it’s only one of the amazing seasons (some say we have 72 of them). I love autumn the most, when the ginkgo trees light up like great shards of yellow and gold. The air turns crisp and is so inviting for long walks and hikes. And of course, it reminds us it will be winter soon, when the snow will fall and we’ll catch the fast trains into the mountains to go skiing.
English-born former corporate IT professional Matthew Smith swapped the livestock country of rural Devonshire for the South Australian grain-belt. His move started with contrasts which set the tone for the last fifteen years, being snowed in the week before leaving England, and arriving to temperatures in excess of 40ºC.
Matthew lives on a rural property with his Australian wife, ten Labradors, a horse, a budgerigar, and a vintage tractor. Working from home as a freelance software developer and IT consultant, he enjoys cooking, art, music, observing the local flora and fauna, science and humanities Twitter RoCurs, and studying Cold War history.
Administrator of the @WeRWorld Twitter “global village” RoCur account, Matthew can normally be found holding forth as @smiffy, tweeting mostly in English, with the occasional bit of bad French thrown in for good measure. Instagram: @schamiyam
Becky Hellwig is Silicon Valley-born-and-bred. Less than two months ago Becky and her German husband packed up the kids and the house and moved to a small village just outside of Chemnitz (formerly Karl Marx Stadt), Germany. Becky has three beautiful girls: Stella, 8, and identical twins Marybelle and Rosalee, age 4. The children and the husband are adjusting well.
Becky is enjoying a fresh change from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley. Sometimes you can find her travelling to larger cities such as Berlin, Leipzig, and London to attend international film festivals and is always on the look out for up and coming designers with a bit of edge for the over-40 crowd. You can follow her on Instagram @Beckswunderland and Twitter @beckswunderland.
Amanda Settle is a blogger/writer and housewife living on and exploring a Greek island. She started the blog when moving from Qatar, detailing expat life with food, thoughts, photographs and travel.
With a BA in English literature, a former English teacher who’s travelled the world working, she enjoys writing about things that matter in the world around her. From the refugee crisis to expat life and arriving at middle age.
She is passionate about travel, detailing her trips around Greece and the islands, loves exploring and is excited by discovering new places. Her recipes are Mediterranean-themed, using organic, locally sourced ingredients to help maintain a healthy body in middle age.
She is a 47yr old British expat, married for 6 years with 3 cats and a dog, all rescued in different countries.
Concita Demicoli was born and raised in Malta, a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily. Daughter of a restaurateur, her family life centred around the love for food. She started baking at a very young age with her grandma who lived right next door.
Concita moved to Belgium with her family in 2010.
With such a drastic change in climate and produce, her cuisine needed adapting. Her repertoire now also includes soups in July and August, unheard of in Malta, but the Belgian summer sometimes calls for warmer dishes.
She is married and has 3 beautiful girls. The elder ones are already enjoying cooking their own meals and experimenting with local ingredients by adding them to dishes they already knew. So Tiramisu is now made with Speculoos biscuits and Pasta carbonara now includes Jambon des Ardennes.
You can follow her adventures in Belgium and the rest of Europe on Instagram @bakinginbelgium or Twitter @bakinginbelgium.
Lisa Ferland is a public health consultant, writer, and mother of two adorable children. In 2012, she and her husband decided to relocate from Atlanta, GA USA to Stockholm, Sweden in the middle of winter (that was a shock) and raise their family in a more family-friendly culture.
She became pregnant with their second child and experienced Swedish prenatal care firsthand. Her childbirth journey resulted in a fast and painless delivery of her daughter at their home—completely unexpected and unattended—with only her husband and two-year-old son around to catch the baby!
Her remarkably different experiences led her to collaborate with other mothers around the world to publish an anthology about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting cultures experienced as an expat in the book, Knocked Up Abroad. She is currently developing the second book in the series, Knocked Up Abroad Again. She is very active on Facebook and Twitter @knockdupabroad. When not in front of the computer, she can be found playing outside with her kids who are most likely barefoot if it’s summer or bundled up if it’s winter.