I don’t have all the answers, but I’m asking a lot of questions!
I live an unconventional life on the move. I don’t know where ‘Home’ is. My identity is stuck, not so much between a rock and a hard place, as between Dutch canals and the African sun…and English country lanes…and Turkish minarets…and chaotic Thai streets…
My Nationalities. Being asked 'Where are you from?' terrifies me!
Countries I've Called 'Home' (UK, South Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey, The Netherlands)
% Of Time Spent Wondering: 'What does that mean?' 'Where am I?' 'What did I just eat?' 'What the **** am I doing here?'
Expitterpattica is about what it’s like to live around the world. I write about things that come up in my own life:
Identity; raising global children; the pitfalls of giving up your career to move abroad (as well as the benefits); making and losing friends; repatriation, and many more.
I also love to write about our travels and I usually do so in long-form storytelling.
Ah! The dreaded question!
I was born in the UK to a South African mother and a Dutch father and moved to South Africa when I was 11. I have British, South African and Dutch nationalities.
I left everything familiar behind to begin a new life where everything was strange and foreign.
So am I British? Sometimes. Am I South African? Probably. Am I Dutch? Technically.
Almost 15 years! We set off as 20-somethings to Saigon, Vietnam thinking we’d be there for a year, two at most.
15 years, 4 countries, 3 kids and 1 cat later we’re still on the move!
Honestly, this expat life has not come easily to me. I’m not good with change, but I do love an adventure! But gradually I’ve become used to the constant state of flux, the perpetual feeling of being different, and now I can’t imagine living any other way!
What does it mean to leave your home and settle in a foreign country?
Expats are often given a bad rap: we’re privileged, entitled, out of touch with reality. But actually, the reality of expat life is far removed from those awful clichés.
Everyone who leaves their home to make a life in a foreign country (permanently or temporarily) faces similar issues:
A loss of identity, difficulty understanding and adapting to the host culture, a feeling of displacement. We worry about disrupting our children and how constantly moving during their formative years will affect how they form lasting attachments as adults.
I write about these issues as a way to bring my own perspective of stillness to the constant movement in my life.