Expat life in Spain, France, Hong Kong, Australia, Israel, Belgium, New Zealand and the UK
Grief, loneliness, Brexit, motherhood, identity, rootlessness, drinking culture and Covid are just some of the issues tackled in a series of powerful stories written by none women on the challenges of expat life in Spain, Hong Kong, Australia, Israel, Belgium, New Zealand and the UK.
In one of the first books of its kind, these women reveal some of the emotional upheavals and struggles that go hand-in-hand with moving away from their native ‘home’, but until now have remained largely untold.
The project emerged from the author’s own feelings of isolation during the Covid lockdown, her lack of belonging, which had been exacerbated as a result of Brexit. Carrie wanted to connect and encourage positive interactions and make people aware of the dangers of ‘toxic positivity’.
“Expats are sometimes viewed as courageous, uprooting ourselves from the country of our birth and one’s extended family. But we often struggle with people’s perceptions versus our own reality”. Carrie explains
Also available on Audible (listen to examples below).
“In one of the first books of its kind, these women reveal some of the emotional upheavals and struggles that go hand-in-hand with moving away from their native ‘home’, but until now have remained largely untold.”
“I’ve been living in Barcelona on a permanent basis since 2006. During this time, via work and social networks, I have met some truly extraordinary people, particularly women. The more I got to know these women, the more fascinated I became by their ‘back stories’, specifically about the challenges they had faced or are facing whilst living away from ‘home’.
The life of an expat is often coveted. We are sometimes viewed as courageous, uprooting ourselves from the security blanket of having one’s extended family nearby to face new adventures and experiences. #LivingTheDream. Expat life can also be terrifying, emotional, confusing and challenging. We are often targeted with a specific type of ‘positivity’ when people tell us how ‘lucky’ we are. So, when we experience anxiety, stress, insomnia, even depression caused by the likes of culture shock, loneliness, rootlessness, social exclusion and bureaucracy, we sometimes feel that we should not complain. These ten female writers reveal some of the emotional upheavals and struggles that go hand-in-hand with moving away from their native ‘home’, but until now have remained largely untold. #LivingTheDream exposes the reality behind the ‘veneer’ of those ‘idyllic’ instagram posts.”
Listen to an excerpt from Carrie’s chapter ‘Grief, Emotional bagagge & Belonging(s)’
Meet the otHEr storytellers
Listen to an excerpt from Adrienne’s story ‘Calling Time on Drinking Culture’
Adrienne Walder spent her formative years in London scaling the career ladder at notorious multi-national advertising agencies during the day and descending into London’s finest drinking establishments by night. After 10 years, she was looking for a quieter life and moved to Hamble, a sailing village on the South Coast, where she enjoyed a slightly slower paced life. After meeting her husband and following their unsuccessful quest to become parents, they swapped the muted streetlights of their sleepy Hampshire village for the omnipresent neon glow of Hong Kong in 2013. These days Adrienne works as an English teacher and is often found out on the waters around Hong Kong, accompanied by an ice cold soda water.
Listen to an excerpt from Annabel’s chapter ‘ Poms in Thongs: An Aussie Culture Shock’
Annabel Cotton is a former teacher and radio journalist from the UK now based in Australia. She moved to Sydney in 1998, where she continued her career working at the national broadcasters ABC and SBS. She and her British husband settled on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and went on to have three children; Josh, Jamie and Ella. After some time at home, she returned to the workforce as a history guide at the site of Australia’s first Quarantine Station before changing direction to work in the library service. She now lives in the seaside suburb of Manly with her husband Dan, three children, dog Luna and cat, Fats.
Listen to an excerpt from Avivit’s Chatper ‘Married Pus Four: A trail of 4 countries’
When she manages to carve out time from being a full-on mum, Avivit Delgoshen is a TV news producer, an amateur photographer, a choir singer, a cake baker and an aspiring gardener. She studied international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has worked for global media organisations in Israel and the UK. Her eclectic musical taste links her heritage in the Middle East with her years living in European capitals. Together with her husband and four kids they are settling down in south London, the latest but not the final stop in a journey to discover the oddities of raising a bicultural family in a multicultural world.
Listen to an excerpt from Deborah’s chapter ‘Exercise Caution in Your Business Affairs’
Deborah Gray is the Managing Director of Canela, an award winning public relations company with offices in Spain and Portugal. Originally from the UK, Deborah founded Canela in Barcelona in 2006 and, in defiance of the global recession, expanded operations to Madrid in 2008 and to Lisbon in 2010. She leads a team of over twenty communications consultants who manage PR campaigns for the European Commission, Dyson, Pokémon, Sony and other household names. In 2019, Canela was awarded the honour of the Best PR Agency in Spain and in June 2020 was ranked as the 4th Best PR Agency to Work for in Europe. She lives in the countryside near Barcelona with her partner and their two Anglo-Franco-Catalan children.
Listen to an excerpt from Elizabeth’s chapter ‘Two-dimensional Dreams Versus 3D reality: Friendships & Loneliness in Rural Italy’
Elizabeth Heath is an American-born writer, editor and mom. She mostly grew up in Florida, where she studied fine art, humanities and later, archaeology. Summer trips to Italy to work on archaeological digs led her to want to make a permanent move. In 2009, she traded traffic jams and strip malls for tractors and outdoor markets when she moved to a tiny hilltown near Orvieto, Italy and married a local son. Their daughter was born in 2011. Today, she writes about travel, life in Italy, health and wellness, all from her bucolic perch up on the hill. She does, however, encounter the occasional traffic jam—of a herd of passing sheep.
Listen to an excerpt from Jane’s chapter ‘Identity: Becoming Me (again)’
Jane Mitchell has lived outside of the UK for almost 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge and experience as a mother, teacher, writer and artist living as a British expat. She lived and worked in Cairo for 8 years before obtaining a PhD from The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on the Role of Women in Egyptian Films. Since 2003 she has been based in Catalonia, Spain. Jane is Associate Director of MumAbroad.com, an English-speaking platform for the international community living in Spain, Italy, France and Germany and is also an artisan quiltmaker with a passion for all things handmade. She lives with her three children in a village on the Maresme coast, just north of Barcelona City.
Listen to an excerpt from Morag’s chapter ‘Restlessness, Rootlessness & Resilience’
Morag Makey is Australian by birth, British by marriage and Kiwi by choice. She has taken her three passports to multiple countries, creating and collecting memories along the way. In 2018 she co-founded IB Pathways, empowering students, teachers and schools in the International Baccalaureate programme. She describes her work as “the perfect intersection of education, wellbeing and global citizenship”, three aspects that have defined her life so far. Morag is always ready for new adventures and prefers the challenge of the unknown to the predictability of the known, but she may have found in Barcelona, a place that gives her both and that she can finally call ‘home’.
Listen to an excerpt from ‘Bremain in Spain’: A Brexit Legacy’
Originally from Oxford, Sue Wilson lived in London and Cambridge, working in sales, management & training. She moved to Spain in 2007, initially to teach English as a foreign language. Sue became Chair of Bremain in Spain – a group campaigning against Brexit – shortly after the 2016 referendum. As a pro-EU activist, she has been involved in many rallies and events and has worked closely with politicians and campaigners in Westminster and Brussels. Sue was lead plaintiff in the ‘Wilson versus The Prime Minister’ (Theresa May) legal challenge, over the validity of the Brexit referendum. Sue lives in the Valencian Community with her husband and four cats, and although officially retired, campaigns full-time for the protection of British citizens’ rights across Spain and the EU.
Author Sue Wilson on Bremain in Spain – A Brexit Legacy on Talk Radio Europe 24.2.21:
Mia Weinberg interviews Carrie Frais on Radio Kanal Barcelona:
Jane Mitchell, Morag Makey and Deborah Gray chat to Mia Weinberg on Radio Kanal Barcelona:
Carrie Frais interviewed in Marbella’s Essential Magazine:
Featured in Globe Magazine: