the expat diaries | expat life and becoming more creative

For all of you new readers (heyyyy!), The Expat Diaries is a monthly link up that allows bloggers to share expat and travel stories. This link up is scheduled for the first Thursday of every month and the lovely Chelsea from Lost in Travels also hosts. It doesn’t matter if you want to share travel tips, photos, awkward moments, or horror stories (that would make for an interesting post, right?) — we would love to have you. Grab a button for your sidebar and link up below!

The next link up will take place on Thursday, March 6th and if you don’t show up, we’ll be really upset.

Even though we’ve been back in the States for a while now, I thank my lucky stars for the opportunity we had to live abroad in Scotland. Not only was our family able to travel to wonderful places all over Europe and Africa, but because I was unemployed, I became passionate about different hobbies which led to me becoming more creative.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. Sometimes when you’re used to having a desk job and a set schedule, it’s hard to let go and pursue new things.

So how did I evolve into this creative, blogging, picture-taking being, you ask? Here’s a timeline of events for your viewing pleasure.

Description of Photo

August 2011
“I can’t wait to quit my stupid job and move abroad to Scotland. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Yippee!”

September 2011
“Well, this apartment is really small… and moldy. Yeah, there’s a lot of black mold. I’m allergic to that. Oh well. We’re in Scotland!”

October 2011
“I hate this apartment and I hate this city. I have no friends here and there’s nothing to do. WHY did my husband make me move? I miss the Hill!” While crying in bed to Malcolm the Westie.

December 2011
“We’ve been abroad for a while now and I no longer want to throw myself out of the flat window. Cool! I should probably find some new hobbies or something… I know, I’ll start a blog next year!”

January 2012
“Blogging is weird and my mom is my only reader. Maybe if I had a nice camera people will find me!”

March 2012
“Blogging is still weird as shit but photography classes are a ton of fun! Maybe I’ll take photos of Members of Congress someday!”

Fast forward to today…
“Brandon I’m never going back to the Hill — I’d rather be eaten alive by cats. I’m going to be a full-time blogger, and a local photographer, and a free-lance writer for awesome websites, and write a dystopian novel based on my screwed up dreams, and foster dogs!”


What was the point of this post? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe to show you that life experiences really do shape you as an individual. Before becoming an expat I was perfectly content working in politics. I hated being alone, I panicked when I didn’t have a set schedule, and I had no clue what to do with my spare time. Seriously — when I first started working out of college, I would head to my office on the weekends for fun. Would I do that now? Hell no. I’m perfectly fine with all of these side jobs I have. ‘Cause creativity is more fulfilling than being eaten alive by cats.

If you’re interested in co-hosting this link up, fill out the Google Doc form here.


Filed Under: Expat17 Comments
  • Beka Johnson

    Don’t you love how life changes us? I went from working full time to being a house wife in a small city! =) Such a big change but so good.

    What photography school did you attend? Was it online?

    • Postcards from Rachel

      I took a couple of photography classes (you can find them on Groupon and at local photography shops) and then taught myself the rest. The most important thing is to practice on your own. I’d looove to go to photography school but they’re so expensive! At least the one in Boston is.

      • Beka Johnson

        Thanks for that info. I have taken a class on-line too and I also read tutorials like crazy! I bought Lightroom 5 and am going to take an on-line class for that too.

        I can’t imagine the price of photography school. I’ve heard they are really expensive too plus you have to buy a lot more gear.

  • Jamie | ink + adventure

    I think my favorite part of moving abroad is not having to work [in the traditional sense, at least.] my job in the states was slowly killing me, and now I’m free to pursue my creative passions. the thought of having to go back and work a 9 to 5 office job gives me hives…

    • Postcards from Rachel

      This is exactly how I feel. I can’t imagine having to sit at a desk all day!

  • Amanda

    I third Jamie’s comment! Although that being said, since I work in the theatre anyways I still would have had a creative job in America- but I do fee there are more opportunities for expats in general! x

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe

    I don’t know what I will do if we ever have to move bak to the US and I have to go to work! I’ll manage, but man, I love life as an expat, explorer, travel lover!

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  • Chelsea

    Haha I loved reading that timeline!

  • Kayli Schattner

    This made me smile!! I love that you’re looking for freelance work + wanting to blog fulltime…my absolute dream!!

  • Kyom Aman

    The first couple of months in your timeline sound so much like mine; I ended up really loving London… Now that am back home, I think in a creative way but I am looking for work in my profession, still figuring things out.. thanks for sharing Rachel!

  • Julie

    My first link up party! Your inner dialogue story sounds so familiar! I’m in my 6th month of being a “stay at home wife” yet I do have private music students in the afternoons. I get so bored during the day and it is a struggle to be productive!

  • Anna

    You made me laugh out loud! And yes even though my path hasn’t exactly been like that there have been very similar moments and I’m in the same current state of wanting to be a full-time freelance writer, blogger, designer of things than wanting to go back to working for a big corporate beast. Love this post, whatever the point of it was ;)

  • Megan C. Stroup

    Your present sounds pretty great haha.

  • Bonnie Rose

    I love how being in a new place gives us a new type of creative side…it really is our surrounding that can help us grow as artists.

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