i’m a work in progress

Work in Progress

A few days ago, I had the earth shattering realization that I’m nearing the age of thirty and still have no clear idea of the direction I want my life to go in. I always figured that after college graduation my life would be cut and dry but that hasn’t been the case. I’d continue to work on the Hill and live in my small studio apartment on Connecticut Avenue until I could afford something bigger. Boyfriends would come and go but I’d most likely have a loyal dog that would greet me after a long day at the office. I’d go to happy hours after work and Nats baseball games on the weekends, and everything would be simple. But simple is boring, isn’t it? Then I met my husband, realized the work wasn’t the most important thing in my life, and quit my job to move abroad to Scotland. […]

       
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goodbye expat diaries

Today we’re saying goodbye to The Expat Diaries for good and instead of giving a long speech like I did last month, I’m going to let you visit my host and co-hosts. These are some of the most interesting bloggers I’ve ever “met” so please say hello to Morgan, Julie, Kate, and Elizabeth. And be sure to add your own blog URLs below. Thanks for joining us each month!

       
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12 things only former expats will understand (and travel lovers, too)

12 Things Only Former Expats Will Understand

I’ve found that former expats have a special bond because we’ve all gone through similar life experiences. Whether it’s discussing our amazing ability to pack a suitcase at the speed of lightning, expat woes that involve searching high and low for certain ingredients in foreign grocery stores (canned pumpkin around Thanksgiving time, anyone?), or getting way too excited for care packages filled with Goldfish crackers, Oreos and weirdly flavored Pop-Tarts, there are certain things only expats and former expats will understand — and here’s a list you can probably relate to. 1. Your storage unit triggers violent panic attacks. Saving everything seemed like a good idea before you moved abroad, but now that you’re back in your own country, you want to burn this mother down. All of that toothpaste, mouthwash, makeup, and medicine you forced your spouse to pack away in boxes because you didn’t want to waste a […]

       
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the expat diaries | top travel posts

Welcome to the Expat Diaries! Before we start, I want to thank all of you for linking up with us every month. Because of your participation and support, Chelsea and I have been able to meet some of the most amazing women and men living all over the world. We’ve been able to share embarrassing expat stories (man, I love those posts), travel tips, gorgeous photography, and I’ve loved every moment of it. Since the link-up is coming to an end very soon, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite travel posts with you all. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane! P.S. We’re doing one more link-up next month since I had so many bloggers sign up to co-host and I didn’t want to disappoint. The LAST Expat Diaries will be Thursday, May 1. Seriously, guys. This will be the last one. My Top Travel Posts: […]

       
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the expat diaries | what they don’t tell you before moving abroad

This blog post originally appeared on Living in Another Language. Go ahead… visit her blog. You won’t be disappointed. :) If you’re new to my website, let me give a quick explanation as to why I created this expat link-up. Because I started my travel and lifestyle blog while living abroad in Scotland, and because we had been moving around every 6 months for my husband’s job, I wanted to connect with other women (and men) in the same situation. This lifestyle can be challenging at times so it’s incredibly important to find a support system. I’ve laughed, cried, and vented to the bloggers I’ve met because of The Expat Diaries,  and built extremely close friendships. And that’s why this announcement is difficult for me… next month will be the last Expat Diaries. TEARS! Since I’ve settled down in Northern Virginia and Chelsea is back in the States planning an RV trip […]

       
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how to be an awkward american abroad

I thought it would be amusing to revisit my time abroad in Scotland and discuss how awkward I was. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I can be pretty damn awkward. So if you’re planning a move to the UK in the near future, I can give you some helpful tips on how to feel really weird. Without further ado… How to be an awkward American abroad: + Hold up the grocery line with your American swipe credit card. Since everyone else has quick and efficient credit cards with a chip and pin, the store clerk will be utterly lost when it’s your turn to pay. He’ll try all of the buttons on the cash register and it may or may not work. Today is not your day so you get turned away and have to put all of your groceries back, completely humiliated. Make a mental note to bring […]

       
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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, […]

       
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six questions | your questions answered in vlog format

I was recently featured on Six Questions and readers were given a chance to ask me anything. There were 19 questions total and I answered six regarding travel, moving around for B’s careers, my blog, and my favorite photography equipment. I had so much fun recording these videos! …. even though I cringed while watching them a few minutes ago. ;) As promised, here are the six short videos for your viewing pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to submit questions and votes! And a special thanks to Six Questions for getting me over my fear of vlogs. ;)

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Lifestyle, Vlog18 Comments

the expat diaries

Chelsea is currently on a world adventure and I’m taking a break from The Expat Diaries this month, but feel free to add your posts below. Everything will be back to normal on Thursday, February 6th, but for now, I can’t wait to read all of your posts. And if you need any light reading, you can find my past expat posts here. Happy New Year, expat and travel bloggers! P.S. Email me if you’d like to be a co-host in the future! You don’t have to do much and it’s a great way to network with other bloggers in your niche.

       
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the expat diaries | how to go broke while traveling

Happy December and welcome to another installment of The Expat Diaries! I’m excited for this one because the lovely Betsy Transatlantically is co-hosting and she has a special guest on her blog. Be sure to check it out. :) Most of you probably know that I was having issues with my website. If you could replace your current Expat Diaries button with the one on my sidebar, I’d appreciate it so much. And now for the good stuff. I’m going to be talking about how to go broke while traveling because I’m certain my family has made every mistake in the book. Hopefully by reading this post, you’ll save money on your next vacation. You can go broke by… 1. Forgetting to print your boarding pass If you decide to purchase seats on a discount airline, make sure you print the boarding pass at home. Sometimes having an airline print […]

       
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how travel has changed me

I’m so grateful for everything we have experienced these past couple of years and I truly believe this situation has made me a better person. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d live abroad and continue to move around every 6 months. And never did I think I’d be married to a man interested in exploring the world with me. When you start traveling and experiencing wonderful, life-changing things, you realize the possibilities are endless. My family can live anywhere and we can do anything — we just have to figure out how! If you’re new to this blog, you might be wondering why we moved in the first place. You can read the entire story here, but long story short, my husband was offered an assignment in Aberdeen, Scotland so I quit my job and we moved right after our wedding. We lived in Scotland for a […]

       
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but what do you do all day?

Before I became a trailing spouse, I had a career. I worked hard in college and received a degree in political science and a minor in criminal justice. I interned with the Election Commission and a Member of Congress, and eventually moved to DC on my own. Then, at a young age, I was a permanent staff member in two different Members’ offices. I was pretty damn proud of myself and no one hassled me because I was independent. I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that means? (p.s. the only reason I know how to spell “independent” is because of that tacky song). Going from working a lot in DC to not working at all in Scotland was a huge shock, and do you know what made it even worse? People asking me the same question every single week: “But what do you DO all day?” Bitch, I’m writing posts for my […]

       
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the expat diaries | adventures with corporate housing

Corporate Housing Adventures

Welcome to another installment of The Expat Diaries. Link up your travel and expat stories below and be sure to visit other bloggers. The next link up will take place on Thursday, December 5th. ********** Today I’m going to discuss our adventures with corporate housing. Why? Because living in different places all over the globe is hilarious… and also a pain in the ass. I’m sure other expats can relate when I say that we’ve seen (and heard) everything. We’ve now been living out of our suitcases for the past couple of years and here are just a few of the funny situations we’ve encountered. Scotland When we first moved to Scotland, University students were flooding the city so it was difficult to find a flat. Therefore we lived in a small hotel room for a couple of weeks while we tried to find something to rent. Like I mentioned […]

       
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the expat diaries | where do i belong?

ExpatDiaries

The Expat Diaries is back and hey, we have a shiny new button! If you’d like to replace the old one on your blog, feel free to grab it from my sidebar. Now add your travel/expat stories and meet new bloggers! The next link-up will take place on November 7th. Some of you may have wondered why I started an expat link-up after moving back to the States. And maybe why I continue to host it every month even though I’ve been back for an entire year (man, has time flown by). Well, for one, moving abroad again in the near future is always a possibility that my husband and I have discussed many times. But honestly, I host the link-up for other reasons. For support. Maybe this makes me selfish but regardless, the expat community has helped me a lot. Just trying to pet a sheep. Don’t mind me. Yesterday […]

       
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the expat diaries | tips for moving a pet abroad

Welcome to another installment of The Expat Diaries, a place to share expat stories, adventures and travel tips with others! Link up your posts and be sure to visit a few bloggers. For those of you who are new, this blog hop takes place on the first Thursday of each month. The next link-up is scheduled on October 3rd. Today I’m going to be discussing tips for moving a pet abroad. Most of you already know that we got our beloved Westie, Malcolm in Scotland and moved him to the United States after our year abroad. I often get questions about our two dogs and what we’ll do with them if we take another assignment out of the country, and the answer is: we’ll take them with us. Yes, the experience can be stressful for all parties involved (although I really believe it was more stressful for me than it was for Malcolm […]

       
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Filed Under: Dogs, Expat, Travel16 Comments

how moving abroad impacted my new marriage

I originally wrote this guest post for Bonnie’s ‘Love Week’ while she renewed her vows in Wales and figured I should reblog it a month later since it will give everyone a better understanding on our timeline before moving abroad. It’s important to me to discuss how moving abroad impacted my new marriage and what I’ve learned from the experience because it’s something I never thought about before deciding on this lifestyle. ++++++++++ B and I met at a happy hour in Washington, DC while he was working in finance and I was working on the Hill. Okay, okay… so it wasn’t exactly a happy hour because it was late and I was a little really tipsy, but that sounds better than saying we met at a bar, right? Right. Anyway, things obviously worked out because one year later we were engaged to be married. While I was trying to plan […]

       
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Filed Under: Expat, Lifestyle, Marriage44 Comments

the expat diaries | question and answer session

Welcome to another installment of The Expat Diaries. Can you believe it’s already August? This year is flying by and we’re already on the 5th month of this little project. Both Chelsea and I enjoy reading all of your travel and expat adventures, and we couldn’t have kept this blog hop going without the support of our favorite bloggers. Thank you, thank you! Now… add your posts below and be sure to visit a couple of blogs! The next link-up will take place on September 5th. ********** I thought it would be fun to have Brandon ask me questions about travel and being an expat. Then I figured I should do the same for him. I hope you all enjoy our expat question and answer session! Questions for Her What do you remember about our first day in Scotland? Well, I know we were completely jet-lagged and out of it, and we had […]

       
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the expat diaries | snapshots of aberdeen, scotland

Thank you for linking up with The Expat Diaries. Add your expat and travel posts below and be sure to visit other blogs! The next link-up will take place on August 1st. This post is going to be short and sweet because I’d like the photos to do all the talking. I was planning to write-up another post full of tips and tricks regarding expat life and travel, but then I realized… I haven’t even talked about Aberdeen yet! For those of you who might not be familiar with this blog, my husband and I lived abroad in Scotland for a year. The experience was wonderful and difficult at the same time, and most definitely the best decision we’ve ever made as a couple. We had the opportunity to explore the Scottish countryside and travel all over Europe, and of course, we enjoyed our little Aberdeen. Our little townhouse with the […]

       
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Filed Under: Aberdeen, Expat, Scotland, Travel17 Comments

5 tips for traveling on budget european airlines

5 tips for traveling on european budget airlines

Today I’m going to talk about the best part of being an expat… the ability to travel! While we were living in Scotland, we tried to take as many weekend trips as possible and found that we were able to stretch our budget if we planned ahead and compared discount airlines. Here are a few money-saving tips we learned along the way while traveling on easyJet, Jet2.com and Ryanair. 5 tips for traveling on budget European airlines: 1. PRINT BOARDING PASS BEFORE GOING TO THE AIRPORT While easyJet won’t hit you with a fee for printing them at the airport, Ryanair and Jet2.com will and it won’t be cheap. Jet2.com has a fee of around 17.50 GBP or 23 EUR, while Ryanair will charge 70 GBP/EUR. That charge alone could sky rocket the price of your plane ticket. Not only will you save money by printing your pass at home, you’ll […]

       
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the expat diaries | tips for staying sane abroad

Welcome to the second installment of The Expat Diaries. Add your expat/travel stories below and be sure to visit other bloggers. Thank you for joining us! The next link-up will take place on June 6th. Because I was so excited to move to the UK, I never really thought about what I’d be doing there to pass the time. I already knew I wouldn’t be able to work with the specific visa I had, and figured that I’d just roam around Aberdeen every day, soaking up the culture of the city. Even though I had great intentions, I didn’t explore the city every day and sometimes I even felt bored and sad. After all, being away from friends and family is tough and when you throw in a whole new country, the outcome could be disastrous. I eventually figured things out, but you can learn from my mistakes and be prepared […]

       
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the expat diaries | the initial move

Welcome to the first installment of The Expat Diaries. I’m very grateful for all of the positive feedback Chelsea and I received last week regarding the series, and I cannot wait to read about everyone’s experiences abroad! This link-up is for past, present and future expats, and anyone who’s interested in traveling the world. You can write about travel tips, your favorite vacation spot, the country you’re currently residing in, or your experiences with moving abroad. Please add your posts below and visit other bloggers. And if you would like, you can grab our button or link back to us, too! Today I’ll be discussing the initial move to the UK and how we prepared. My husband and I decided to move abroad while we were both working and living in Washington, DC. A few months before our August 2011 wedding, B was offered a 6 month field assignment in […]

       
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Filed Under: Aberdeen, Expat, Scotland26 Comments

introducing: the expat diaries

…Building a Community of Expats Hi, everyone! I am very excited to announce a new blog series for past, present and future expats. It’s been in the works for a while now and we’re finally making it happen. And thanks to Lisette from Northern Belle Diaries, my new project even has a beautiful travel-themed button. She’s the best! Travel is near and dear to my heart and living abroad is something B and I are trying to do once again in a few years so why not write about it? This link-up isn’t about gaining followers on GFC, Bloglovin’ or Twitter… it’s about building a community of expats and people who might be considering a big move abroad. I’d love for fellow bloggers to link up their expat experiences with us — Why did you decide to move? How did you prepare? Was obtaining a visa difficult? — And other stories that could […]

       
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Filed Under: Expat19 Comments