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I'll help you navigate the challenges of moving and living overseas
Carole Hallett Mobbs
I'll help you navigate the challenges of moving and living overseas
Hello there! My name is Carole Hallett Mobbs and I'm your Expat Expert.
We first moved abroad in 2006 and survived that, and every subsequent relocation, by winging it and learning the hard way. I want you to learn the easy way! It’s much less stressful and you get much far more out of your life abroad if you know what to expect.
Sugar-coating expat life doesn’t do anyone any favours at all. Yes, it's an incredible and fabulous lifestyle, it really is. But I have seen too many bitterly disappointed people who just can't hack it as their expectations were coloured by the glossy experiences shared by many.
Living abroad is not always as easy as many other expat websites and blogs may lead you to believe. I’m not saying it’s always hard, either, it’s not. It just may not be what quite you expect. Each and every person is different; they need different things in life; they have different hopes, dreams and a cookie-cutter life just does not exist. Add the tricky aspects of living overseas into this individual mix of family, and you may find you feel short-changed.
There can be problems specific to this overseas life and it’s better to go into your relocation with your eyes open. I'll be up-front and honest with you, always. And I’ll share my insight with you to help you minimise potential issues.
I am unique, practical, full of real-life experience (so many experiences!) and several suitcases full of common-sense. I've done a lot of living...
My natural problem solving abilities, independence and self-sufficiency will help you triumph at this busy, life-changing time.
I can help you build your foundation for a successful life abroad, so that your expat life is your best time.
But I'd better stick with what's relevant here. I'm happy to talk about other stuff if you ask nicely! But there's no room for my life story here.
I'm British, with a teenage daughter, a Japanese Shiba Inu (dog), and two South African born cats. Oh, and a husband.
Until February 2018 I was a ‘trailing spouse’; following my husband wherever his job took him. And no, I don’t like that title, but I’m not tremendously bothered by semantics in this instance.
As a family, we have lived overseas for almost 12 years. Our recent move 'back home' has been the most difficult. Everyone said it would be. Did I listen? Nope! Silly me.
Our first expatriation, late in 2006, was to the amazing city of Tokyo, Japan. What an incredible start to expat life! Daughter was just 5 years old when we left the UK and her entire education has been overseas. As Husband's postings are generally for around 4 years or so, we were all set to leave in 2011 when the big Japanese earthquake hit. Our departure was fraught with problems and we all left a large part of our souls in Japan.
From Tokyo we moved to Berlin, Germany, which was a huge change of scene and very different experience. Our stay there was cut a bit shorter than normal. Husband was offered an unexpected job in Pretoria, South Africa, so off we went at short notice after just a couple of years in Germany.
South Africa was amazing. As an avid, but very amateur, naturalist, Africa was a dream come true for me and I will remember my time there forever. Day-to-day life was quite tricky. Not in the sense of hardships that others experience in more developing countries, but it's not an easy place for a teenager who needs independence.
Then Husband's office realised we hadn't actually been back in the UK for all that time and recalled him at the end of his posting. No more overseas postings for us.
My first experience as a 'trailing spouse' was actually within the UK. Shortly after I met my soon-to-be husband, I left London, where I had been working in the crazy world of IT for several years. At that point, it didn't matter where I was based, as long as I could get to an airport or London. His job had an actual base so it made sense to move to that area. All was well for a few months - exhausting commute for me, but do-able. Then I fell pregnant and could no longer fly off all over the world for my work.
That was a bit of a shock to the system! I'd never not worked before. Also, I had been self-employed since 1994, so the thought of working for someone else, rather than independently, did not appeal. This self-sufficiency has been a huge bonus throughout my life and especially while living overseas.
So I reinvented myself and became a writer and publisher. Just as my magazine was getting a foot-hold, our relocation to Tokyo came up. I sold my business and worked remotely in Tokyo as a writer and web-master for a while. I found myself literally working all around the clock to take the time difference into effect, so, ultimately, that didn't work out. Not with a young child and a new life to experience as well.
I reinvented myself again - I'm getting good at this! And started a lovely, successful business for children that relied on the incredible Japanese postal service. However, when we moved to Germany, I discovered that the postage rates were too high, and the post office was too far away, so had to stop that business as well. Moving around the world plays havoc with any career! And you can't expect to simply walk into any job in a new country.
Once the trauma of moving from Japan to Germany wore off a little I had a brainwave. Certain information about moving overseas that I needed for each move simply wasn't available online, and so ExpatChild.com was born in 2012. It became successful unexpectedly quickly.
Since ExpatChild was established, it’s become the go-to place for many thousands of expat families looking for expert, practical advice on all aspects of moving and living overseas with your family. It’s filled to the brim with information. And that’s where one of the big expatting problems arise – there’s just too much information ‘out there’. And yes, I include my own website in that.
It’s not personalised enough to help YOU. You need the right information, advice and approach for YOU. I’m a huge fan of individuality and don’t believe one piece of advice fits all. I recognise that everyone is different, with diverse needs, wants and attitudes.
Therefore, I’ve created The Expatability Club to provide you with the support and advice I wish I’d had available when taking those first steps into expat life.
I feel it’s important to let you know right now that I’m not a professional coach or a counsellor. There are no letters after my name. I was educated in the School of Hard Knocks and the University of Life. My attitude is instinctive and caring.
Advising and teaching is something that comes naturally to me and both have been strong features my careers in the past, along with problem solving. But I do not call myself a coach or a counsellor. If you need traditional mindset coaching, cross-cultural training, transitional counselling or any combination of those words, you may be better off elsewhere.
If you want an instinctive, genuine, practical approach, with someone who can give you real life insights – warts and all – on all things expat (and life), please join me in The Expatability Club.
I have got to be honest and upfront, it's in my nature and I don't want you signing up for something that you won't find here.
Also, following some recent questions, I also need to state in advance that I don't have individual country guides and insider information on where the best place to buy a home in specific cities. I'd love to help you find the nicest street in Stockholm, for example, but I can't. I may have lived a lot of life but I haven't had chance to live everywhere in the world!
However, you never know what may transpire in The Expatability Club in the future, and there may well be other members who can help you out. But it's not a service I can offer right now.
If you have any questions please get in touch.
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I'm not a huge fan of sending unnecessary emails so your inbox will not be filled with stuff from me. When I do send you something, it will be because I genuinely have something to share :-)
And I most definitely will never share your details with anyone else. Yuk.