Moving Overseas for Love

The Expatability Chat Podcast

Did you move abroad for love?

Long distance love stories for Valentine’s Day (2023)!

Falling in love with someone while travelling or living in another country can be a magical experience. The thrill of adventure combined with the excitement of a new relationship can create memories that last a lifetime, and a relationship built on a mutual adventurous spirit.

People move overseas for many, many reasons. Most move for a better life; however that may look for them.

Some move abroad to study. Some move abroad to work. And sometimes those people end up falling in love – either with the country, or a person they meet there. 

Perhaps your partner has a career move abroad and you go with them. This is also moving for love, because you may have to sacrifice quite a bit - giving up your own career for example. This is the trailing spouse / accompanying partner story, and is mine – kind of… yes, I’ll share my own love story here too, of course!

There are several variations on this theme as we’ll see in this episode of a compilation of love stories.

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Welcome aboard the Expatability Chat Podcast, helping expat parents navigate moving and living overseas with their families. With Carole Hallett Mobbs, expat life mentor and consultant and founder of I'm Carole, your resident expat expert, and I'm here to help you live the expat life you dream about and deserve. If you're planning a move abroad, or if you're already living your expat life.

Or even if you're planning a move back home, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I'll offer you experienced, insight, sensible advice and practical information, along with some sugar free, no bullshit tips and tricks to help you on your way so that you and your children can live your expat experience to the full. There are so many layers to this expat life that you need to know about, but often you don't know what you need to know. And that's what I aim to help you with, because knowledge is power and I want you to have the best expat experience you possibly can. So let's get straight into today's episode.

Hi. I made an impromptu decision, as usual, to talk about moving overseas to love. I thought it would be a fun topic to explore and I've shifted my usual go live date from a Wednesday to today just so that we can get the love stories on Valentine's Day. And this is the first episode I've recorded since my operation, so let's see if I still have my ASMR voice. As somebody kindly said a while back. Actually, I found talking has been ridiculously exhausting since the Op. So when I've had a week of clients, podcast, interviews, meetings, chats with my mom and so on, as I did last week, it took me the entire weekend of doing absolutely nothing in order to recover. Thank goodness I decided to go with a monthly podcast episode format before all this happened. That's all I can say. Anyway, happy Valentine's Day. I do hope that you're spending this day as you wish and that your romance is the kind that suits you. Because, of course, not everybody is the romantic kind. That would be me. And not everybody wants to spend Valentine's Day in a sea of pink and roses and love hearts and goodness knows what else.

But that's not why I'm here. I'm here to talk about love stories and the kind of love stories that take you to another country. People move overseas for many, many reasons. As we well know, most move for a better life. However that may look. For them, that better life may look like an easier life. A lower cost of living, for example. A safer environment, more sunshine, more opportunities. Sometimes people look to escape their current life and start over somewhere else. Some move abroad to study. Some move abroad to work. And sometimes these people end up falling in love. Oh, they may fall in love with a country or a person and never leave. And these are probably the most successful reasons to move abroad. And of course, there are several combinations of this concept, as we'll see in a moment when we hear other people's stories. For example, you may fall in love with somebody from another country, you move countries to be with them, become fluent in a brand new language so that you can actually talk to them, because that always helps. And you can integrate fully into the community. Or you may move overseas for work, meet somebody local over there and end up staying.

Or you both move to their country. Or to another one. As I say, lots and lots of variations on a theme. Or perhaps your partner has a career, move overseas and you go with them. Again, this is moving for love, because you may have to sacrifice quite a bit, giving up your own career. For example, this is the trading space, the accompanying partner's story. And this is mine, kind of. So let me start with my overseas love story. Way back in the dark mists of time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and by that I mean before social media was invented, I had a rather fun job in IT. I was working as an IT trainer and support consultant on a freelance basis and I was lucky enough to score a contract traveling the world, moving all the stuff onto a brand new computer system. I started off doing this training in their London base, eager to get onto the overseas circuit. Finally, the opportunity arose and I headed off to my first assignment, which was in Helsinki in Finland. There followed an amazing few weeks of work in an incredibly beautiful country. Lots of exploring, lots of adventures, a hell of a lot of fun.

The schedule for the upcoming work, my destinations included Portugal, Mozambique and somewhere else I can't actually recall right now. However, the project leader in Finland decided that she wanted me to join her on the big important assignment to Hong Kong. So the boss reject everything and off we went. I need to add a little bit in here. There were only about ten days between getting home from Finland and heading off to Hong Kong. And for most of that, my project leader was dealing with her own unexpected love story. And somehow we ended up back in Helsinki between gigs. Now, why am I telling you this bit? Well, because we planned our arrival back at Heathrow from this impromptu Helsinki gig, just in time to catch the flight to Hong Kong. However, that flight was cancelled and we ended up in the most revolting, sleazy hotel you have ever seen. We didn't sleep much because it was pretty scary and there was a lot of stuff going on, so we didn't sleep much. But we did do a lot of drinking, made it back to Heathrow in time to catch that flight to Hong Kong. I cannot begin to explain just how much was going on at that time, as it's not my story to tell, but it was very stressy, very angsty, very exciting and rather alcohol filled, let's be frank.

Anyway, I arrived in Hong Kong and with these projects, it was generally a case of dropping the suitcases off at the hotel and then going straight into work. So the way the project was being rolled out was a UK based team of installers, technicians and the like. They'd go on to the premises first and put in all the new hardware, the servers, the PCs, the printers, all the associated cabling and all that stuff. Then they'd install the software and configure it to a certain point. Once that was done, the other trainers and I would swoop in to finalise all the programmes, sort out the front end configurations and then set up the training room, training materials and timetables by me, I can still remember, and that's nearly 25 years ago. However, I can't quite remember first meeting my husband. Oops, sorry. This is where my personal memory gets a bit vague due to the aforementioned adrenaline, stress, alcohol, jet lag and tiredness. So I asked my husband what happened. We both agreed that he popped up from under a desk. So as I was being shown around, the office, went into one of the rooms and, as I say, he popped up from under a desk.

For him, that was the moment for me. It took another couple of days because I wasn't on the same planet as the rest of the world at that point. Gosh.

Long story short, I can properly remember seeing him in the bar on the following Friday, and my first thought was, that's the one. Bit corny, but it's true. It turned out that he'd been in Helsinki as well, but as that office was smaller than Hong Kong, they'd got it all done and left before we even arrived. So I just missed him there. And there was a fair amount of collaboration between the two teams, the installers and the trainers, and lots of socialising when we had the time, and then it was time for him to leave for his next assignment, so we said our goodbyes. That same night, I was woken by him, which was really, really confusing. He'd returned to Hong Kong. What a shock. Sadly, no, it wasn't a romantic thing. His plane had actually gone bang mid flight. I'm serious. I think one of the engines had exploded. Thankfully, they were able to turn the plane around and land safely. And as he said to me at the weekend when we were talking about this, that sealed the deal, really. So, yeah, the universe stuck its nose in. A bit dramatic, frankly, but all's well that ends well.

Anyway, I had a bit of a break and went backpacking solo down through Thailand and Malaysia, ending up at the opening of the Sepang F-One circuit in Kuala Lumpur before heading home and picking up the same contract for the new year. The trips in my schedule included places such as Leon in France, Vienna, Florence, the Solomon Islands, the US. And more. Such fun. Again, he would be doing his installation trips not always to the same places, but I'd follow after to finish off and train the staff. Sometimes we would be in the same cities or perhaps the same country, and we could meet up somewhere. And so, as I said to somebody during a podcast interview last week, I guess I was trailing him around the world before I even became an official trailing spouse. Right, enough about me onto some other love stories. As I said, I just had the idea to do this subject a couple of weeks ago, so I reached out on my socials to see if anyone had love stories that they'd like to share. And so here they are. Let's start with this brave young thing, Rebecca, because it makes me laugh.

Rebecca says, "I was 16 when I went on a French exchange trip after my GCSEs with a boy. We spent five weeks together and, well, hormones. We had a long distance relationship until I moved to Paris with no pair after my A levels. Due to those hormones and my age, I turned down excellent university offers for him and a new life in Paris. I dumped him after three weeks because the Blokes in the local pub were far more fun." I love that. Perhaps not quite as romantic as you may have been hoping for.

This one, too, makes me laugh, as I can actually nod along with this tale from Jane. "I didn't move overseas for anyone, but I did move overseas away from some men a few times. Not because I wanted to separate, but because I wanted to move, and they had other ideas, so I did it anyway." I love this strength. Well done, Jane. Continuing with the exchange student scene, Tatyana says, "I met a French exchange student my first year of college. I thought I'd end up with a German. We had a long distance relationship for two and a half years before I moved to Paris for a few years.

I have to say, it was very impactful." Those French exchange students have a lot to answer for, don't they? I bet your mind's going back to those heady days, isn't it? Okay, let's go for some more romantic love stories. Now, this one's from Amy. "I met my husband when we worked together at a summer camp in Los Angeles. I was in college at the time. We dated long distance for two and a half years. This was in the preface time WhatsApp years? And then I moved from Cork Island to LA. After I graduated. Fast forward a decade or so. We've lived in two States, and most recently, we moved back to Ireland for a bit of an adventure. Oh, and we've also amassed two kids and a dog along the way". That's a nice one. This one's wonderful as well. From Karen. Karen says "I grew up in the US and I met my British husband at age 20 when I was doing a semester in the UK. During uni, we dated and then of course, I went back home to the States. We stayed in touch for many years by letter and then by email and met back up over a decade later when I was transiting through London.

At the time, I was living in Rome and had a long layover at Heathrow. He took the day off work to hang out with me. We hadn't seen each other in person for over a decade. There was still a spark and we started a long distance relationship between Rome and London. Long story short, we ended up getting married in Vegas and then I moved to London from Rome. I've been in London for 21 years now and we're still married." Kate said a lovely story as well. "I found my love in England, but then we moved abroad so that I could learn French to be able to speak with his family. We were set up by mutual friends. It was a whirlwind romance. Engaged within five months and married 15 months after meeting moved to France when pregnant with my first child. One particularly romantic thing. My future mother in law left a voice message for me with the French version of my wedding values for me to practise and to surprise him with in the English language church service. This was after me saying many times that I couldn't do them in French as I wasn't confident to speak in French in front of others, and definitely not at a huge congregation of my new French family and acquaintances that I would be meeting for the very first time at our wedding."

That's dedication. That's love. I like that. This one from Sarah. "I didn't move for love as such, but I did meet my husband while we were both expats in Dubai. I moved there in 1999 and was working for Emirates Airlines and then I retrained as a coach. I had relationships before my husband came along and flying for a career meant that I had a couple of long distance relationships as well as those in Dubai. Then in January 2009, I met my now husband while he was very new in Dubai. We're both from the UK, but from different parts of the country and with different cultural backgrounds. We got married and had our daughter while still in Dubai. The most stressful thing by far for our relationship was coming home to the UK in 2017, a place we hadn't ever lived in together." And this one from Jackie. "I was doing my OE" (now. I had to ask her what OE means. It means overseas experience. It's an essential part of being a 20 something Kiwi or Aussie.) Yeah. Jackie is from New Zealand. So "I was doing my OE and I was hanging around with mainly Aussie's and other Kiwis, but I decided that I should make an effort to meet some English people, not necessarily for romance, I just wanted to meet some in a non work capacity.

So I joined and went to dinner with a few. But we didn't gel, really. And then I got a message from S. He'd actually been to New Zealand, so we could chat about that. And the first movie we saw together was 'The Thomas Crown Affair'. The second was the 'South Park movie' and the rest is history. We met at the end of September 1999, moved in together in the first week of February 2000, got engaged two weeks later. We married five months later, and now here we are with four kids, three dogs, three cats and three rats." That's one hell of a family, aren't they wonderful stories?

Falling in love with someone while travelling or living in another country can be a magical experience. It's more than a holiday romance. The thrill of adventure combined with the excitement of a new relationship can create memories that last a lifetime. But what happens when you fall in love with someone from a different country? What are the challenges and the opportunities that come with this kind of relationship? One of the biggest challenges is distance. Long distance relationships are never easy, but when you are separated by oceans and time zones, it can be especially difficult.

Maintaining such a relationship requires effort, commitment and constant communication. But take it from me, it is immensely rewarding. And in the days of computers now it is so, so much easier. Another challenge can be cultural differences. Falling in love with someone from a different culture can be an opportunity to learn new customs, new traditions and new ways of life. The key is to be open minded and respectful of each other's differences. Interestingly, both Sarah and I met people from our own country overseas, which does, I think, make it a little bit easier. One of the biggest opportunities of falling in love with someone from a different country is the chance to experience a new culture and travel to new places. This can broaden your horizons, broaden your understanding of the world and create memories that will last a lifetime. And the biggest opportunity is simply falling in love. Anyway, I'm not here to do any lecturing on being careful and doing your research and all that. Not this time, not in this episode. I'm going to leave the last word to Tara, who, when answering my question, did you move overseas for love? Simply said, "I did, and it was the best decision I ever made."

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody. I'll talk to you again soon.

As ever. Thank you so much for being here with me today. I hope you found this episode useful and interesting. If you found this podcast helpful, I'd be really grateful. If you could subscribe share and give me a review. It really does help other people who may need to know about this stuff to find it, and I really, really do appreciate it. In the show notes that accompany this episode, you'll find information about my websites, about my downloads, I've got lists, I've got eBooks, I've got master classes, all sorts. And these will help you with every step of your expatting journey. You'll also find details about how you can work with me, one to one, if you wish, so that you can get personal advice tailored for your life and your move abroad. Because everybody is different. And of course, you can find me on your favourite social media. I've got a presence on most of them. Tag me, message me, tell your friends about me, and I look forward to learning more about you and your move overseas. Please do get in touch. Please check out for more free information and resources.

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