Wanderwoman Diaries: Thriving Through Love
Hmmm, where I was born, spent my childhood or most of my adult life? :) Born in the Philippines, childhood in England but most of my adult life was spent in the USA.
How many countries have you lived in?
How many countries have you visited?
What brought you to your current country?
My husbands career
What advice would you give other women who move for their husband's career?
This is such an important topic that resonates with a lot of expats and I’m glad we are talking about it.
If a fellow trailing spouse is struggling, my best advice to him or her is;
Research as much as possible on the topic with your spouse and together discuss ways to mitigate potential (or current) issues. When feelings of isolation, loss of identity, loneliness, etc. start to rise. Take action and communicate with your spouse.
Reach out to other expats, friends and family and let them know how you are feeling. If possible, ask friends/ family to meet up (coffee or lunch). Sometimes, it’s the sense of connection that can really help. Another great resource are Expat Facebook Groups (which can act as fairy godmothers). Most trailing expats will identify, empathize and can help with the obstacles. l find expat friends are the best advocates to support, provide sound advice and uplift spirits.
One’s wellness is very important. Explore what makes you happy and go do it. Ask yourself ‘what am I passionate about?’ or ‘what am I a bit interested in and would love to know more about?’ It could be hobbies, travel, going back to school, volunteer, etc.).
Create a routine / schedule. Most trailing spouses find a lot of extra time on their hands. Which can be both good and bad. It can feel like being time warped into sudden retirement. A simple task of making a To Do list and crossing something off the list. Can help with feeling productive (even a fun task like ‘eat chocolate’; funny how it gets done every, single day. Lol).
I do encourage those to seek professional help when feeling absolutely lost and loosing interest or have stopped doing the things that were once loved.
What do you find most challenging about living in another country?
That challenges evolve. I find that they are equal to what expat stage you are in.
Looking back, I have to laugh because in the beginning, my challenges are not the same to what they are today. At the start of expat life, I had to figure out simple things, such as; where are the grocery stores, the intricacies of property rental and how to navigate public transportation (this is the first time I have never had a car).
To the more serious obstacles; how to circumvent the heavy emotions that comes with being a trailing spouse and how to deal with them, who to turn to, and how to receive help and support.
Also, my husband travels quite extensively which is new to us. In the beginning he was gone 80% of the time (fortunately, I get to piggy back on some of his trips). He still travels a lot, but thankfully the length of time has shortened. Just not the frequency.
Before moving, we were a dual earning couple and continuing my career has never been an issue. Until we have came to Singapore. A lot of positions in my industry only hire Singaporeans or Permanent residences (which we are neither). Which is mostly due to, having already met their quota for hired expats.
I would have to say, the challenges change and are equally difficult to handle as the next.
It’s being action and solution oriented that allows me to manage them as they come.
What country would you like to live in or visit next?
I'm very interested in visiting Mongolia to experience the Mongolia Eagle Festival. To me, it looks fascinating and so far removed from a lifestyle I know and understand. As an outdoor enthusiast, I wouldn't mind living in Switzerland. The mountains are breathtaking and there's countless outdoor activities in beautiful landscapes.
What is your favorite part about living in Singapore?
The amount of neighboring countries to visit and how easy it is to travel
What is your least favorite part about living in Singapore?
What has been your favorite country to live in and why?
It’s hard to say but the easiest country would be the United States. Most of my life has been lived in the States. It’s familiar, I understand & love the culture and it’s probably where we end up (if we don’t immigrate).
Honestly, I can’t wait to see what expat life brings to our future. I am so proud of my husband, his career and our marriage. I can’t wait to see where else this expat life takes us. It’s been fantastic!
What fuels your wanderlust? What inspires you?
My curiosity drives me. Nature inspires me and adventure moves me.
What advice would you give to other expats or travelers?
Go and explore. There's nothing like first hand experiences. If you end up not liking it, you can always return home or move on.