What happens when you live abroad

I saw this post today, shared through a fellow ex-pat friend on Facebook, and I had to share it here because it echoes my thoughts exactly. Thank you Chelsea Fagan, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

“So you look at your life, and the two countries that hold it, and realize that you are now two distinct people. As much as your countries represent and fulfill different parts of you and what you enjoy about life, as much as you have formed unbreakable bonds with people you love in both places, as much as you feel truly at home in either one, so you are divided in two.”

Read Chelsea’s post on ‘What happens when you live abroad’.


My top 5 picks for tourism marketing films

My readers will be happy to know that I can no longer winge (canadian translation = moan) as much as usual about the weather. It has finally started to get better, slowly but surely! Today was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky, although it could have been a bit warmer for mid-April. Nevertheless, things are looking up!

So there’s now less than two months until I return to Canada in an attempt to acquire a sponsored work visa, and I’m not gonna lie, I’m quite stressed! Logically, there’s not many reasons why it shouldn’t work out as it’s a points-based visa, however if things don’t work out…. that’s the part I’m stressed about. However, I will focus on the fact that I AM getting this work visa, as I’ve already started to plan things in London after that date!

My next kickboxing grading comes the first week of July, so if all goes well I will have a party to celebrate acquisition of my new visa, my red 2 kickboxing belt, and my 25th birthday. This summer could be one of epic proportions I hope! Mid-twenties whoa!

On my travelling agenda, next comes Edinburgh. I’m heading up to the great Scotland for three days over the first May bank holiday weekend in a couple of weeks. My excitement hasn’t quite kicked in yet, but it will as the time draws nearer! This trip will be the first one out of London (not counting going back to Canada) since last May when I went to Paris, so to say the least… it’s gonna be pretty awesome and very much needed!

And on the topic of travelling and the spur for my post today… I’ve been curiously looking at tourism marketing videos and found a few I’d like to share with you. It’s interesting to see how they differ and how each promotes it’s respective country and how they all do a fairly good job of making you want to visit there! So, here are my top 5 that I have found:

#5: New Zealand

This film relies firmly on visuals and the idea that New Zealand is the youngest country in the world. I give them kudos for using youth as it seems to be something most people crave as they grow older.

#4: Finland

Who doesn’t love Summer? Finland does a great job with putting forth the one thing everyone loves and saying you can have it at midnight. Good music choice doesn’t hurt either.

#3: Norway

Norway does a great job of showing off both their landscape and their culture and history. Points for making it slightly humorous as well.

#2: Iceland

I have to say I don’t know many people who think of Iceland and put it at the top of their list for places to go. However this video makes Iceland look like a fun and fantastic place to go no matter what the weather and the landscape looks like. Good work Iceland.

#1: Canada

I know I’m biased and all, but you didn’t expect me not to put them first did you? Well, honestly though – they really did do the best job. Canada is already very rich in beautiful landscape and cool outdoorsy things to do so all they needed was for the people who live there to bring it to life. Good job Canada – the rest of the world could take a lesson from your tourism marketing books. 🙂


In short, some lessons about tourism marketing films:

  • Make it real and fun
  • Make it play to the countries natural strengths
  • Make it under 3 minutes MAX
  • Put it to sweet music tracks
  • Make it something that people see it and go “YES, I WANT TO GO THERE”.

I would have thought that last one was obvious, but I’m not so sure it is given some of the other films I’ve seen for places like Stolkholm, Dubai, Central American countries and many others!


The days are finally feeling longer again in yet the temperature refuses to keep up with the times. Apparently this is the longest, coldest winter the UK has seen in over 30 years and I get to be here for it! I really do get why the British are so obsessed with talking about the weather though, I mean it’s positively ridiculous – how could you not be?

The reason for my post today is slightly linked to the weather actually. You see, I’ve recently posted on Facebook quite frequently about my dislike and contempt for this weather. And one of my very dear good friends posted something along the lines of “oh poor you, in London with bad weather”. I understand you, Leslie – I really do! And she’s right, of course. How dare I complain about the weather when I get to live in as great a city as London with no kids to be responsible for or any mouths to feed other than my own or any hypothetical ropes to tie me to my location? It sure does sound selfish and unaware of me doesn’t it?

I’ve talked about perspective before, I’m sure. The thing is that it keeps cropping up and I always try to remember that behind every argument, misunderstanding, barbed comment, and quietly uttered gossip, there is perspective. Of course, there are situations where one party is right and the others wrong, however I think a lot of the time it is really just a difference of perspective and the inability to either recognise this difference or the inability to understand the other side of the coin.

Every single weekday morning and evening I walk by a Tesco on my way to work. A lot of the time there is a homeless man standing outside asking for change. I know he recognises me because he sees me nearly every day as I pass by. (As a side note I just realised I typed “recognises” with an ‘S’ automatically and now I’m afraid of how English I’m really becoming without my noticing… but I digress). And there are times at the end of the work day where I just feel utterly exhausted and defeated and walk with my head down and shoulders slumped. When I pass him he says, with a smile on his face, “that bad is it?”. PERSPECTIVE. He’s a homeless man asking for change (in THIS weather!) and I’m moping about over a hard day at the office.

That said, let’s look back to my beloved friend Leslie (I hope she doesn’t mind) – she has two beautiful children and a loving husband. She lives in Yellowstone National Park with nature abundant around her. Her likely perspective (which I can understand): she has two children demanding every second of her precious time, her loving husband works nights and there’s nowhere to go because she lives in the middle of a national park with scary-looking buffalo surrounding her backyard. My perspective: she has a man who loves her no matter what and a family she has been able to create with precious moments and memories only children can give you every once in a while. And she has buffalo surrounding her backyard.

I live in London and have a good job with some pretty awesome friends and free evenings to myself whenever I want them. Her likely perspective: I live in a city where nearly anything is possible, I have a great job, and I don’t have anyone to worry about but myself at the end of the day.  My perspective: I live in a polluted rush of life and while I don’t have anyone to worry about but myself at the end of the day, I also don’t have anyone to worry about me at the end of the day either.

It really is all in perspective and, no matter what your religious or non-religious views, thankfulness. I know for a fact that Leslie is thankful for her family although it no doubt must try her patience and strength sometimes, as it does all mothers. And I know that I am thankful for where I am in life as well. That doesn’t stop people (or at least not for long) looking at others and envying what we do not have – I guess it’s human nature and the result of an ever-connected semi-transparent world. It’s also partly a result of people posting on social media about the pseudo-perfect life they want people to see, rather than how their life really is. And how can we blame each other, when if I was to post how my life really is, you would look at me and ask why I was complaining and vice versa? Not only is this perspective but the different things each person values.

Perspective. It is in everything, because we are all unique. And thank goodness for that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a half-full bottle of wine sitting on my kitchen counter that I believe I shouldn’t leave alone…