My weekly blog ‘Twitters from the Atlantic’ was initially intended as a brief follow up to my novel ‘Letters from the Atlantic’, which were published in a local newspaper. This weekly series has since appeared in magazines, newspapers and blogs in many countries across the world, and I have been surprised and heartened by the enthusiastic response that I have received from established expats, as well as from those considering ‘living their dream’ in a country of their own choosing.
After the first series of ‘Twitters from the Atlantic’ was published, I began to receive requests from many readers who, for various reasons, had missed a specific article, asking if I could get a back copy of the newspaper or magazine for them. Eventually, it was suggested that I should publish the entire series of blogs for the year in one volume. That was ten years ago! I am now pleased to be able to publish the latest in the series – this time called ‘Expat Voice’.
I chose the title ‘Expat Voice’ since many of the incidents that are raised in the book arose from emails, letters and conversations with expats from a number of countries, as well as from my own experiences. We all have our individual tales to tell, and I am always impressed by the enthusiasm and (mostly!) good humour that expats demonstrate when dealing with both challenges and amusing incidents in their new lives. This book is intended to be an echo of those voices, which I hope will prove to be of both help and inspiration to others.
Looking at some of the early ‘Twitters from the Atlantic’, I am reminded of the huge enthusiasm that affects us all when we embark upon our new adventure. A new country, new customs and traditions, as well as often a new language, all add to the thrill of escaping from the country of our birth. However, as time and experience take over, most of us have to deal with new challenges in life, which we may not have originally envisaged.
‘Expat Voice’ attempts to deal with some of the challenges faced by expats following the World recession, which has left many without jobs, failed relationships and repossessed homes. For many, it has not been a wonderful experience, but I am a firm believer that, over time, such difficulties make us stronger if approached in a positive and realistic manner. I know of many expats who appear to have ‘failed’, but have ‘bounced back’ stronger and more resilient to the challenges that life throws at us all from time to time.
Unusually, in this book, I have tried to deal with other, more serious, issues that many expats have asked me to write about. Often taboo subjects, such as dealing with serious illness, death and wills have been raised in ‘Expat Voice’. Despite my original anxiety, it is a relief to see that pages dealing with ‘Death’ and ‘Wills’ on the ‘Expat Survival’ website have received the most number of hits from readers this year, so I guess these articles have served a useful purpose for some; I hope so.
Life for an expat from any country, be it for reasons of work, retirement, or just following a spirit of adventure, is not always as easy as it may sound. A new life in the sun is often frustrated by having to deal with personal and family crises, health issues, language difficulties, confusing bureaucracy and cultural differences. This is all the stuff of expat adventures, which is part of the deal that we signed up for. The wise and seasoned expat eventually learns to accept and cope with a range of issues, which is part of our rich kaleidoscope of experiences. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com or read his book, ‘Expat Voice’ (ISBN: 9780992767174). Available in paperback, as well as Kindle, iBooks and Google Play editions. iPhone/iPad and Android Apps: ExpatInfo, CanaryIsle and CanaryGay now available.
© Barrie Mahoney