The Intentional Expat

Living Your Best Life Abroad

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TEDxMadrid 2014

Five years ago, I left the states with plans to create a home for myself here in Madrid. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one. Back in fall 2009, TEDx also made its way to Spain for the first time, with the first TEDxMadrid conference taking place on October 9th at the IE Business School. During the half of a decade that has passed since then, we’ve both put down roots here in Madrid and grown up through the process. Since 2009, I’ve transitioned from being merely one of thousands of English teachers in Spain’s capital city, to being a psychologist and PhD student. In the case of TEDxMadrid, it has blossomed into an all day event hosting speakers from around the world, and requiring an application process in order to ensure that the five hundred people in attendance come from a variety of backgrounds. This growth has also meant a change of scenery, with TEDxMadrid now taking place in Madrid’s former slaughterhouse turned cultural center, “El Matadero.”

While TEDxMadrid and I arrived on Spanish soil only weeks apart from one another, it wasn’t until this year that we formally met. Continue reading



TEDxMadrid: Reflections on the Creative Process and How I Got Myself Into this Mess

In March 2005, I embarked on my very first trip outside of North America. Along with 29 other students from my university, I boarded a flight to Europe to embrace twelve weeks of travel throughout Spain, France, Austria, Germany, and Italy. I’ve often been asked what inspired me to sign up for this trip and the truth is that I have no clue. My family never traveled abroad, my experiences outside the states up to this point had been limited to a couple trips up to Vancouver, B.C. and I didn’t have any desire to learn a foreign language. But I knew without a doubt that I wanted to go abroad during college. The only possible explanation is that Continue reading


Fracawesome: When Things Don’t Go According to Plan

Today marked the 28th day of my 30/30 Bday Challenge and despite having a lot of work I needed to get done, I drug myself out of the house to go watch the sunset from a place that I was told was the *best* place to see the sun set in Madrid (not the Egyptian Templo de Debod, which is a great place, but since I’d already seen the sunset from that location before I was in search of a nearby park where it’s supposed to be even more spectacular). Unfortunately, after nearing the place I thought it was and bumping up against a few dead ends, I started to realize that the sun was going to be gone in the next ten minutes and I was lost and unable to find the park I was looking for. I was annoyed, a little mad at myself and worried because…now what was my new thing going to be? I started wandering back towards home, looking out at the sunset I was missing out on and then it hit me.. Continue reading

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The Big Blog Exchange Contest: It´s the Journey, Not the Destination, Which Matters

It´s been a whirlwind couple of weeks since I launched this blog. I now have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and Pinterest page all aimed at helping to promote it. In these three short weeks, I’ve learned a great deal about how to be a successful blogger and I’ve had the chance to connect with some great people out there in the blogging community. And without a doubt, being involved in my very first blog contest, The Big Blog Exchange, has only added to the excitement! I had the privilege of Continue reading

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Introducing “The Intentional Expat Hits the Streets” Interview Series

Thanks to my 30/30 Birthday Challenge, which has been opening me up to trying new things and meeting new people, I decided last week that I’d be launching a new series on this blog called “The Intentional Expat Hits the Streets.”  I’ll be interviewing people I meet during my travels, day-to-day life and other expats I come into contact with.

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My first interview is with Skyler Johnstone, a 23 year old currently living in Seattle, WA (USA) and the founder of Be the Change Clothing co. I ran into him while walking on Seattle’s Alki beach last week and I did a double take because he was sitting on a bench across from the beach…typing on a typewriter. That’s right, not a cell phone, or a tablet, or even a journal, but a typewriter. I couldn’t resist approaching him and introducing myself. And he graciously agreed to be part of the interview series, here’s what he had to say:   Continue reading


So Teaching English Isn’t Your Dream Job? 10 Ways to Make the Most of It

Congratulations! You’ve scored what many might consider to be their “dream job.” You’re teaching English abroad! You get to live in a location you’ve always dreamed of, you meet new people every day, you get to travel  to exciting destinations on the weekends, but…you don’t want to be an English teacher.

I’ve met countless people who have found their home away from home while teaching English abroad, but they’ve also discovered that this teaching English thing is just not for them, Continue reading