The Intentional Expat

Living Your Best Life Abroad


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Walking the Walk: Why Was It So Life Changing?

For the past six weeks, each Thursday (in honor of #TBT, “Throw Back Thursday),  I’ve been sharing blog posts that I wrote back in 2013 regarding everything I learned on my week long trip along Spain’s El Camino de Santiago during Spring Break (Semana Santa) 2013.

 In Part 1 of the series, I hinted on the fact that it had been a life changing experience. Today I’d like to explain just why that was. I wrote those posts when I was going through a particularly difficult time in life and in order to get through it I did what I’ve always done during moments of emotional turmoil: I turned to writing to help me to make sense of things. By reflecting on my experience on “El Camino” through my writing, I was able to recall some of the important lessons I learned along that weeklong journey and this ultimately helped me to continue on through the darkness until I arrived at the end of that particular emotional journey:     Continue reading

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Walking the Walk: Almost There

In honor of “Throw Back Thursday” (#tbt), I’m posting a series of entries regarding my experience of doing Spain’s “El Camino de Santiago” in the Spring of 2013. The experience taught me a great deal about myself and life in general. Read on to see how our second to last day went, and to hear the story that brought us to tears and made the extra 10km we’d walked absolutely worth it.   Continue reading


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Walking the Walk: Taking Pleasure in the Small Things

Each Thursday (in honor of Throw Back Thursday #tbt), I feature a blog post from the past and for the last three weeks I’ve been doing a series on my experience doing a section of Spain’s El Camino de Santiago last year. Last week I wrote about how my second day on El Camino taught me the importance of relying on your friends to help you push forward during tough (especially rainy) times. This week I’m on day three and although there was less rain, the distance and hills made for a long and exhausting day. 

Day three on El Camino would be our longest of all, with 28 km (17 miles) lying between Palas de Rei and that afternoon’s destination of Arzua. The prior day the hostel receptionist had warned us that this section of the trip was incredibly difficult. Even people who had completed the entire Camino several times agreed that this part was the hardest. Continue reading


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A Person-to-Person Experience: My First Time Volunteering at a Food Bank

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When one of my closest friends from home found out about my 30/30 Birthday Challenge, she jumped at the opportunity to recruit me as a volunteer for the nonprofit organization she works at. “Have you ever volunteered at a food bank before?” she inquired. While I had participated in a variety of different volunteer opportunities throughout my teens and early 20’s, I scanned through my memory and realized that a food bank had never made the list. In the spirit of being open to trying any new opportunities that come my way during the 30 day challenge, I enthusiastically agreed to dedicate day eight to seeing what it was like to volunteer at a food bank.

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Expats Give Back: Madrid

Whether you’re heading back to Madrid this fall for another year of teaching, or getting ready to start your first year there, consider adding “volunteering” to the list of things you hope to experience while living in Spain’s capital city this year. There are a number of different volunteer opportunities available Continue reading


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10 Tips for Staying Sane Overseas

Last night I was asked on Twitter by fellow global citizen Longing to Travel, for my tips on keeping a positive attitude abroad. What a great question and one I’ve got a lot of answers to that I’ll be writing about more in detail here in the future. But in the meantime, I’ve come up with a summarized version of my top ten tips to keep a “glass half full” mentality Continue reading