The Intentional Expat

Living Your Best Life Abroad


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The Intentional Expat Interview Series: An English Teacher in Western Mongolia

The past few weeks of interviews have been a huge success! The first week we heard from J Russell Mikkelsen, an avid traveler and blogger and last week got a glimpse at life abroad for a Spaniard living in the USA. Today’s interview comes from fellow blogger Tina, who got in touch with me a few weeks ago to be part of the interview series. I took one look at her blog, Kulturschock! and sent the questions her way. While we haven’t met personally, Tina has the Intentional Expat spirit written all over here. An American who got an MA in Germany and is now teaching English in none other than Western Mongolia, this is a woman who is taking life by the horns and living her best life abroad. Like she says in her “About Me” section of her blog:  Continue reading


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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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English Speaking Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Madrid (Online Sessions Available)

After having this blog for a little over a month, I´ve finally published a tab that includes information about the therapy services I offer both in Madrid (in-person sessions) as well as online (for those living outside of Madrid seeking an English-speaking therapist)Continue reading


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When I Get Homesick, I Stop Being Homesick and Be Awesome Instead

As part of my #tbt blogs, I´m posting a story I wrote back in May 2010. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)was created in order to help individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. However, many of the techniques used by this discipline can be helpful for people dealing with other psychological problems, or even emotional distress that can happen to any of us on any given day. One of the techniques DBT uses to deal with distressing emotions is ¨Opposite to Emotion Action.¨ In short, it means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing by carrying out an action that is going to have positive effects rather than negative ones. For example, if you wake up feeling sad and don´t want to get out of bed, you get out of bed. If you´re angry and feel like hurting someone, you walk away. It doesn´t mean you suppress your emotions, it means you put your energy towards doing something that may ultimately help to decrease the distressing feelings. And it can be a great trick to use to fight homesickness.  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


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My Own Journey Towards Becoming an Intentional Expat

I wasn’t always an intentional expat. In fact, only a year ago  I would have considered myself more of an accidental expat rather than an intentional one. For me, it took four whole years in Spain and a painful breakup with my long-term Spanish boyfriend before I really took the reigns and began to invest in my best life possible abroad.

When I first came to Madrid back in Fall ’09, I did so with the very specific plan of staying for the ten months required by my work contract. I’d fill September through June with siestas, travel, and a full-on immersion in the Spanish culture, language (and nightlife).  A little short of a year to become more independent, find out who I was when everything that I’d used to define me was no longer around, and to clarify my life goals. And after doing all that, I’d return home to live a real, grown-up and responsible life.  Continue reading