Q. What is the Expat Partner’s Survival Guide?
A. The guide is a light-hearted, supportive book aimed at anyone, anywhere accompanying their other half on an overseas posting. Whether you are married or not, have children, intend to work, whether it’s your first posting or your fifty-first, whether you are a man, woman or something in-between, whether you are heterosexual or in a same-sex partnership – this book is for you. But is it probably most useful for anyone who has never moved overseas before, or at least hasn’t been the “trailing” partner.
Q. What’s it about?
A. The book covers all aspects of the “accompanying” life. It starts with making the decision to go, carries on to planning your move and then covers the first few weeks and months in your new home. This includes practicalities such as finding a house, transport, learning a language, finding domestic staff and staying safe. It also covers more “emotional” issues such as culture shock and loneliness. Other chapters include children and their schooling, health, pets, emergencies and returning home.
Q. Why have you written it?
A. I started the guide after living in St Lucia, with my husband and two young children. Every time I mention living on an idyllic Caribbean island, everyone, without exception, sighs and tells me how wonderful that must have been. In fact, it was hot, lonely, fustrating and often very boring – as well as beautiful, fascinating, and ultimately life-enhancing. But had I not lived abroad before, including on a previous posting in the Caribbean (Jamaica), I am not sure I could have lasted even the 20 months we lived there for. This book is for all those women and men who move to a strange land – and then watch their partners walk out of the door to work, leaving them coping alone.
Q. What qualifies you to write it?
A. As a fourth-generation expat (my great-grandfather and grandfather were both in the Colonial service and served in Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone/Hong Kong respectively; my father was a diplomat in the Foreign Office and served all over the world), I have seen the overseas life from many different angles. First in my childhood, then as someone who took my own posting to Kingston and later accompanied my husband to Islamabad and St Lucia, I have experienced living abroad as a child, a singleton, a wife and a mother. Along the way I have built up a store of knowledge that I have used to help write the book. But I would never think my experience alone was enough to write a book like this – I have relied on the information, tips, stories, anecdotes and advise of more than 70 accompanying partners – without them this book would be nothing.
In terms of the actual writing, my background is in journalism and I built my trade writing for regional newspapers in the UK. I still write freelance for various magazines and websites when I get a chance.
Q. Where and when can I buy the book?
A. Click here to be taken straight to my Buy the Book page!