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Focus On: Expat Life Blogs

Each day, we discover bloggers on WordPress.com exploring different passions and interests, immersed in unique industries, fields, and worlds. At The…

Each day, we discover bloggers on WordPress.com exploring different passions and interests, immersed in unique industries, fields, and worlds. At The Daily Post, we’ll highlight more of these niche blogs and the various communities within WordPress.com. We hope these spotlights introduce you to new communities and ideas, and inspire you to find—and create—your own cozy corner in the blogging world.

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From Peace Corps volunteers in Asia to English teachers in Latin America, we have a varied expatriate blogging community on WordPress.com documenting life and work overseas. Blogs on expat life are distinct from blogs about travel—expat bloggers are immersed in a place, which they adopt as their home. They explore the benefits, challenges, and sensations of living in a foreign culture; the elusive meaning of home; and, ultimately, what it means to be human in this big world.

Here’s a sampling of expat blogs on WordPress.com:

Photo by Steven Dorgelo.

Dutchinaman’s Blog: Fascinated by the rapid changes transforming China, Steven muses beautifully on his overseas experience with his wife and children. He documents quiet moments, interactions, and conversations, and is a patient and keen observer. His photographs complement his words—check out his photo story of Chengdu, where he lives, and the stunning black-and-white portraits of people he has encountered in China.

Here is Havana: Conner, an American journalist, has lived and worked in Havana for more than nine years. She calls her blog a place for “navel-gazing” and “cathartic venting at its best and worst,” and writes about the idiosyncrasies, perturbations, and ironies of Cuba. From baseball to Cuban machismo to daily life, Conner’s posts are intriguing and entertaining.

Lonely Girl Travels: An Oakland girl in the world, writer and solo traveler Lauren lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. She has a knack for crafting scenes and dialogue, and her writing always has an edge, whether it’s about travel and culture, music, relationships, or finding her place in the world. Her posts on her time in Cambodia are particularly honest and raw.

Comic by Jen Brown.

Expat Lingo: Jen, a “serial expat,” is currently based in Hong Kong. (She has also lived in China and the United Kingdom.) Originally from Utah, she experiences the “cultural collisions” and juxtapositions of living in a different society and enjoys the absurdities and inspirations of expat life. One quirky feature is her use of comics, which she creates with Strip Generator.

Twice Deported: Zoe, an Australian and perpetual nomad, lived in the US for six years before being deported. Now in Asia, she uses her blog to air her frustrations at being denied a visa and to share the lessons she’s learned from moving and living overseas. In Hoi An, Vietnam, she works at an organization that assists disadvantaged youth.

Miss Expatria: An author and editor focused on Italy and France, Christine mixes posts about her jet-setting life in these regions with practical content on travel, from food to day trips to transportation. Her blog is a delicious, glamorous glimpse of life as an expat and working travel writer.

Photo by Saara Raappana and Eric Doise.

HorseHorseTigerTigerThis Peace Corps journal of Saara and Eric documents their volunteer, teaching, and travel experiences in and around Anshun, a town in Guizhou, China. Saara notes that married Peace Corps volunteers serve together (as long as they’ve been married for a year before the start of their service), and China is a country that likes to host married volunteers. Both Saara and Eric take turns writing posts, which helps give us a fuller picture of their shared daily life there.

El Salvador From the Inside: Jenny, an American in El Salvador, posts her insights, frustrations, and news, primarily about living with and among the poor. The writing is informative and doesn’t sugarcoat the overseas experience. A notable regular feature is Spanish Friday—an end-of-week post written in both Spanish and English.

Un’americana a Roma: Shelley, an American expat in Rome, has an engaging voice: as you read her posts, you’re not only entertained, but feel like you’re chatting with her over a cup of coffee. Conversational and fun, she offers a candid, often funny look into life in Italy.

Made in Accra: This blog offers a slightly different take on the expat experience: Mike returned to his home country of Ghana after living in the US for half of his life and chronicles his observations as a returnee. While he is not an expat in the traditional sense, he writes intimately about reconnecting to the place of his childhood:

Home for the longest time had been “New Jersey” to every inquiring mind. At other moments, especially when that nostalgia bugs hits me, it’s Accra. It’s Ghana. It’s the experiences, the memories, the foods, the languages, and the culture. It’s even those idiosyncrasies most of us could never seem to shake even after fully immersing ourselves in our western societies.

These bloggers (and their stories) are all different from one another. But each has his or her own unique perspective about the world, and a sense of curiosity and empathy. They’re worth checking out!

Do you follow an expat blog not on this list? Let us know in the comments. For more, check the expat topic page in the WordPress.com reader.

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  1. I AM an expat blogger. I’m an American woman who moved to the Netherlands four years ago and fell in love with my new home city, Utrecht. I’m fascinated by art and history, and the city has 2000 years worth of both, so I’m in heaven. I photograph the city and the various cultural events and more. I recently mentioned the differences in Dutch elections and coming up soon is the Nederland Film Festival, which I’ll be attending this year. http://oranjeflamingo.wordpress.com/

  2. I’m an expat blogger currently working as an English teacher in South Korea (not too far from Seoul). I’ve only been here for 3 weeks now, but am really enjoying my time, after the initial shock of course.

  3. I’m an American who has lived in Scotland for over 15 years. I don’t think my blog is particularly an ‘expat blog’, but I’m writing from the interesting perspective of choosing where I’m from depending on my mood, therefore not being from anywhere, really.

    1. “I’m writing from the interesting perspective of choosing where I’m from depending on my mood, therefore not being from anywhere, really.”

      I so love this. Nicely put.

      1. Thanks, Cheri! It is something that’s hard to but into words.

        I’m thinking of updating my ‘about’ page with this, so people get a better idea of where I’m coming from. Because sometimes I don’t even know where I’m coming from, ha!

        Lorna

    2. I feel the same about my own blog. I have been blogging for a little while now and find myself focusing more and more “I’m an American abroad” issues, but I’ve been abroad so long that it’s tough to circumscribe what I write about that closely, but I’m glad that you’ve put it the way you have.

      Pete

  4. I’m not an expat in the sense others might be and more to the point I don’t have a expat blog :(
    I have not relocated to a different country I have however relocated to different provinces of my country (South Africa). I was born and grew up in Gauteng – Johannesburg (or actually the Eastrand of Gauteng). I lived in Kwazulunatal – Ballito for just over 5 months. And I’ve been living in Cape Town for the past year and a bit.
    Each of these provinces have their own uniqueness. Temperatures are extremely different in each and so are the culture of each. I loved all three, but in Cape Town I have found my home. :)
    I would love to do some travelling, for now I think I’ll stick to my continent and travel Africa.

  5. Thank you for this post and sharing these wonderful bloggers, what a fantastic post and so insightful and interesting. Being an expat now myself – having moved from London to Hong Kong just three weeks ago this has intrigued me so much knowing the others that share my position and from such different angles. LA

  6. I love reading about expats experiences in the world. I’m a traveler, and while I have been many places that I would like to settle in for awhile my feet invariably start to tingle, nudging me off to my next adventure. I was curious enough about jet lag to go around the world, hoping that if I just kept moving in one direction it wouldn’t catch up with me. It did. Now I’m planning to go around in the opposite direction to see if that makes a difference. Luckily for me, the experiment will take me to lots of places I’ve not been before, and I’m sure to run into some of those expats along the way. Happy trails!

  7. Just read some of the ex-Pat Blogs you recommended, and enjoyed the unique perspective of the authors. Since you asked to recommend others, here is one: One of my favorite ex-pats blogs is “Sabine’s Flying Carpet”. It is written by a German journalist, living in Washington DC – so the European-ex-pat-in-the-US-experience, which is fun and interesting. Sabine has a lot of sympathy for her surroundings, but also a good sense of humor. She writes in English and sometimes posts also in German.

  8. I think my blog is a borderline expat blog. I’m a journalism student in London, originally from Romania, and I write about various things including my studies and the occasional post about “back home”.
    I’m afraid my life is not interesting enough to deserve a full time expat blog. catontherocks.wordpress.com

  9. Reblogged this on vnrw75's Blog and commented:
    This post got my attention this morning. I had just finished my daily webinar and I clicked in the email and it was the photo that got me. Great Pic!!!! and the Black and White format is Perfect!!!!!

  10. I’m so honored to be one of the blogs mentioned in this post! What great stories and tales from expatriates all over the world. It’s so refreshing to hear about other people that are travelling, experiencing new cultures and making a difference. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    As for me, I will continue writing about my experiences abroad after leaving (well being deported from, let’s be honest) the United States for Vietnam and South East Asia. Find me at twicedeported.wordpress.com.

      1. Thank you Marianne! And I also follow Marianne’s excellent blog about being an expat in Axarquía in Spain: East of Málaga. It has everything a person would ever want to know about her adopted home, including recipes and gorgeous photos!!

  11. I see a Photo by Saara Raappana and Eric Doise.but not of the other travelers. I like seeing where people have traveled. I hope the others are taking advantages to the moments and sights by capturing them on photos. Love the color of the water in Saara’s photo.
    http://lauragaylorphotography.com

    1. Glad you like it! That photo is from Tiger Leaping Gorge, an amazing and unique place in Yunnan Province. Unfortunately, industrial development might change it drastically. Also, I’m told the water only looks like that in the winter, when there is little rain and therefore mostly glacier water. We were lucky we chose that time to hike it.

  12. I too, am an expat. I love reading the blogs of others that find themselves in their new home environments.

    I’m not sure how long one has to live in one’s adopted country before one is no longer an expat but I tend to think I’ll always be an expat while I’m not living in my country of birth…

    http://ouchmybackhurts.wordpress.com/

  13. I love travel writing, and am currently living and blogging abroad (shameless self-promotion here: https://currenttimeincopenhagen.wordpress.com/).

    Most of my favourite writers lived and traveled abroad including George Orwell, Christopher Isherwood, Ernest Hemingway, Karl Taro Greenfeld and Peter Hessler. To my mother’s delight/horror they serve as my role models: go live in random and cool places, gather stories and experiences, and then write about them.

    I think most of these bloggers will be interesting to read and I love lists like these.

  14. I started my New York London blog as an attempt to work through the hazy (blurry tear stained) days of re-location. What a baby I was! To tell you the truth, I have left behind the notion of nationality and where I am from preferring instead to concentrate on the where I am now. It took a while to get there, I mean here!

  15. I´m an Englishwoman in Andalucía, blogging all about the beautiful region of southern Spain where I live, east of Málaga. Living in the countryside but overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, I´ll tell you all about the AUTHENTIC Costa del Sol, and what it´s really like to live here.

    Don´t just read this comment – come on over and say hello!

    http://www.eastofmalaga.net

    What are you waiting for? :)

  16. I just moved to Germany, in Northern Bavaria, and have loved writing my blog to help process the experience! Reading others’ blogs has also been really helpful, both for tips and to make my experience feel more “normal.”
    Mikeandam.wordpress.com

  17. So glad you focused on these. I’m a third culture kid (grew up in a country other than my passport country) and lived in Pakistan and Cairo as an expat raising my children. While my blog doesn’t just focus on expat living – it focuses on cultural collisions and communicating across boundaries. Love that you highlighted these often overlooked yet incredibly interesting blogs and stories! Thank you.

  18. This is a great post! I’m excited to check these blogs out. I’m a third culture kid and an expat (American living in the UK) so I can totally relate. Even after getting dual citizenship and more often that not feeling like I belong here more than “back there”, I still see myself as an expat and torn between my affinity for both countries. I’m not sure it’s ever going to change!

    http://www.howtoplayhouse.wordpress.com

  19. Though we’ve only been here a short time and we’re in the process of the learning the language we consider ourselves to be Panadian instead of expat Canadians. To me my blog is about sharing my pictures, experiences and thoughts from my new home in Panama. I don’t think I’ve used the expat tag thus far in my short blogging experience. I agree with smallhousebiggarden about the term being overused but I also think that in some cases it may have negative undertones.

    Thanks for the link to the ex-pat topic page!

    http://indacampo.wordpress.com/

  20. I’m a Canuck in China. I had the challenging and unique experience of teaching high school in remote rural Hunan from 2010-2011, and posted extensively on it.. And now I’m back in tropical Hainan province…

  21. Hi everyone, we are an american family living in a small rural community in China. My blog is not really about expat living but more of a photo & journal blog. Although, I do love writing about our experiences, adventures, & travels and sharing what we learn along the way. Stop by and take a look…

    http://StillTimes.wordpress.com/

  22. Hi! My blog is “Whit B Nimble” because I, Whitney, am trying to become a bit more nimble no matter the adventure I’m on. I’m an expat as well, though I don’t blog specifically on expat life in South Korea. Korea is just where I live for now. Maybe India or Hong Kong next? Who knows! You’ll be able to read about my adventures, things I ponder, and lessons I learn wherever I go…even if that means I return “home” one day to America (though it’s highly unlikely!) Thanks for featuring these excellent expat bloggers. I’m excited to be a part of this niche in blog land. ^^

  23. Do you ever have those days where something felt as though it was meant just for you? Can’t believe my good fortune to have stumbled across this! I’m 2 posts in to my new blog about expat life and the journey my husband and I are about to embark on with our upcoming move from the U.S. to China. We did a stint in Japan already and I realized all the missed opportunities to share the quirks and crazy moments when experiencing life in another country. Looking forward to checking out your blogs!!! Happy travels!
    http://worldwifetraveler.wordpress.com

  24. I started my wordpress blog as an expat in Shanghai, being a granny, so I have just reblogged one of the early posts – which doesn’t even have a photo. http://elspethc.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/1527/ There are lots more, which might be better blogs, but the ‘chicken’ incident is one I won’t forget.
    PS – what exactly does ‘expat’ mean – it sounds very like those from the ‘west’ living in the ‘east’. But, does it mean that, or does it simply mean anyone from anywhere, living in a different culture from their origin?