Mindful Expat Episode 41: Living with Health & Safety Threats: The Present Moment as a Place of Sanctuary (With Guest: Amanda Zetah)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Amanda Zetah!

Amanda is originally from the United States, from the state of Colorado. While she was in college, inspired by the dream of becoming a travel writer, she started traveling independently and soon caught the travel bug. As soon as she graduated, she jumped at the opportunity to start traveling full-time. Over the past 6 years of traveling independently, Amanda has been to over 60 different countries. She has spent time living in Sierra Leone, Iraq, Myanmar, and she now lives in Azerbaijan, where she works as an English teacher.

In addition travel, Amanda is also passionate about staying healthy – both physically and emotionally. From her own first-hand experience, she knows that travelers face some extra challenges in this realm, so she has started a website and blog for fellow health-conscious travelers called Health Nut Nomad, where she shares ideas and insights on ways to stay healthy and grounded while on the move.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• About Amanda’s experiences of facing the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone as well as a car bombing in Iraq — and how she has learned to both face her fears as well as continue to live in the present moment as she continues her journey of traveling the world.

• Amanda’s journey of discovering a mindfulness practice that works for her and allows her to feel more present in her day-to-day life.

• Some of Amanda’s favorite parts about living in some of the amazing places she has now lived — experiences that she might have missed out on if she had been solely focused on potential dangers rather than living in the present moment.

• Breaking down some misconceptions about mindfulness and discussing how the simple practice of coming back to the present moment can actually get us out of our heads and back into our lives. 

Resources mentioned in today’s episode:

• Amanda mentioned the book, The Alchemist, by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. This international best-seller (translated into at least 70 different languages) shares the simple story of a young man on a journey and has been widely interpreted to represent the journey we must all undertake to find our path in life or our destiny.

• The quote Amanda shares with us (which can be found here) is actually not from an anonymous source, but rather from Lebanese-Canadian poet and speaker Najwa Zebian.

• After we finished our interview (not included in today’s episode), Amanda also shared another helpful resource with me — a book written by her aunt, Terri Leichty, called Body Love Food Peace: Ten Practices to End the War, on mindful eating and developing a more compassionate relationship with our own bodies. Amanda also recently wrote about this topic on her blog, and this article can be found here.

More about Amanda and how to follow up with her:

To learn more about Amanda, you can visit her website, Health Nut Nomad, where she brings together ideas from fellow travelers on how to stay fit and healthy while traveling and living abroad. Some of her articles that you might be interested in checking out include https://healthnutnomad.com/yoga-travelers-meditation-practices/this one on meditation practices for travelers, or this one on coping with anxiety.

You can also find Amanda on Twitter, and you can connect with her through this page of her website.

Stay in Touch!

To make sure you don’t miss future episodes of Mindful Expat, you can subscribe to the podcast through iTunesStitcher, or your favorite podcasting app.

To receive monthly summaries of podcast episodes and stay up to date on other announcements and resources, sign up for the Mindful Expat Podcast Newsletter! (When you sign up, you’ll also receive a free mp3 guided mindfulness exercise to practice on your own!)

And, finally, if you’d like to get in touch and leave me a voice message with a question or comment that may be played in a future episode, you can do so here!


Mindful Expat Episode 40: Divided By a Common Language: The Role of Language in Cultural Adaptation (With Guest: Claire Handscombe)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Claire Handscombe!

Claire is a freelance writer, blogger, and fellow-podcaster (host of The Brit Lit Podcast) living in Washington, DC. Born in London to a British father and French mother, Claire then spent much of her early adolescence in Belgium before returning to the UK at the age of 12. She later returned to Belgium as a young adult, before moving to DC to do her MFA in Creative Writing at American University. From 2005-2012, Claire taught English, French, and Spanish to adults of all levels in both London and Brussels. In 2011, she published a book called Conquering Babel: A Practical Guide to Learning a Language.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Claire’s experiences of moving abroad to countries where she spoke the language, but where subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle!) language differences still impacted her cultural adaptation.

• We discuss the interplay of language and culture, including some metalinguistic cultural differences that can lead to misunderstandings.

• Claire’s experiences of the differences in academic cultures between the UK and the US.

• A discussion of why it’s important to learn at least the basics of the language where you’re living and some of the ways doing so can positively impact your life. Read More



Mindful Expat Episode 38: Building Resiliency & Connection Through Health Challenges Abroad (With Guest: Carolyn Parse Rizzo, M.ED., ACC)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Carolyn Parse Rizzo!

Carolyn is a certified Child Life Specialist and Life Transition Coach focusing on healthcare and vitality abroad. From her home in Italy, she works as a health coach and consultant, supporting people who are dealing with various types of health conditions while living abroad. Through her company, Interval Coaching, she helps her clients navigate some of the challenges of managing health conditions in a foreign medical system, while also assisting them in shifting their perspectives toward their health, developing positive coping strategies, increasing their resiliency, and nurturing creativity and connectedness in their lives.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Some of the common challenges that expats and other internationals face when managing a health condition in a foreign medical system.

• How our mindset can impact our experience of health issues and our experiences navigating a foreign medical system — and how we can shift our interpretations in a way that can ultimately feel more empowering.

• Some concrete, practical tips for expats and others navigating health challenges in a foreign medical system Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 37: Self-Care Inspiration for the New Year (Featuring all of 2017’s Mindful Expat Guests!)

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• We’ll talk a bit about New Year’s resolutions and making sustainable self-care a priority in 2018!

• We’ll hear from all of our Mindful Expat guests from the 2017, listening to their self-care tips from their own experiences as inspiration for our own self-care in the coming year! Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 36: Helping TCKs Make Room for Mixed Emotions & Find Their Sense of True Belonging (With Guest: Lois Bushong)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Lois Bushong!

Lois is a licensed marriage and family therapist living in the state of Indiana in the United States. She is originally from the US, but grew up in Central America (mainly in Honduras) as part of a missionary family, and she also spent 10 years working in Honduras as an adult. Having grown up as a Third Culture Kid (or TCK) herself, Lois has specialized in working with TCKs, adult TCKs, and intercultural couples.

Lois is also the author of the book, Belonging Everywhere and Nowhere: Insights into Counseling the Globally Mobile, which is how I first came across her work. In addition to her therapy practice, she also offers services as a consultant and coach for TCKs and others navigating this intercultural space.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• About Lois’ experiences growing up as a TCK missionary kid in Central America and how she came to want to help other TCKs find their true sense of belonging.
• How frequent moves can lead some TCKs to experience unresolved grief, which can lead to some difficulties as they get older.
• How parents and other adults can help TCKs make room for both positive and negative emotional reactions to their experiences growing up abroad and allow them to work through and process grief.
• How many TCKs find their true sense of belonging with other TCKs.  Read More



Mindful Expat Episode 34: Recognizing & Guarding Against Destructive Patterns in Relationships

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• How not all issues in relationships can be completely resolved, but how this may actually be ok — we just need to learn how to manage them!
• Some problematic patterns that couples can fall into (what John Gottman calls the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” — criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling — because in his research these variables have been used to predict divorce with impressive accuracy) — and how to shift away from these into healthier, more productive dynamics with your partner
• Some specific examples of how you can word things to address problems that may come up in relationships.  Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 33: Challenges & Opportunities for Expat Partners: Meaningful Work, Sense of Purpose, & Professional Identity (With Guest: Claudia Landini)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Claudia Landini!

Claudia is an intercultural trainer and mobile careers coach. Originally from Italy, Claudia has been living abroad for the past 27 years, since 1989! She has lived in four African countries (Sudan, Angola, Congo Brazzaville and Guinea Bissau), two Latin American countries (Honduras and Peru), in Jerusalem, and she now lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. She also speaks quite an impressive number of languages – Italian, English, French, Spanish, and German – and as if that weren’t already enough, she also knows a little bit of Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, and Arabic.

Claudia is the founder of the non-profit organization ExpatClic, which is an online platform and community supporting expat women in a number of different ways through their transitions abroad – both personally and professionally.

She is also an intercultural trainer and cross-cultural transitions coach with a focus on helping expat women develop and maintain their careers as they move abroad.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Some of the challenges that expat partners may face in their careers when they move abroad and how this can impact their sense of professional (and personal) identity.
• The importance of finding meaningful, satisfying activities that allow us to continue to learn and grow — whether or not we have an official job that pays the bills.
• How our professional paths can evolve and shift when we move abroad in ways that we might not have envisioned but that can be incredibly enriching and satisfying.
• How moving abroad and navigating some of these challenges can actually teach us important things about ourselves and foster not only profession but also personal development. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 32: Thanksgiving & Gratitude (Even If You’re Not Feeling So Grateful at the Moment)

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• The benefits of practicing gratitude (to our emotional, psychological, and physical health!).
• What it even means to “practice” gratitude. (And how doing so can help you experience more spontaneous gratitude as well!)
• A short gratitude practice that you can incorporate into your daily routine that is supported by a bunch of research. Read More