I’ve lived ‘abroad’ for most of my life.
These are the lessons learnt from life abroad.
I like to think that I’ve learnt some life lessons along the way. Of course I forget them regularly. But this much I know is true.
- Set your own course through life and hold fast to your own ideals and principals. It’s all too easy to get swayed by the Jones’s – don’t even try to keep up with them. After living in caravans, tiny flats and remote destinations we also lived in some places where the emphasis was on the big house, plenty of household staff and expensive overseas holidays, but it was important to remember our own values about what was important to us as a family.
- There is only one true permanence throughout life and that’s Change, with a capital C. Embrace it, accept it, and move on. Life’s too short to dwell on what might have been.
- Our children are gifts. They might sometimes exceed all our expectations of the best gift in the world and they may not always be the exact gift we had hoped for. Treasure them. They will not be with you forever.
- Whether you are right or wrong in a domestic tussle, it doesn’t matter. Win or lose, if you love them, you’ll feel bad about being nasty when the fight is done. Power struggles, disappointment, resentment, difference of opinion will all rear their ugly heads. Keep your cool, be kind (always) and know that forgiveness is the only way to move forward. When you travel, the nuclear unit needs to be kept strong.
- Do the best you can at the time with the information you have available.
Short Quotes about Life Lessons
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” Vincent Van Gogh
“When I hear somebody sigh, “Life is hard,” I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?” Sydney J. Harris
“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” Arthur Rubinstein
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Soren Kierkegaard
Some of you know that I’m writing a Memoir, but I’m having difficulty with structure and ‘voice’. If you like this post or if you don’t like it, I’d love to hear your real comments and opinions. I’d also love to know whether you’d like me to make Memoir a regular slot on Lifestyle Fifty as I finish sections. Please Tell.
When you get stuck … Forget the structure and capture a story, a smell, a pretty flower, an animal, an ops -see- daisy! You can string the stories together later, but you need to capture the serendipities when you think of them. I call this writing from the INSIDE OUT!
Your voice is perfect: light, informal, realistic with a laugh. It focuses on the experience which transcends the local, because although we all haven’t been there geographically, we all can recognize and enjoy the experience, because THAT’S where we have been.
Now did I tell you the story of having no baby diapers in Saudi Arabia. A time before paper diapers? Then trying to buy cloth diapers while on vacation in Germany without being able to speak German? The acting was hilarious, desperate, frustrating, until …
STILL STUCK? Play the game remember when with your husband, only let HIM fill in the blank.
Oh Lucy, thank you! This is so so inspiring and actually just what I needed to hear. You are so right – when I think about structure and all of the mechanics of creating a memoir I get totally overwhelmed, but writing the moments – that I love. I’m going to take your advice and get those written, then worry about fitting it all together in a meaningful way. Thanks for your kind comments too. And no you haven’t told us about the story of having no baby diapers in Saudi Arabia and other ex-pat stories! Yes, please!
Alison Hop Hing
What a wonderful life you’ve had, love your sense of humour too, would love to read more.
Hello Alison, thank you so much! 🙂
Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama
More please Jo! Absolutely fascinating, love getting to know you better. This post fits right in with one I’m writing at the moment (and hope to publish next week), I’ll have to remember to let you know when it goes live (it’s about blogging, uncertain of title at this stage).
Thanks so much Janet – ooh, now you’ve got me intrigued. Please send me the link when it goes live.
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
I love this: My breast milk was fortified not by a balanced Australian diet but by the occasional bottle of Guinness and lots of Nepalese vegetables and Dhal.
Gotta do whatever you can do, eh? They say Guinness is good for making the milk flow. I found champagne to also be good! Although it gave my baby girl a bit of a “hangover” so perhaps not so good.
Hi Leanne, I loved your story about the champagne – I never had the opportunity to buy it in Nepal, but I have grown rather fond of it in later life!
Fascinating post and I’d say there’s definitely a lot of fodder for a very interesting memoir. I’d love to hear more.
Thanks Kalpanaa 🙂
Jo what an interesting life you have led. I had no idea that you lived in some of these countries, particularly Africa and Nepal. You did sound like a pioneer and I’m amazed at your fortitude in rearing a small baby in such a third world country. I think your memoirs will be a best seller and I don’t think you need to change a thing. Your voice is like having a sit down conversation with you about your life and I like this very much. #TeamLovinLife
Hi Kathy, that’s the lovely thing about blogging, how we can share our lives over time and probably people who read my blog know more about me than my recent in real life friends 😉 Thanks so much for your compliments – they have cheered me on 🙂 x
You’ve got some great stories and had some amazing experiences. I think the biggest challenge will be arranging it in a logical format – whether that’s chronological or by country etc probably depends a bit on your audience or who you want to target?
Thanks Deb 🙂 Thanks for pointing that out and making me re-think. You are so right. I have the words, I have the stories, but oh my goodness the putting it all together, and how, is the biggest thing preventing me from moving on. I am feeling a bit stuck.
Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject
What adventures you’ve had Jo! Love a good memoir 🙂 x#TeamLovinLife
Thanks Lyndall 🙂 x
I loved this Jo, reading your story was amazing!! Your idea of a book is fantastic and would be a great project. I think the way you’ve written it is good, it’s easy to read and your voice comes through. Well done. #mlstl
Thanks Debbie. I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Wow Jo – this needs to be made into a book (is that the plan?)! Great reading! It was wonderful to learn these things about you. I had no idea you’d lived in so many different places/countries or that your husband was/is a geologist. What an interesting an exciting life you’ve had. You’re so much braver than me to set off with a 5 week old baby to Nepal! OMG! Can’t wait to read the next chapter! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife
Hi Min, oh thank you so much 🙂
I’d love to read more. There’s so much story in here. #TeamLovinLife
Thanks Jo, and for me that’s a lovely accolade coming from a published author. Thank you x
What a life you’ve had. I loved this post. I’ve lived in the state of Utah for my entire life, with the exception of a few years in California. My husband and I have traveled some, but there is so much more of the world that we haven’t seen. I found your blog on the #MLSTL link party.
Hello Christie, and thank you 🙂 I’ve never been to Utah, but it’s somewhere I’d love to visit too – oh gosh, dare I say this …. Donny Osmond country! (I was a big fan back in the day!). California is also on my list.
Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
So much here that I didn’t know about you Jo (for some reason I always assumed you’d lived in exotic but also expensive locations) I had no idea you had been to so many places and had so many adventures. Definitely a book in your future – this post is just the beginning!
Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
LOL Leanne! That’s what I love about blogging. Unless we’ve actually grown up together, we find out so much more about each other than we might, say, just having a coffee with a group of friends. Thanks for your kind words about the memoir’s possible future.
What an interesting and exciting life you have lived. I think individual stories from your past would be great.
Thank you Victoria – I think I’m going to do it 🙂 Yikes – all those dusty journals!
I would LOVE to hear more of your memoirs. This post is just lovely it’s so refreshing to hear of a life that has spanned so many locations and without all the trappings of the typical modern lifestyle. Tell us MORE!!
Hello Cherie, and thank you! I’m so happy that you found my memoir post interesting – now I really do have to get cracking on more.
Hi Jo – I enjoyed reading your post. I’m always interested in foreign places and true life stories. I look forward to reading more sections of your memoir whenever you’d like to post them.
Thanks Natalie 🙂 Seems like I need to get organised and get writing. Thanks for the nudge 🙂
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
What a fascinating life, Jo and I totally enjoyed your first post about living abroad. I can’t imagine having a baby and not having the comforts that Australia provides but it would certainly have built your inner strength. Thank you for linking up and sharing at #MLSTL and I can’t wait to read the next instalment. Have a great week! I’ve shared on social media.
Hi Sue, and thank you 🙂 Yes, moving does build an inner strength and we were lucky that it also brought us close as a family despite not having Western comforts a lot of the time.
Hi, Jo – Nice to meet you at #MSLTL. I too was an Expat (Beijing, 14 years) and can relate to so much that you have written. Yes, please share regular snippets from your Memoir on your blog. I would love to read more!
Hi Donna, oh that’s so interesting … Beijing must have been wonderful, challenging, inspiring, incredible. It’s so lovely to meet another expat online. Thank you for reading 🙂
Life Images by Jill
I loved reading this Jo, and I hope that you will post your memoir as you finish each bit. You have led such an interesting life, unlike myself whose biggest move was from Perth to Bunbury when I was a newly married 20 year old. I am looking forward to reading more Jo.
Thank you Jill. It’s time to dig out all my old notes and diaries and bric-a-brac from our peripatetic lives. But, I don’t think you, or anyone else who has lived in pretty much the same place all their lives, is any less interesting than someone who has moved around a lot. You would know a lot about a little and have heaps to say, whereas perhaps I know a little about a lot and could be more shallow 😉
What an interesting life you’ve had. As a genealogist & family historian I’m aware of the importance of Memoir. I would look forward to reading more of your memoir.
Thanks Jennifer. How very interesting your job must be. Yes, I can understand how memoir would be significant.