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Columnists > Evelyn Simpson


Evelyn Simpson
Evelyn Simpson is a personal development coach who works with the accompanying partners of expats helping them to transition to expat life and to find happiness and fulfilment in their lives overseas. Evelyn has spent almost all of her adult life living as an expat on 3 continents and in 5 countries. She has worked as an expat, been an accompanying partner and has founded her own portable business, The Smart Expat, while overseas. Evelyn and her Australian husband have two children who have yet to live in either of their passport countries. You can learn more about Evelyn and her work at thesmartexpat.com where she blogs regularly about expat life.


Evelyn Simpson

2012 – A Year In Expat Books

Posted by: Carole on Friday January 11, 2013 (20:06:45)   (2797 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
2012 was a bumper year of new books for expats, thanks in no small part to Jo Parfitt’s Summertime Publishing which continues to lead the way in publishing all genres of books of interest to expats. I’m an avid reader of books that relate in some way to the experience of being an accompanying partner; memoirs, how-tos and novels. Here’s a sampling of some of my favourites from the year (including a few from my bookshelf that I’m dying to dip into but haven’t found the time).    more ...


Evelyn Simpson

Feel Like You’re On A Hamster Wheel? 7 Tips to Empower You To Step Off

Posted by: Carole on Monday November 19, 2012 (02:50:01)   (6432 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
Do you feel like you are on a hamster wheel? Running faster and faster but going nowhere. Most people experience this at some point in their lives and expats are no different. In fact, we might even be more prone than the average person to this overwhelmed feeling as, each time we move, we are starting again, learning to do the same old tricks in new ways. Of course, if you’re in this race without end, it seems inconceivable that you’ll ever be able to do anything else. There’s a fear that if you slow down or stop, you will only find yourself even further behind and even more stressed.

Over the years, I’ve found myself racing to stay still on more than one occasion (usually shortly after a move or other major transition). Everything tends to run smoothly for a while but then something happens, a sick child home from school, an unplanned business trip for my husband or even just an unexpectedly bad traffic jam on the Brussels Ring and the whole thing comes crashing down because there is absolutely no room for the unexpected in my schedule.    more ...


Evelyn Simpson

International Assignment - A Great Time To Start A Family…Or Not?

Posted by: Carole on Thursday October 18, 2012 (01:25:50)   (2669 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
Prevailing wisdom says that an international assignment is a great time to start a family, particularly when the accompanying partner is not able to work or has decided to take a break from working.

For a couple who are about to embark on an overseas assignment, the decision may seem straightforward. After all if you are not going to work for three years why not use the time to start a family? Maybe you’ll be able to avoid another career break for maternity leave at some point in the future? Besides having a baby to look after will give you a focus in life. But, as with many things in expat life, it’s just not that simple. Here are some of the issues to consider before you make a decision.*

• The level of prenatal care and delivery options in the host country may not be to the standard wanted or needed. The availability and logistics of medical care need to be carefully considered in advance. Few people expect to have a high-risk pregnancy but it is worth researching the care options for that possibility in advance. Families often find themselves split for weeks or even months if pregnancy complications mean that Mum has to be cared for in another country.    more ...


Evelyn Simpson

Career Choice And The Accompanying Partner

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday September 12, 2012 (13:40:51)   (2821 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
My decision to stop working shortly before I relocated from Hong Kong to Zurich to accompany my husband on a new international assignment was driven by a number of considerations. My eligibility for a work visa or not didn’t even come into the equation. I had no contacts in Switzerland who could help me find a job in my industry. We had a young baby and no idea where to look for appropriate childcare to give me the freedom to work and in reality I welcomed the break from an all-consuming career which I knew would be difficult to balance with the demands of family life.

Still, the fact that I had voluntarily resigned didn’t mean that the consequences of the decision were easy to live with. I struggled with loss of identity, with financial dependence and with finding ways to overcome the stretches of mind-numbing boredom that is part and parcel of being a stay-at-home parent.    more ...


Evelyn Simpson

The Fine Art Of Moving – Top Tips For Organising Your New Home

Posted by: Carole on Friday August 24, 2012 (01:42:05)   (9729 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
Like many expats at this time of year, I’m in the middle of moving house. This time though, I’m not moving country just to a town a few kilometres away, so it feels like it should be easy and in some ways it is. I know that if I need picture hooks I can go to my local Brico store, I don’t have to negotiate an unfamiliar route to get there and I have sufficient language skills to ensure that I can navigate any difficulties in the process. In other ways it is just the same as all of the other moves I have made.

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events. It’s up there with death of a family member, divorce and illness and has even been linked with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Every time I move house, I hope that the moving fairy will wave her magic wand and sort out my house for us, but sadly, no matter how much I believe, she’s a no-show and we have to get on with it ourselves.    more ...


Evelyn Simpson

5 Challenges Of Bringing Up Children Overseas

Posted by: Carole on Friday June 08, 2012 (00:29:24)   (2638 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
Last month I wrote about the 5 things my children have gained from living peripatetic lives in multiple countries and cultures. I realise that in writing the article, I ran the risk of sounding a little smug about our parenting decisions. But as any expat parent will confirm, we are constantly second-guessing whether or our less conventional lifestyle choices will benefit our children in the long run. That self-doubt is fuelled by some of the less appealing aspects of their lives:

1. Their experience doesn’t reflect reality
Here in our cosy little international school bubble, few of their friends’ parents are divorced and most of their friends’ families fit within a relatively narrow socio-economic band. The vast majority of families have one parent who is not working and whose primary focus is the children. It’s hard to paint a picture for them of how the real world is when THEIR reality is so different.    more ...


Evelyn Simpson

Five Things My Children Have Gained From Living Overseas

Posted by: Carole on Thursday May 10, 2012 (01:03:02)   (13131 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
I’ve met people who, on hearing about all the countries my family have lived in, suggest that I should be worried that our children are doomed to an adult life spent in therapy to recover from their peripatetic childhoods. In reality the things my husband and I worry about for our children are no different than they things that most people worry about: Are they happy? Are they doing well in school? Are they spending time with people who influence them positively? and so on. (If you are reading this, you are probably a parent so you know the drill!).

I have no doubt that their experiences are shaping them as individuals who are fundamentally different than they would have been if they were growing up solely in either of their passport countries.    more ...


Evelyn Simpson

7 Ways To Get The Support You Need

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday April 04, 2012 (23:40:31)   (10182 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
We all need support sometimes and I’m not talking about the type of support offered by Spanx that makes you look super-svelte in your figure hugging cocktail dress. I’m talking about the emotional and practical support we get from our families, our communities and our friends.

As accompanying partners we often find ourselves in new countries with an overwhelming list of things to do and emotional issues to deal with but we are doing it all without any of our familiar sources of support. Sometimes we even feel that, because many of the tasks are should be simple (they would be if we were on familiar territory) or perhaps because we are no longer bringing in an income, we should be doing everything ourselves.    more ...


Evelyn Simpson

Making The Decision Right

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday March 06, 2012 (03:50:11)   (2771 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
Last month, I wrote about acceptance of your life as it is today as the starting point for creating a fulfilling life overseas. In this month’s article I’ll be discussing building from that foundation and I’ll be focusing on three key elements:

• Mindset
• Values
• Action

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~ Mary Engelbreit

MINDSET – MAKING A CONSCIOUS CHOICE TO MOVE FORWARD

Of all the variables which affect an accompanying partner’s happiness in an expat assignment, mindset can be one of the most powerful. Simply put, if you think you are going to be happy, you will most likely be happy.    more ...


Evelyn Simpson

The Space Between

Posted by: Carole on Sunday February 05, 2012 (23:21:21)   (4847 Reads)
Evelyn Simpson
The initial flurry of unpacking and getting settled has passed, the excitement of the holidays is over and a more normal routine has begun to prevail.

For many accompanying partners, the realisation of what “normal” life will entail in a new country comes hand-in-hand with a true understanding of what overseas relocation means for their lives on a personal day-to-day basis. Many, even the strongest proponents of the decision to move, find that reality significantly different from expectations and many may doubt the wisdom of their decisions.

You may have thought that it would be a relief to have some time off from the daily grind of managing two careers and all that comes with it or that you would welcome a break as an opportunity for change. Instead you discover that you miss the satisfaction of an intellectual challenge, the independence of your own income, the fulfilment that comes with completing a project and the part of you that is separate from your partner and children.    more ...