How to Survive Living Several Time Zones Away

At certain points in our lives we may find ourselves separated from those that we love and care about. No matter where we go we can, and will always make new friends and connections, but nothing compares to ‘home’. The personal bonds we make with our family and friends as we grow up are some of the strongest connections we will have in our lives. “Family” today has many definitions, and may not be the old-fashioned ‘Nuclear Family’, but it is our family nonetheless.

So what happens when we grow wings and want to explore the world? What happens if we have the chance to study abroad or land the job of our dreams in a foreign country? How do we cope? How do we stay connected to those that we love? Continue reading

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8 Simple Rules to Successfully Live With Other People Anywhere in the World

Pretty much since I turned 18 I have lived in various, random situations. I stayed with friends for a few months. I lived with a married couple for a couple of years. I lived with a roommate for a year until she married. I lived with 5 girls…then 4, then 3, then 2… as they all married off. I lived with 2 different families for a period of months, and on occasion out of my car while staying with friends. I lived on my own for 5 months and then my sister and I had an apartment for 2 years. After that I lived with twin girls until one got married after 6 months and then just one of the twins and I lived together for 2 years. After that I stayed with relatives for a year, and saved money to move to Germany. Once I was in Germany, I stayed with friends, stayed in hostels, stayed with family, stayed in hotels, camped in the middle of a meadow and at a campground. I visited the homes of couchsurfing hosts, and I worked as a nanny. Then, I moved back to the states and stayed with my brother and his wife.

If I have learned anything from all of these situations it is that you need to follow some simple rules in order to maintain happiness and minimize stress and annoyance. Whether it be with a family, with roommates, as a nanny, couchsurfing, or in hostels, you should always try to follow these simple rules: Continue reading

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That Time I Lied to The Immigration Officer

Anyone who has traveled to a foreign country or even merely boarded a plane has experienced security or immigration. It seems that even if you know that you have done absolutely nothing wrong it is still scary!

It’s the same feeling I get when a cop pulls up behind me as I am driving. I immediately look down at my speedometer and recount the last few minutes or driving. Was I speeding? Did I swerve wrong? Did I not stop completely? I did pay that registration….right?? In the more practical part of my mind I do realize that the officer is simply sharing the same road as me, and I have not broken any rules. It is just for the first few panicky moments, and perhaps until I finally see him drive out of sight that I am compelled to drive like the instructor is still sitting in the car beside me. Continue reading

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