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Vivian Chiona reviews: The Mobile Life

I first heard about The Mobile Life a few months ago, while attending an ACCESS workshop hosted by Parker. I was impressed with her knack for clearly expressing the often-complex feelings of expats and felt compelled to read the book immediately. Then, as fate would have it, I later found myself at a workshop hosted Families in Global Transition – Dutch Affiliate, at which Lemieux was a guest speaker. This is certainly the first book I’ve reviewed after meeting both co-authors at two separate workshops!

The Mobile Life describes, in 180 pages, how you can plan and build a successful life for yourself (and your family) anywhere in the world. Initially I thought the book was aimed only at those who are about to move or have recently relocated. However, the second half in fact addresses all expats, no matter which phase of your international experience or how many times you have moved. This section explores the basic idea of how to enjoy your mobile life to the fullest.

I love how each chapter links the amazing story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic expedition to the skills, tools and mindset that help expats manage the transition to creating a new life anywhere – it’s a lovely, inspiring analogy. And as for those tools, I particularly enjoyed the exercise in which the authors (through some thought-provoking questions) encourage us to think of our international experience according to three ‘maps’:

  1. Your physical map: what conditions you expect to find in the new destination; e.g. personal environment (such as neighbourhood, safety, amenities), professional environment, community environment
  2. Your activity map: the lifestyle you lead (e.g. activities, routines, leisure time)
  3. Your identity map: who you see yourself as being

Lemieux and Parker also include a useful checklist for preparing your move as well as some resources for further reading. My only suggestion regarding room for improvement would be to include visuals in the book, to help us better grasp some of the key concepts.

I highly recommend The Mobile Life for all expats. The book gives a wealth of practical suggestions on how to approach the challenge of a move abroad: how to be prepared, adapt and engage with your new life. It’s easy to read, useful and informative!

Have you read The Mobile Life? What other books have helped or inspired you during your expat experience? We’d love to hear all about it.

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© Vivian Chiona

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