2012 was a year of graduations, of new beginnings, of movings and endings and lots of changes. It also marks the year I began this blog, first intermittently and then more steadily as I began to settle in to life in France.
I’ve also spent a lot of time getting to know the blogsphere and discovering other blogs by expats and travelers, among other topics. I am continuously fascinated by the shared perspective of those living abroad, whether or not we experience foreign cultures differently. Some blogs I’ve followed faithfully from their first posts, several months ago, and some I’ve discovered recently.
I wanted to share with you my top five Expat blogs. I’ve read many different types, from travel journals to professional food photography. While each has value, I decided to limit the blogs I’d describe by creating a set of rules: The writer has to be an American who has lived abroad continuously for a few months and has been writing for at least three months.
My Top 5 Expat blogs of 2012
1-The first blog is called Arabic Zeal and is written by an American named Holly who currently resides in Dubai with her Palestinian husband and three kids. I fell in love with this blog back in 2011, with its gorgeous design, professional photography, and skillful writing. I am incredibly interested in Arabic culture and found myself mesmerized by Holly’s life and perspective. Her blog has become more and more centered on food, making it into a hybrid of travel/food culture as well as a narrative on life abroad, but I like that we can experience Dubai and Holly’s travels through the recipes and photos that she posts. I encourage you to take a look at Arabic Zeal if you’d like to step into the land of One Thousand and One Nights.
2-The author of my second blog I knew personally at my Alma Mater, as we took an English class together, back when she was pursuing a creative writing degree. Whitney has since moved to Senegal, where she has embarked on a Peace Corps adventure that reads like a novel. On It’s Time for Africa!, you get a taste for what life in this amazing African country has to offer as well as get to know the fascinating people who live there. Whitney’s writing often reads like prose and her blog is as vibrant as her personality. Trust me, you’ll get hooked by her infrequent yet immensely rich posts.
3-The third blog might be a relatively recent discovery for me, but Becca’s blog Fumbling toward home (which I discovered under the name of Paris at my Doorstep) has chronicled her and her husband’s adventures living in Edinburgh, Scotland for five years and then a year in Paris, before they repatriated to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which to many is as much a foreign experience as any. The years and experience of blog writing is evident, as well as Becca’s passion for photography. The posts are frequent, full of beautiful photography and insightful comments. Becca and her husband Scotty travel extensively, and it will still take me some time to sort through the many posts of the past few years. I’ve been reading beginning with their year living in France, as it is more recent and more familiar to me as an Expat in France.
4-chanceofsun is as whimsical and sunny as the author, Christina, an Arizona native who moved to Düsseldorf, Germany with her German husband in 2011. In it she expresses some of her personal takes on life abroad, from remarks on the weather to her daily struggles and delights. She has also been adding snapshots that are just as expressive and delightful as her short but satisfying blog posts. With my introduction to the German culture over the past few months, I am always delighted to read a post by Christina with her “adventures, impressions, and random thoughts.”
5-My last blog brings back memories of my high school days during my Gap year in Geneva. Although Maddi is mostly addressing friends and family back home, I feel like I have gotten to know her through her blog 3805miles where she takes us through life in a French high school, with a French family, and French and international friends in Toulouse, France. Maddi is hilarious and offers us a unique snapshot of high school life abroad. I have personally discovered many elements of French society of which I have been unaware until Maddi posted about them. She is also a talented photographer and conveys the many serendipities of a high school exchange.
I also wanted to briefly mention two blogs that don’t fit my rules but are worth sharing:
My French Heaven is written by Frenchman Stéphane Gabart who lived for ten years in the United States before returning to his homeland. His blog is superb and has the advantage of being written in both English and French, which is a great exercise for those who would like to read natural, colloquial French while still relying on the English version for comprehension’s sake. His posts are always mouth-watering, with beautiful photographs and tasty recipes as Stéphane describes all the elements that make French food and culture renowned worldwide.
Outside Looking In also didn’t qualify because it is brand new, but I find it has great potential to be one of my favorite Expat blogs. Going under the name Bosmosis, the author is an American who has been living in South Korea for fifteen years and is mainly targeting the expat community abroad. He writes,
“I’d like to welcome anyone who is living in the cultural space between the motherland and some other place. My goal here is to create a space for thoughtful global citizens to meet, have a laugh, and reflect on life on the outside looking in.”
I look forward to sharing my thoughts and getting to know more of the global expat community.