…or some of the stuff that helps me navigate expat life

If you’re running late in getting Christmas presents, you’re definitely in good company. Here’s some food for thought (and gifts!) for the expat(s) in your life. You might decide to include some of those in your own letter to Santa 🙂

Note: This is not a sponsored post and I’m not getting any commissions. These are just things that help me navigate expat life on a daily basis. If you’re an expat or have expats in your life, this list may come handy. I’ve divided it in four categories: lifestyle, career, self care and inspiration with a few suggestions under each category – which hopefully will spark some more ideas!

Lifestyle

AirPods: Being able to move around freely with those – especially when traveling or on the go in general is life-changing for me. Tips: 1) Invest in a silicon case, or you’ll end up with cracks on your precious pods within the first few weeks (just like I did) 2) Be discerning about who you gift those to – not for the ones who (bless them) keep losing their headset.

Bluetooth speaker: Love this one, because it produces high-quality sound, but is small enough to take anywhere.

Language lessons: Rosetta Stone is my favorite here – they make learning a new language easy, fun and fast — great for someone landing in a new place and needing to get up to speed ASAP.

Laptop bag: This one is a huge deal for me – it must fit my laptop and chargers, plus my personal items (passport, wallet, phone), the Ziploc bag with my liquids and also be comfortable to carry. It can be a backpack or something like this — it’s a matter of taste.

Career

Steal the Show (book): Public speaking has always intimidated me, but I’ve been doing more and more of it for my work (and have even started to enjoy it!) and this book breaks down the whole process (from prep to delivery to follow up) and principles behind it. Extremely practical and approachable, written by a former professional actor, turned speaker and public speaking coach.

The Expat Creative Writer (course): Many expats are aspiring (or actual) writers; give them the tools to find their voice and write their story – or whatever else they want to write. This course is the first one of its kind – i.e. targeted specifically at expat writers – that I know.

Babysitting services: As expats, we usually don’t have the kind of support system we would have at home, especially when it comes to childcare. Whether the expat in your life is an expat partner building up or running their own business, a busy dual-career couple or a stay-at-home parent who needs a couple of hours of me-time, babysitting is always a welcome gift. I’m sure one of your local babysitting services will be happy to issue a gift certificate.

Self-Care

Meditation app: Last January I bought an annual membership to the Calm app to try it out. I’ve now been meditating for 337 straight days and it has changed my life. This is my personal favorite, but there are, of course, many apps out there, most of them offering such memberships – for instance, Headspace.

Yoga (or other) classes: What form of exercise does the expat in your life prefer? Whether it’s yoga, ballet, pilates or barre, get them a gift certificate for a set of classes. Exercise is the gift that keeps on giving and, particularly for those of us leading a mobile life, an essential element of self-care. You might feel like throwing in a travel yoga mat too.

Pillow spray: For those of us who travel and move around a lot, it’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep when away from home. My friend Chiara who gave this to me (see photo above) swore it brings instant sleep 🙂 (and it smells divine). Here’s another example.

Inspiration

I love giving books as holiday presents. Here are some of the ones I’m gifting this year (some new, some classics) to inspire the beginning of a new decade:

Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo. Love the book, but even more, love the philosophy behind it. Whether it’s building a business, facing a difficult personal situation or going through a big transition (welcome to expat life!), this book is both incredibly empowering and full of practical advice.

The Second Mountain by David Brooks. Beautiful, honest, vulnerable, part-memoir and part philosophy of life. If it doesn’t make you reassess where you are in life, at least it will make you think.

The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. A short but sweet book about relationships and the emotions that make us human — Love and Fear — as well as about the fact that, at the end of the day, we are responsible for our own happiness.

 

Happy holidays and have a fantastic start to your new decade!

Katia