The expat bubble

The Expat Bubble - A paved road in Singapore Botanic Gardens curving round to the right. There are lots of palm trees and green tropical plants, the sky is blue with a few clouds in the sky.

We just never know what’s around the corner.

I’m channelling all my inner zen today, Wanderlusters. It’s the 8th of January and I’ve successfully managed to not write anything yet this year. I thought this year might be different. Maybe I’d be more organised and have written something in advance (yeah, RIGHT). I’ve been determined to implement a bit more structure and regularity into the blog for 2020 and so far I’ve done close to NADA. Last year was everything that I want this year not to be in terms of the blog (in all fairness, it included a move where I managed us through an international relocation so, you know, perspective and all that).

I was determined it would be different

And then 2020 arrived complete with a hangover, 2 hyperactive kids who wouldn’t be starting school for another week and the growing sense of realisation that the wildfires in Australia were not only wild and completely and utterly out of control but getting worse by the hour. By the minute. Over the past week I know I haven’t been alone, frozen in horror while watching reports and updates come in from the mainstream media and on social media channels. The sheer size and scale of the destruction is incomprehensible and makes you wonder what the future of Australia will look like as it starts to rebuild itself.

2 days later my phone lit up with a news alert. A military leader in Iran, someone called General Soleimani, had been assassinated. Not long after, more messages came in.

“If you hear of people from your company being quietly moved out of the country then please let us know.”

The reality of a life I used to live

The words stared back at me from my phone. I knew what that meant. This was the reality of a life I used to live where on a normal day (most days, to be fair) you could forget that you lived in the Middle East where things could potentially get out of control and then be reminded, literally overnight, of what could happen. People there without the relative protection of a large international company that might assist with an emergency evacuation. A company that would have more resources to help with when to make that judgement call.

Bubble = disconnect

I’ve been watching in horror as events around the world have unfolded in places I used to call home. I feel disconnected. Not just from bushfires and Middle Eastern politics but also from Brexit and from Trump. Here in this safe little bubble it all seems so far removed from our life. It’s hard to fathom, as I put my kids on the school bus, that many Australian families suddenly don’t have schools to send their kids to. I can’t imagine the fury I would feel if I lived in the UK or US right now and was watching the news every day. I’d quickly forgotten, until this week, that feeling of unease, of having the grab bag packed. Just in case. (Check out my post on grab bags if you don’t know what they are). As I went to choir practice yesterday morning and stopped for lunch afterward, it was hard to imagine any of that.

Perspective and inner zen

Don’t worry

This isn’t a post about how down I’m feeling or that my mental health is suffering. It’s more the perspective that it all gives you: You look at all these things happening and how far removed you feel from it all. Suddenly it seems crass and unimportant to be posting about how your new year goals are to go meat-free 3x a week and to explore more of Singapore. Putting a picture up on Instagram from your favourite holiday in 2019 or publish a blog post with your recommendations for a trip to Namibia / Italy / Sri Lanka (insert destination as appropriate) just seems superficial and one-dimensional.

The best you

Trust Granny Wanderlust to help me make sense of it all. Yesterday she said – you just have to keep operating in your little microcosm, doing the very best that you can with the things that you can influence.

I guess the key to it all is that, as they say, you shouldn’t not climb the stairs just because someone else can’t. Quite the opposite, you should climb them because you can! However small, insignificant and inconsequential my goals might be, I’m not doing anyone any favours by not being the best person I can be. Brexit will still happen and those poor people in Australia will still need to rebuild their homes.

Maybe, just maybe, if I can be the best I can be then that will include achieving my little goals for making the world a better place. And if we can all do that then who knows what this next decade might look like.

Belated Happy New Year, Wanderlusters. I’m off to smash some goals.



The Expat Bubble - sometimes I feel so far removed from reality. From the things going on at home and even from the things going on in countries where we used to live. How do you channel that into positive energy? Read on to find out more...

Emma Morrell
Emma Morrell

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