/ expat tips

The FootlooseBook: the book of the expats

How interesting could be to read a book about someone else's experiences and find some of yours there too? It's even more interesting to find yourself thinking out loud at every chapter and saying if you agree or not with the writer or if that specific situation has happened to you too.

This is the effect of the FootlooseBook to an expat.

Let’s try to start from the beginning, what is this book about and who wrote it?! To explain it I will use the words of the author, Marianna Kisvardai: «I was moving between countries and continents and taking notes for over a decade. They served me as notes of learnings and conclusions and as a conversation with myself to dispense the thoughts that I couldn't share in that moment. Last year, I was sitting with my old journals and I was keen to start writing.[…] I opened those old notes and travelled back in time to revive my memories. I am not a writer. But I wrote and wrote and all was pouring out of me. Some stories came with great details, some are small snippets as examples, but hand on heart, I wanted to mention everything with a hope that it might help others on the go.»

From the heart it comes and to the heart it arrives. Reading the pages of this long trip it is possible to feel Marianna’s emotion, for example the first time she left her home Country and started her adventure, you get the anxiety, the fear and, at the same time, the excitement to begin her first adventure in St.Thomas as an intern. Going to live so far from home, packing your own life in few suitcases, meeting people you have no idea who they are and need to trust them using a language that most probably is not native for none of you and try to figure out culture and mentality of your new City and new friends… this is what happens when you make such a brave decision.

But not only expats can find similarities in the stories that Marianna tells in the book. What about going in a restaurant for the first time as a solo-traveler in a new City? I am sure everyone has experienced a weird feeling that time and their minds had a lot of no sense because of the location of the table, people around, how the waiter was talking and looking at them. Didn’t you feel a weirdo the first time you asked for a table for one and sat down with nobody to talk to?

Interesting topics then, the journey is not only about what we see and where we go, but who we are and what we start facing everyday, small and big problems. «Your social media wall is packed with stunning photos and it all looks like a dream come true. Admitting your confusions, jumping emotions and the frequent thought that I could be better off at home or somewhere else, is not part of the ideal travel-life cliché. There is nobody to talk to about the downsides. You don’t want to worry your family, you don’t want to disappoint your friends whom are encouraging you to pursue what you have started»

I must add that it is just at the beginning that you actually talk to nobody about the downs, instead it lasts forever the attempt of don't make your family worried. Who you become is a more responsible person, a problem solver, an improviser. Also, and it is another interesting chapter of the book, you have to find a balance with your real time relationships and the distant ones. It is not only about having a partner, also how and when sharing your life with friends & family far from you. «Sometimes I was sitting at Guadalquivir River looking to the entire sunset through my phone screen [..] I haven’t seen the real version of it. I was busy recording»

I realized how true it is while reading this sentence, we are obsessed to share things we do with people and we forget to really enjoy them. We meant well as we want to involve who is far from us, share part of our day, but we often forget to live that moment and keep, at least, part of it only for ourselves.

What a great idea was to introduce in the FootlooseBook the Drip-Drops at the end of every chapter and topic? Those pages are the takeaway of the story, the outcome, the result of what Marianna has learned from her experiences. Also the book can be “interactive” with some chapters… do you want to know how? you must read it!

«My book is about this inner- flexing. Packed with real life examples and exercises for you to be able to select and then absorb the most useful tips. I aim to help you to build a new superpower, called mental stamina. I promise you that it will go well with your all-rounder foxy survival tricks. »

There are many ways to make our journey in this life becomes unforgettable, we might take everything we learn only for us, but I truly believe sharing it, in any way it fits you, is the best choice and gift we can do to others and ourselves.