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Expat in South Africa, Fiji, Antigua & Barbuda: Laura's Story

We often talk about people who move abroad, choosing a specific Country and, maybe, a specific work. Or we have also listened and read about people who have moved and kept on moving from a place to another due to their partner or their partner's job, that requires so.

Today we would like to talk about Laura, who decided quite recently to move abroad and she moved to different Countries. Talking to her during our live chat on Instagram,we understood she is not seeing herself in a specific place, instead she feels more a world citizen and still wants to travel and live a bit here and a bit there, probably, with some preferences, and a bare feet life is also really attractive to her.

But let’s getting to know her better through her own words in this interview:

Laura, you have been living in Antigua & Barbuda, Fiji Islands, South Africa and Paris. They can have some similarities but also a lot of differences, could you name some?

Those places are very far from each other but they have a lot in common. Especially Fiji and South Africa, they share a lot. They have some issues due to different ethnic groups with distinct histories and traditions that often struggle to live together and, by the way, their tasty cuisines is the combination of this melting pot.

In Antigua & Barbuda you can find a lot of Africa too! They live in small villages sharing everything, living together as a big family and they are always very welcoming with strangers. Their cuisine is a mix of Caribbean and African tastes.

What made you choose these places?

Job ads! Just kidding (well not too much), I was looking for an experience abroad when I saw the ads about a job in the Caribbean and I applied for it! Same story about South Africa and Fiji, I keep on trying 😊 and I have to say that I really love sunny places!

What was the most difficult one to settle in and why?

South Africa, definitely! I lived in Cape Town, a buzzing modern metropolis, about 5M people, beautiful beaches, mountain hikes, high class restaurants and many other amenities. In South Africa approximately 55.5% of the population is living in poverty. You can see a lot of homeless, people begging for food every single day, outside every shop. Always. Everywhere. After 6pm you cannot walk around, you must call an Uber, also if you live 200mt away. It's heart breaking. I cannot stand so much sadness.

Expat South Africa

What is your favourite and what the one you liked less and why?

Fiji will always be my second home. I dream about coming back there every night! I fell in love with its traditions, its food, its places and of course, its people. I cannot say I don't like South-Africa, because I had great time there too but I do not feel the so called "Africa Sickness".

A "MUST VISIT/DO" and "MUST EAT/DRINK" for each place?

*In Antigua you cannot leave without swimming with a stingray and don't forget to taste the delicious local breakfast: salt fish, a salt-cured, dried white fish flaked into pieces and sautéed with onions and peppers, chop-up, a soft vegetal mash of okra, pumpkin, eggplant, and spinach, mashroom, a mild polenta-like cornmeal dish. On the side, Johnny cakes, a subtly sweet fried bread.*

*In Barbuda you can find a 17-mile-long beach, in a light pink shade, called Princess Diana Beach in honor of Princess Diana, who loved vacationing there and you can taste the best lobster ever, grilled and in a mango sauce.*

Fijiis an archipelago of more than 330 wonderful islands so it's difficult to choose just one attraction. But if I must pick one, I recommend you a visit to the Navala village, one of the few settlements in Fiji which remains fully traditional architecturally with the bure, traditional Fijian home and here you can drink kava, Fiji's national drink.*

When it comes to eat, my favourite dish is lovo. A variety of meats, fishes and vegetables are wrapped in banana leaves and placed on hot rocks lining a shallow pit dug into the earth. The food is covered and left to slow-cook in the steamy oven, where the delicious flavours of the meats and local produce infuse with herbs and smoky flavours to produce a traditional Fijian feast. It's common on Sunday lunch or to celebrate great occasions.

*South Africa: In this Country, you can do and see a lot! Something I will eventually choose again is one of the top scenic drives in South Africa, the Garden Route that offers spectacular scenery, fascinating wildlife, and adrenaline-fueled adventures. The route stretches for more than 200 km from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River on the Eastern Cape, and snakes between soaring mountains and the surf-thrashed beaches of the Indian Ocean. Do you want to taste the national South-African dish? Try the bobotie, a casserole with a curried*ground beef at the bottom and a thin layer of egg custard on top.

What does expat life mean to you?

Expat life is challenging but, as you can say, no one queues for a flat rollercoaster, right? It's not always an easy life and it really pushes your boundaries on. But, I must say, that because of expat life you can find always a new routine and live a more happy life, be more satisfy about yourself and your goals.

Who is Laura today after all these adventures?

Today I can say I am more confident in myself, also independent and free and my priorities have totally changed. Of course sometimes I do overwhelm myself and challenging is part of my life, but I like it.

Thank you Laura for sharing with The Expat Magazine community your experience, it has been a pleasure talking to you and I must admit, I have added some places more on my “Must visit” list after meeting you.

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