Writing saved my life

November 9, 2009

Thank goodness I am a writer. If I weren’t then I doubt I’d have survived this merrygoround they call a mobile life. In the last 28 years I’ve lived in 6 different countries with four different languages, lost my identity and found it again. Boy, am I glad I ‘saved’ my life. Not only in the form of my memoir, a Moving Landscape, but using writing as a form of therapy has been a godsend. Read my post on the superb Expat Harem blog here and be sure to have your say . . .


Over the last few years I have found more than 10 authors for this great series for Kuperard. Now, they want to update their India book, can anyone help?

Please contact me in the first instance.


Kuperard’s Culture Smart guides are short introductory books that alert
first-time visitors to the values and attitudes of different countries. They
do not duplicate the hard information given in conventional guidebooks but
rather focus on the human dimension, on a country’s culture, so as to enable
foreign visitors both to be understanding guests and to get the most out of
their visit. They tell you how people see themselves, and why, and something
of their history, their collective experience, their manners, their private
and their working lives. They steer you through various situations, helping
you to avoid awkward gaffes and misunderstandings.

There are seventy-four titles in the series so far, which has had good
reviews in The Observer, Sunday Telegraph and New York Times. The books have
appeared on CNN’s Travel website, and have featured on BBC World’s weekly
travel programme “Fast Track”. There is more about them on our website:

Kuperard plans to publish a completely new volume on India next year. The
book will follow an established series format, and the text will be between
28,000 and 30,000 words long. The fee is £1,000, payable half on receipt and
acceptance of the ms, and half thirty days afterwards. The ideal author is
an English-speaking expatriate who has lived in the country for some time
and is thoroughly well versed in the local culture.

If the idea of writing Culture Smart! India appeals to you, please contact Jo Parfitt in the first instance.

Jo Parfitt's poetry memoir A Moving Landscape

Jo Parfitt's poetry memoir A Moving Landscape

I can’t believe it, but I just wrote my 26th book. It’s been a scary old process this, because, for the first time ever, I am publishing my poetry and my memoir at the same time. Yep, that’s right. My life in verse. You see, I don’t admit it to everyone, but I write poetry too. Non-fiction, fiction, journalism AND poetry. So there you have it, 30 or so years of my life exposed for all to see. Those who did know of my poetry habit have been begging me to publish for years, so I guess I wrote it for you.

In this month’s Acclimate, the expat mag from Bangkok, they have published a preview selection of poems.

If you would like a review copy for your publication, then go ahead and send me your address and I’ll post you one. If you want it faster, I can send you a PDF.

You can order it on Amazon too.


If you want to find out about the best expat conference and the wisdom of this year’s opening and closing keynote speakers, then you can read about it on the Telegraph’s website.

Doug Ota spoke about growing through grief, and 17 year old expat kid and author at 13, Anika Smit spoke about her life. A truly inspiring conference that you should pledge to be part of next year. Take a look at http://www.figt.org

Living-your-best-life-abroad-webWho would have believed that less than 9 months ago, Jeanne Heinzer had not even started writing her book? Now, it is not only written but it is in print and available on Amazon worldwide. It’s a super book and I am delighted to have been Jeanne’s mentor, content editor and publisher for this project.

Written for accompanying partners of those of international assignment, this book will help the reader to assess her life and work out the steps she needs to take to make this life the best, happiest and most fulfilling it can be. It is no secret that the happiness of the spouse has a huge impact on the success of an assignment, so companies take note – buy this for your spouses and ensure that you don’t end up having to send your best employees home just because their wife could not settle.

I was very impressed by Paul Allen’s ebook entitled Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Paul is a journo, living (lucky thing) in Catalonia, in Spain, and his book is no less than I would have expected from someone who has been trained to be thorough. Moreover, he has the proof and the statistics to back up his advice. If you are thinking of moving abroad this book will help you turn over every stone and consider the reality of your proposal. It really is a terrific book and, to my mind, the first of its kind. Find out more at his website expatliving 101 here.

I was delighted to finally get to meet Brandi McCollom last week. It seems she is set to be the new mover and shaker of the the expat world in the Netherlands and currently has the bit firmly between her teeth.

The 2009 Expat Family Support Services Survey & Conference Series is on its way!

The event, the first in an ongoing series, will follow an Expat Family Support Services Survey that can be completed by going to http://www.familycentered.nl/survey.html . Please complete this before May 7th.

‘Building on the strengths of our community, practitioners are stepping up and taking action to provide a solution based initiative, connecting the Dutch and international support services for expat and Dutch families,’ Brandi says.

McCollom who is a Cognitive Behavioural Consultant at Family Centred Consulting Services is collaborating with the Hague University and Deirdre Budd, Sleep Consultant R.G.N. H.V. Dip.R., of Dream Angus. Together they have set out to take the pulse of the current needs of expat families in this community along with pin pointing the gap between services and access to create practical solutions. The survey provides a platform for expat families to voice their concerns and desires for family and community services.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The 2009 Expat Family Support Services Conference is coming June 6th, 2009 and the International Special Needs Resource Conference is coming June 14th, 2009. For more details and updates on the conferences or for more information on the practice of Family Centered Consulting Services (FCCS) visit http://www.familycentered.nl . For more information on the practice of Dream Angus http://www.dreamangus.com .

Don’t miss the opportunity to be involved and please, don’t forget to do the survey – you only have until May 7th do this.

Read this interview with me by Prospects magazine about why you need to learn a language here.

a-moving-landscape-cover-web1I am delighted to announce that within minutes of my 26th book being published Craig Toedtman, President of Options Resource Careers in PA ordered 200 copies for his clients.

‘This will be a great addition to our packets….with hopes of many more orders to come!’ wrote Craig in an email to me in which he confirmed his order.

A Moving Landscape is my memoir in poetry of the 21 years I spent overseas, moving from Dubai to Oman, to Norway, England and now to the Netherlands. It tells of reality of culture shock and loss and settling in as well as the immense pleasure I have derived from the variety of landscapes in which I have had the privilege to live.

Last day to sign up to FIGT

February 25, 2009

Don’t miss the best expat conference in the world at Families in Global Transition. On from 5-7 March, you will see me there, giving a pre-conference workshop on Writing Life Story. As part of the program committee I know just who’s going to be on the program. Don’t miss some great keynotes and workshops. Today is the last day to register so hurry.