When Your Expat Plan Doesn’t Go To Plan…

Expat Plan

Just when everything starts to feel right, everything changes again. Sound familiar? Yep, another move is on the cards.

This was not in the plan. The *plan* was to do 3-4 years in Bangkok and then move back to England.

Well, that plan didn’t happen.

I worried about a lot of things before we moved to Thailand. My husband hating his job was not one of them. But that’s what happened. Just when I’d got into my groove – made friends, found myself smiling when I walked down the street because I WAS MAKING THIS WORK!! – was when the penny dropped. Things were working out great for me, but not for him. Outside work – everything was wonderful. But at work…not so much. And life’s too short and too precious to be made completely miserable by a job.

I didn’t want to leave Bangkok, but that was preferable to seeing my usually un-stressable husband stressed to his limit. And when I say see him…I hardly ever saw him because he was always at the office.

So, two years in and my husband moved to Germany while I stayed in Bangkok to see out the school year and then up sticks to Deutschland…which, I may remind you, was NOT IN THE PLAN.

But, you know, you deal with stuff. So we came up with a new plan. I won’t give the plan an identifying letter, because by the time I get to the end of this post I will be at Plan Z. The new plan was we’d stay in Germany for a good few years. I was pitching for 5 years, minimum. We liked it, the work/life balance was great, we love the school, it’s not far from family back in the UK. We got a dog, we started to feel settled.

And then, once again – plot twist! – my husband’s company division was sold off. Yep, the stable, family owned company that we thought would be practically a ‘job for life’. Who’d have thunk it? Not me. And not after only having moved four months previously…

Fast forward to now…

Well, there is good news. My husband has found a job with another company, and it’s one he’s really excited about.

The not so good news is…it’s in Paris.


Yes, I KNOW that Paris is wonderful, and excuse me for my moan, but I think where we are right now is wonderful. It’s been nearly two years of putting in the effort and making friends. Creating a new mental map of a whole new place. Finding a doctor, a dentist, learning the language (ahem, learning a bit of the language), figuring out where best to buy groceries…basically just building a life. And one that we love.

But hang on. We’re not moving…yet. Because – for all the reasons I have ranted about above – we decided the kids and I will stay here and my husband will commute. The idea – I’m not going to say ‘the plan’ because as soon as I utter those words everything cocks up – is that we’ll do this so he can get sorted in his new job and we’ll move next summer.

Seems sensible? Or stupid?

Well we’ve made the choice now and we’re going to have to make it work.

If we’d stuck to the original plan, we’d be about to leave Bangkok now. Possibly without my husband as the stress may have killed him. We wouldn’t have had all these great experiences in Germany. He wouldn’t have found this great new role. We wouldn’t have a dog.

It’s a bit like that film, Sliding Doors, where you can imagine the different outcome of your life had you made a different choice. But I think that, plan or no plan, right here is where I am meant to be right now.

As a wise man once said (or rather sang) –

Expat Plan


And, do you know what’s funny? When I searched online for that quote, this was the first thing that came up:

Expat Plan

Ok, so it’s not exactly serendipity (I was searching John Lennon quote…and this is a John Lennon quote – so exactly what I had looked for. Which makes it the opposite of serendipity). But in writing this post I was in danger of kicking myself off again on the worry cycle. So thanks John, this is exactly what I needed to hear. You always were my favourite Beatle.

11 Replies to “When Your Expat Plan Doesn’t Go To Plan…”

  1. Tracy Ainsley says: Reply

    Such wise words and a wonderfully honest and positive perspective. Wishing you all.the best with the next chapter.

    These blogs are for revisiting .I need a hard copy of these in a book with your beautiful photos..x

    1. makingherehome says: Reply

      Thank you so much Tracy! That means a lot x

  2. Natalie Stonebank says: Reply

    Another great blog Bec, and if anyone can make the most out of things and make it work for you all it’s YOU! ?

    1. makingherehome says: Reply

      Thank you – it’s always made easier when you have a supportive family xxxx

  3. Gale Bailey MBE says: Reply

    Loved reading yet another one of your episodes. With your attitude to life, I just know things will work out fine no matter where you are. Keep me posted! X

    1. makingherehome says: Reply

      Thank you Gale! I’m sure there’ll be some ups and downs in the next year…but at least it won’t be boring! x

  4. I hear your frustrations. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just set up shop and that would be it? I think your move from Bangkok was a brave one because when something isn’t working it is important to step back and re-evaluate. And while it may not feel like you are following any sort of plan, I think you are working towards your ‘big picture’ plan with each move. You and your family have had these great experiences across the world. You’ve now found a place with great schools and communities and you’re closer to home which is great for the kids. I have no doubt you will establish this and more in Paris. Thinking you and excited to see where your new adventure takes you xx

    1. makingherehome says: Reply

      Thank you! I think you’re right about the ‘big picture’ – I always wanted to live overseas and love to travel, and with every move I feel I am learning more. Paris will be great I am sure…the next step is to go and get my head around schools (always my #1 priority) and then make everything work around that. Are you in Canada now? I hope things are working out x

  5. I can understand school being a priority. Let me know if you need any help. I have a friend who’s brother teaches in Paris, so may be a resource for fielding questions. Yes we have arrived in Canada. We’re slowly adjusting to suburbia and I am welcoming the time to figure out my next steps career wise. My husband is impatiently waiting for his visa aka- right to work. Fingers crossed it arrives soon. x

  6. Lisa Gloe Palacios says: Reply

    Our family just moved to Paris in Aug for expat position 2-3 years with our 14 and 16 year old girls. Let me know if you have any questions and if you’d like me to help you with anything. 🙂 Lisa

    1. makingherehome says: Reply

      Ah Lisa, that’s so kind of you! Thank you, and I hope you are starting to feel at home in Paris ?

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