My Expat Story: Nina Hobson

My Expat Story: Nina Hobson

A British expat in Chile

At Global Living Magazine we want to connect with our readers. We want to know what you’re all about, what you love, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. The best way to do this? Hear it straight from you!*

Nina Hobson is a seasoned expat, having lived in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Currently based in Santiago de Chile, she is rarely seen without a passport, lipgloss or her kids in tow. She edits The Expater (www.theexpater.com) – a website with tips and real life stories on everything expat lifestyle related, including careers, wellness, fashion, beauty and travel. This is her expat story.

Where have you lived around the world? Favorite places?

I’ve lived in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland as well as more far flung locations including Syria, Angola and India. Home for now is Santiago de Chile.

It’s hard to say which are my favourites. Every expat adventure has taught me a lot. Angola was perhaps the toughest experience, but also the place where I learnt the most. I feel I owe Angola a lot in terms of discovering myself, what I wanted out of life and just how incredibly fortunate I am.

(Pre-civil war) Syria was fabulous, I made wonderful friends for life in India, but so far, bearing in mind my current situation in life, I think Chile is the best place for me right now.

What is your favorite part of expatriate life?

Meeting new people from all walks of life, the fact that even mundane tasks like grocery shopping can turn into incredible adventures and pretending to get by in new languages. I’ve had my fair share of lingo mix ups (congratulating a man on his wife’s death springs to mind), but I do relish the opportunity to experience new languages and cultures.

In terms of my career, I’m lucky that my blog can follow me wherever we travel. Living abroad certainly provides interesting content – studying at a rather radical mosque in Damascus, living in an Ashram in the Indian Himalayas, waking up to incredible views of the Alps in Switzerland… expat life is rarely dull.

What has been the hardest part?

The constant house moves are tough – on average I’ve moved home every six months for the past five years. Oh and after a while I start to miss home comforts – Sunday newspapers, British tea and dare I say it… baked beans.

Of course the bureaucracy can be a nightmare too and I’ve been caught in a few scrapes. On one occasion I was very nearly deported back ‘home’ to the UK.

Where would you want to move to eventually?

Right now, my family and I really love Chile and we hope to buy a home here. Having moved so much I can’t promise we’ll stay here forever, but I certainly hope to build roots in Santiago.

What’s your sense of home?

Home for me is where my immediate family are. Like any parent, if I know my kids are happy, safe and healthy then I feel content too.

Having said that, in order to feel grounded it’s also really important for me that I can connect with the country, that I can get by in the language and make friends I click with.

And while stuff is just stuff, I always take photos, my favourite scented candles, some good reads and my trusty pashmina along with me on my travels.

What advice would you give to first time expats?

Breathe. The relocation process can be very chaotic and unsettling. Even with the most professional relocation companies on our side and even moving to the most developed ‘first world’ countries, we’ve had our fair share of nightmares.

But the dust always settles and life nearly always starts to improve after the first few months.

I’d say do your research before you move. Social media and blogs were a godsend for me.

Then if it’s right for you really go for it. Put your all into the move. Get out there and make friends.

However, if after giving it a good shot things don’t work out, don’t feel any shame to press the abort button and move away.

Share anything else about your expat life that you’d like us to hear!

I love to hear from fellow expats who share the same passion for culture and adventure as I do.  I’m always learning from my fellow ‘Expaters’ on the places they now call home, sharing their tips on where to go, eat, party and relax on my site. Please do get in touch if you’re interested.

Find out more about Nina by visiting her website (www.theexpater.com) and follow her on Instagram (@theexpater), Twitter (@theexpater), Facebook (www.facebook.com/theexpater) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.co.uk/theexpater).

*If you’d like to be featured on our ‘My Expat Story’ section, send an email to Alison at info@globallivingmagazine.com and tell us about your experience as an expatriate by answering the above questions. Don’t forget to include a picture of yourself, the URL for your website/blog, and/or Twitter handle so we can help you connect with other expats from around the world.

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