Friday, 8 July 2011

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing... Alexandra Lawrence

The Accidental Expat

I never meant to become an expat, it really wasn’t intentional! I sometimes wonder how on earth it all happened and when I look back on the last two years of planning, research and paperwork a lot of it is like a weird surreal dream.

After having a child, our priorities changed. We wanted a bigger house with land and space – no more neighbours living on top of us, (although we did have lovely neighbours), just fresh air and room for our little boy to run riot.

We searched and searched and soon realised that we simply couldn’t make this happen in the UK. Land was so very expensive and in areas where it was cheaper there wasn’t any work so at this point we started to look further afield.

After months of research looking at economies, education, healthcare and climate our dream took us to Canada, Atlantic Canada to be more precise and Nova Scotia to be exact. It all seemed to fall into place without any great effort on our parts so I figure it must have been destiny. Not that the immigration and work permit paperwork wasn’t a huge headache, but on the whole it was a very smooth process. The hardest part was telling my parents that we were leaving as we saw them all the time, but I have made them promise to visit and we can chat online.

I have personally found the internet to be an incredibly valuable resource. I have made so many connections and friends through the likes of Twitter and Facebook – far more than I would ever have made otherwise. I’ve joined some Expat sites too as I would love to be able to offer help and advice to others following the same path.

Lots of our friends and family wanted to keep in touch with us and follow our adventures so I decided to start a blog and that decision has been like an epiphany! I suddenly discovered that I loved to write and people were enjoying my posts. I had always had a hankering for writing a book, but had never had the time to try. Now that we have moved half way round the world and I don’t actually need to work I have finally got started on something I’d only dreamt about since childhood. Who would have thought that becoming an expat in beautiful Canada would open so many doors and give me the confidence to try something completely new. I have also discovered that writing soothes me, it’s good for my soul and my sanity and much cheaper than therapy! Whenever I get worked up about something I write it all down and feel so much better, and I’m getting great material for when I start my book!

I’ve only been an expat, all be it an accidental one, for 10 weeks so there is still a long road ahead with many challenges, but so far it’s been great. We’ve had some ups, downs and sideways moments plus some cultural misunderstandings, but I guess that is to be expected. For the most part all the Canadians we’ve met have been lovely and even the staff in shops are so incredibly polite and friendly – it’s like a breath of fresh air.

We’ve had a lot of adventures in a short space of time including rescuing a motorhome that had driven off the road, going to our very first rock concert, experiencing our first Canada Day, hiking in the wilderness, canoeing and just popping off to the beach. I consider us the luckiest family alive to have the opportunity to experience all these new things and what a great education for our son. We did a lot of travelling around Atlantic Canada whilst doing our research trips – 18,000kms in 16 weeks and saw some amazing sights. Canada is such a vast and beautiful country that I’m sure we could spend the rest of our lives travelling and not see even a fraction of it, but we will try our best whenever we get the chance. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, clean, wild and friendly – what more could anyone want?

Alexandra and her family have been living in Nova Scotia, Canada since April this year having made the decision to leave the UK for a life overseas. Alexandra was a teacher in the UK whilst her partner had his own business designing electronics for promotional campaigns for companies like Nintento, Sony Ericsson and Audi. Follow their adventures on Alexandra's blog


  1. Sounds similar to my experience - found ourselves unable to afford a house in the UK so we decided to move to Portugal. Now, back in the UK, I'm making plans to go to Romania for the same reason yet again!

  2. Hi Katy, missed the opportunity to guest blog last week (you PM-ed me on Twitter). Can I write a post about my experiences this week instead? Where do I e-mail it?
    I have also conducted some research on Third Culture Kids and their ability to form relationships in later life that may be of interest-would you like me to summarize this into a blog post?
    Please e-mail me at

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