A reflection of life two years at home after traveling and living abroad.

Two Years of Home

A reflection of life two years at home after traveling and living abroad.

December 15, 2015.

I remind myself regularly of this date. When I’m up at night, my brain whirrs as I count the days, weeks, months and now years since I turned my back on expat life.

It seems like no time has passed at all, and yet all the time in the world has passed.

December 15, 2015.

It hovers over me at times, gently bringing back memories.

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Seven Years After Solo Travel

An account of what happens seven years after solo travel. The good, the bad and the truth.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for,” the ticket agent said to me before we hung up the phone on that winter night in Atlanta in 2010.

Pure joy shot through my veins after we disconnected. Sitting in my apartment in the 100-year-old house, listening to the cars pass my house on their way home from work in the bustling city, there was more excitement pumping through me than I’ve ever felt before.

I’m going to travel the world. Solo. 

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What's it like to re-enter after living as an expat? An honest look at returning to life as a recovering expat.

True Story: I’m a Recovering Expat

What's it like to re-enter after living as an expat? An honest look at returning to life as a recovering expat.Editor’s Note: This should have been published on Dec. 15, 2016. I was hella sick so never published it on the actual one-year anniversary of surrendering my status as an expatriate. Better late than never, right?

Hi. My name is Diana. I used to be an expat. For almost four years, it was how I defined myself. I was an expat. Living in Chiang Mai. Living in London. Living in Madrid.

I was a writer. An animal rights activist. A digital nomad. But, most importantly, I was an expat. It was all-encompassing.

It was the one word which I felt the most closely connected to. The word which summed up my story in a pretty little package.

Expat.

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How Piercing My Nose Changed Me

How piercing my nose changed me. From scaredy-cat to kind of brave.
It’s cloudy and rainy when we walk into the piercing shop in Brasov, Romania. One of those bone-chilling days where the right idea is to stay inside and do nothing. But, with a new city outside my hostel door, sitting inside is the last thing I want to do. So, with a new friend at my side, the two of us venture out. And, end up in this little piercing shop.

“I’ve always wanted to get my nose pierced,” I announce to my friend as we stare at the selections.

“Well, you should do it,” he says.

I let the thought cross my mind, and quickly let it leave.

Truth: I’m a chicken

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What is Home?

What is home to you?Home, by definition, is the “place where one lives.”

As a former corporate-world-woman, long-term traveler, and now a serial expat, home has been many places and continues to morph into new and different places where I wake up.

It was where I grew up, with my family, in the middle-class suburbs of Washington, DC. It was where I spent three semesters trying to fit in and find myself in Bowling Green, Ohio. It was three years in Towson where I finished my degree and then didn’t leave because I was in an emotionally abusive — and addictive — relationship. It was Las Vegas, where I spent the bulk of my mid- and late-20s. Then, it was Atlanta, where I attempted to have a more normal (and less glitzy) existence for a year.

After that, is was the road. Hostels, hotels, trains, airports, were my home as I navigated the world doing some solo female travel. When I returned to the States, home was again (albeit briefly) with my parents, and then back to Vegas.

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The Best Place to Watch the Sunset in Madrid

Looking for the best place to watch the sunset in Madrid? Try the Temple of Debod: http://www.dtravelsround.com/2015/06/25/best-place-to-watch-sunset-in-madrid-temple-debod/
Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year, in terms of sunlight, and also the first day of summer. I’ve never celebrated it before, because, really, it’s just never been important to me. But, I wake up Sunday morning and feel empty. It’s one of the side effects of starting a new life and just getting going. It’s an uphill battle to feel acclimated, and one I’m really not used to climbing.

I just need to do something for me.

For the past month, I have been overwhelmed. Filled with stress over acquiring my student visa for Spain, importing my cats from Thailand, feeling utterly lost and a myriad of other things. I’ve been hauled up in my flat, motionless as I try to sort out who I am, where I am and what the hell I am doing with my life.

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The Story of My Thai Street Cats

Thai street cats
If you would have seen me the day I dropped of my two cats, Keeley and Jezebel, at their new home, you would have thought someone I loved had passed away.

Seriously.

I hadn’t cried like that in a long time.

There’s something exciting about starting a new life as an expat. A thrill. That ‘world is my oyster’ feeling. But, being an expat comes with sacrifices. Namely, having to part ways with people and animals you love.

Initially, I had considered bringing the cats with me to Thailand. But, everyone talked me out of it. And, thank goodness they did. Being a new expat, in a country in SE Asia with no home, no idea of what kind of resources were available, would have caused a lot of undue stress. Not to mention the stress for the animals I loved with all of my heart.

So, I left them in good hands and embarked on my journey.

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Daily Wanderlust: Tio Pepe in Madrid

One of the first sights after emerging from the Madrid Metro into the heart of the city is the Tio Pepe sign in Puerta del Sol. Perched atop the city’s City Hall, the famous sign has stood since 1936.

Sadly, this past summer the historic sign was taken down to make way for a new Apple store in Madrid.

I’m so glad I was able to spend time in one of my favorite cities (and one I would be happy to call “home“) in the world and was able to see the larger-than-life Tio Pepe before it was removed.

Tio Pepe

Destinations

Escape of the Week: Reina Sofia

Located in the heart of Madrid is one of those places you’d be remiss to skip — the palatial Reina Sofia Musuem (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia).

The museum came highly recommend from my art-inclined friends back home.

“You can’t miss it,” one said.

“It is so breathtaking,” said another.

And they were right.

So, first thing on a Saturday morning, I lined up to experience this attraction for myself.

I was not disappointed.

Named after the Queen Sofia of Spain, the museum features mostly Spanish art, including works from Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

Like the city itself, I quickly fell in love with the work on display.

The journey for me began with a walk through the immense courtyard.

Then, I wandered through the many rooms featuring different artists and exhibits.

One of my favorite exhibits ...

Getting there: Located near the Prado, take the metro to Atocha.

Destinations