Category: living abroad


December 2nd, 2013 — 9:18pm

One of the many wonderful things about old friends is always being able to pick up where you left off. That’s exactly what happened when I recently caught up with my beloved galpal Caroline.

Caroline was back in NYC for the first time since moving to Australia nearly two years ago. We had plenty to catch up on, and we did so over the course of two delightful evenings.

Reunited! Caroline and me

Longtime readers of this blog won’t be surprised to know that I’ve been living vicariously through Caroline and her adventures as a Sydney resident. My love affair with the began during a vacation there in January 2002. Shortly thereafter, I became a Sydneysider myself for five glorious months and to this day, it remains one of the most cherished times in my life.

Not surprisingly, Caroline has fallen under the spell of Australia’s many charms – welcoming, hospitable people, amazing scenery and a much healthier work-life balance among them. As she shared stories of traveling around the country and all of the new friends she’s made, I couldn’t help recalling my own journey Down Under.

Like Caroline, I was in my twenties when I lived in Australia. It was a time when I felt hopeful and unburdened by the concerns and tempering effect of age. Caroline, who has always been one of the most positive and effervescent people I’ve ever known, is truly living in the present. Seeing her again reminded me of just how important it is to do that, to not let life’s trials and tribulations wear away at your ability to appreciate exactly where you are – even when it’s not necessarily where you thought you would end up.

I miss my good friend already. And I may just have to pay her a visit in the only city to rival NYC and London for my affections.

Bon voyage again, Caroline!

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December 2nd, 2010 — 10:44am

When you’re dealing with the formidable foes of long distance and bad timing, sometimes love isn’t enough. I learned this painful lesson for a second time during my passionate romance back in ‘02 with Southern Illinois sweetheart .

Four months after embarking on our whirlwind relationship, I found myself at a crossroads both personally and professionally. An amazing trip to Australia had me hungering to go back and live Down Under for awhile. I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up — and that it was a leap I had to take by myself. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 2002…

New York, NY
April 8, 2002

Dear Diary,

I’m feeling really sad. I keep thinking about how incredibly loving and good Steve has been to me…and it just tears me up to think about hurting him.

Over the last couple of days during his visit, there were so may sublime moments — playing piano together, singing some of our favorite songs while curled up by candlelight, kissing at the Empire State Building.

I feel more connected to Steve than I have to any man in a long time. And I will miss him terribly if I have to walk away.

* * *
April 23, 2002

I’ve taken two big steps since you last heard from me — I’ve decided to go back to Australia and I broke up with Steve.

The latter happened earlier tonight, in a brief conversation that had me fumbling for words and Steve very gracious and mature.

“I knew I’d hear those words from you sooner or later,” he said, after I told him our lives our heading in different directions.

As I struggled to explain my decision, Steve brought our final exchange to an end.

“Well, I guess that’s all I needed to hear. Have a good trip.”

I’m going to miss Steve. And I will never, ever regret a single second I’ve spent in the warmth of his arms and light of his love. Steve has shown me that throwing caution to the wind doesn’t have to be a bad thing, that the most exhilarating romances are the most unexpected ones. I love him and feel profoundly grateful he came into my life.

* * *
Little did I know when I broke up with Steve that Cupid wasn’t quite finished with the two of us. In the meantime, I turned my attention to Australia — where romance unexpectedly found me once again.

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September 1st, 2010 — 5:04pm

Last Wednesday, I headed over to London’s Hampstead Heath to meet up with single gal Kimberly, 35.

Single Gals In London: Kimberly and me at The Flask

I knew Kimberly was someone I wanted to talk to when she sent me an email including this wry observation–

“ In Paris guys want to tell you how to live your life…in London they want to know how you live your life.”

Over lunch at cozy pub The Flask, Kimberly — a Canada native who’s lived in L.A. and Paris and now London — gave me her take on dating in Europe.

Parisians are very forward, she says, with a kiss being interpreted as wanting to have sex.

“So much in Paris is about sex,” she said. “It’s a romantic looking city, but there are tons of drageurs, pick up artists. It’s not uncommon to meet in the street.”

Kim found the culture of Paris to be restrictive, with men and women dressing a certain way and people often telling her to look or behave a certain way to attract a man.

“In London, people make their own style, and are more interested in what makes you you than trying to fit you into a certain persona,” she said.

Another big difference — being able to go out in London alone without being judged as lonely because you’re on your own.

Kim has no complaints about local bachelors when it comes to taking initiative.

“People say British men are shy, but I find they’re very direct. I guess asking me ‘where are you from?’ is a good icebreaker.”

Not for the first time on this European adventure, I couldn’t help thinking how different the dating experience for expats seems to be from what it is for native locals. A foreign accent really seems to be the ultimate icebreaker. It’s far from the only one, though. The challenge is getting singles — male and female — to see that and make the first move with people who aren’t from somewhere else.

Coming up…how Match.com’s produced the best and worst online dating experiences I’ve had in ages.

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January 26th, 2009 — 10:43pm

It’s no accident that I promote travel for a living. Travel is one of my greatest passions, as I rediscovered during my recent return to Australia.

From reinvigorating weekend getaways stateside to adventurous jaunts in more far flung destinations, I’ve been lucky to experience all kinds of getaways. Like I always say, I never met a trip I didn’t like. Here are some of my more memorable travel moments — By The Numbers:

Approximate Number of overseas trips: 25

All Smiles in Costa Rica: Enjoying the view from Hilton Papagayo in Guanacaste during a business trip, March 2008

Number of return flights to the U.S. from Australia spent in a coach middle seat: 2
Number of British Commonwealth cities in which I’ve resided: 3 (London, Sydney and Toronto)
Number of flight delays precipitated by a dog running loose on the tarmac: 1
Number of celebrity sightings while traveling: 8
Number of brushes with royalty in the baggage claim area of JFK: 1

It was England’s lovely Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson (a.k.a Fergie), whom I found myself standing next to at JFK many years ago. That’s one of my favorite things about traveling — the interesting characters you encounter unexpectedly along the way.

Coming up…1,001 ways to meet Mr. Right and a belated birthday celebration.

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January 26th, 2009 — 5:43pm

It’s no accident that I promote travel for a living. Travel is one of my greatest passions, as I rediscovered during my recent return to Australia.

From reinvigorating weekend getaways stateside to adventurous jaunts in more far flung destinations, I’ve been lucky to experience all kinds of getaways. Like I always say, I never met a trip I didn’t like. Here are some of my more memorable travel moments — By The Numbers:

Approximate Number of overseas trips: 25

All Smiles in Costa Rica: Enjoying the view from Hilton Papagayo in Guanacaste during a business trip, March 2008

Number of return flights to the U.S. from Australia spent in a coach middle seat: 2
Number of British Commonwealth cities in which I’ve resided: 3 (London, Sydney and Toronto)
Number of flight delays precipitated by a dog running loose on the tarmac: 1
Number of celebrity sightings while traveling: 8
Number of brushes with royalty in the baggage claim area of JFK: 1

It was England’s lovely Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson (a.k.a Fergie), whom I found myself standing next to at JFK many years ago. That’s one of my favorite things about traveling — the interesting characters you encounter unexpectedly along the way.

Coming up…1,001 ways to meet Mr. Right and a belated birthday celebration.

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November 12th, 2008 — 2:44am

This week, my PR colleague Kim, digital media maven and fashionista (), will be leaving Quinn & Co. for an exciting new gig — life as a London resident.

Kim is moving to England’s capital for both career and love (her beau is British). Her imminent departure got me to thinking about my own experience of picking up and moving to another continent.

Living Abroad: I fell so in love with Sydney that I moved there for five months in 2002

Five years ago, my first trip to Australia left me so smitten that I decided to spend five months as a Sydney resident. At the time, my beloved late father expressed concern that the move would interrupt my professional progress.

I wasn’t surprised he was opposed to it — the idea of inhabiting far-off destinations for an extended period isn’t as common here in the U.S. as it is in other countries (so common, in fact, that it’s called a gap year because that’s usually how long people spend traveling).

While I settled into life as a happily employed Sydneysider, it didn’t take long for me to re-discover what I did during my junior year in London, and again when I moved to Southern Illinois — that trying on a new hometown for size is always an adventure worth having. Even if the ultimate result is simply to bring you right back to where you started, you’re so much richer for having had the excursion.

I’m going to miss picking Kim’s brain about how to navigate the information superhighway and, of course, seeing her fabulous wardrobe every day. The upside of her departure — it gives me another reason to visit my (other) favorite city.

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November 11th, 2008 — 9:44pm

This week, my PR colleague Kim, digital media maven and fashionista (), will be leaving Quinn & Co. for an exciting new gig — life as a London resident.

Kim is moving to England’s capital for both career and love (her beau is British). Her imminent departure got me to thinking about my own experience of picking up and moving to another continent.

Living Abroad: I fell so in love with Sydney that I moved there for five months in 2002

Five years ago, my first trip to Australia left me so smitten that I decided to spend five months as a Sydney resident. At the time, my beloved late father expressed concern that the move would interrupt my professional progress.

I wasn’t surprised he was opposed to it — the idea of inhabiting far-off destinations for an extended period isn’t as common here in the U.S. as it is in other countries (so common, in fact, that it’s called a gap year because that’s usually how long people spend traveling).

While I settled into life as a happily employed Sydneysider, it didn’t take long for me to re-discover what I did during my junior year in London, and again when I moved to Southern Illinois — that trying on a new hometown for size is always an adventure worth having. Even if the ultimate result is simply to bring you right back to where you started, you’re so much richer for having had the excursion.

I’m going to miss picking Kim’s brain about how to navigate the information superhighway and, of course, seeing her fabulous wardrobe every day. The upside of her departure — it gives me another reason to visit my (other) favorite city.

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