Hi! Maybe you’re new here, maybe you’ve been here a while… maybe you’ve been here since the beginning.
I appreciate you!
Joy and Journey started in its first iteration four years ago as a website called My Quarter Life Epiphany, where I chronicled my experience moving, living, working, and traveling abroad with the hope of inspiring more of my peers to do the same. I traveled to a new city at least once a month, traveled to new parts of the city every weekend, and spent every spare baht and moment either traveling or planning future travel.
BLURRY but memorable, at the airport to go on the trip that would change my life forever: I never came home.
The website slowly shifted from a blog journal to become a launch pad for freelance writing and consulting projects. The name changed to “Joy and Journey” to reflect not only my advancing age (I’m far past my “quarter-life” now!), but also representing the two broad areas of my life that overlap in so many ways.
I see my life as a balance and overlap and meshing of these two: joy (the pursuit of happiness, the cultivation of mindfulness, appreciation of the little things in life) and journey (struggle, learning, process, and most importantly TRAVEL).
While I’m still happy with the “brand” Joy and Journey, I’m no longer as single-mindedly travel-obsessed.
current craze: spending more time in my adopted home, and less time on the road
I’m taking fewer trips. I’m not visiting 10+ new countries a year (this year, it’s been only one: Nicaragua). My “journey” these days is more of inward exploration, and local experiences. I’m more invested and interested in my community, in friendships, and in cultivating connections, here in my adopted home of Puerto Vallarta.
Through 6 years of living abroad and countless conversations with friends and acquaintances (and an acknowledgment of my own personal struggles), I’ve realized that one of the hardest things about being a woman and living outside of your “home” country is the lack of community.
Loneliness is present in so many ways: the disconnect that exists between the life you’re creating now in this new place and the life (and friends who don’t always understand you anymore) you had thousands of miles away from your current location; the time between your arrival and that first real friendship; not knowing where to find that makeup remover you like and having no one to ask.
that lonely feeling is all too real
There are many organizations that connect women “IRL”, including abroad.
There are a few online, as well, but I know personally I haven’t really felt connected to any of them.
The websites that do exist paint women living abroad with a pretty stereotypical brush, as if we all fit the “expat wife” cliche (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) but there are an infinite number of circumstances that inspire/cause/force/encourage an unrepresented, diverse range of women and circumstances to create their lives abroad.
I want Joy and Journey to be a place where any woman living abroad – not just those with live-in maids fueling their mimosa and mahjong tournaments – can find community. Whether you’re in Bangkok or Baku or Brasilia or Belding or Baghdad or Barcelona, for love or money or work or a new experience or school or solitude: you’re not alone.
You might not know it yet, but you’ve got a community of thousands waiting in the sidelines to support you. Joy and Journey will make it easier to connect with them.
visiting Merida with old and new friends from around the world
What you’ll start finding here at the new Joy and Journey:
- Perspectives from women who live outside what they define as their home or birth country: this includes people who self-define as expats, immigrants, foreign workers, and deportees.
- Helpful resources on topics like loneliness and making friends abroad, finding a job and going through the visa process, dealing with illness and finding a doctor (and navigating medical insurance), not loving the country you’re in, dating, and so much more.
- Honest, vulnerable essays about the hard parts of being away from your home country.
- Support from a community that “gets” you.
- Occasional travel guides, because one of the best parts of being abroad is having a whole new country to explore “domestically”, especially guides to visiting major cultural events and celebrations (like Dia de los Muertos, Carnaval, etc) in a culturally-sensitive and incredibly fun way.
Sam and I now live thousands of miles apart, but we first met in Puebla and stay connected
I will start rolling out these changes little by little (so I’m sorry if the website is a bit Frankensteinian in the meantime!), with a goal of being totally finished by January 1.
This is a work in progress, so please bear with me and send all of your suggestions and advice and criticism here: I want to hear it because I want to make this the best platform for you!
If you’ve read this announcement and are excited, YAY!
If you’ve read this announcement and are pissed off or confused, and you’re not sure if you should return to Joy and Journey, please read on…
If you’re a visitor to Joy and Journey but you’re NOT abroad:
If you’ve ever considered studying, working, living, or retiring abroad: you’ll find these new resources, essays, and posts extremely relevant.
If you don’t ever want to live abroad but you enjoy traveling: you’ll be able to find content relevant to the places you plan to visit, giving you a more nuanced perspective for your next trip.
If you hate traveling: I’m not sure what you were doing here in the first place haha
If you’re a visitor to Joy and Journey and you’re NOT a woman:
I bet you probably know some women. Even more than that, women’s experiences are human experiences, and while living abroad as a woman does have some challenges specific to women, loneliness, visa headaches, and job searching are not gendered experiences. You are still very welcome here!
If you have an idea and would like to contribute an essay, or you’re a woman who lives abroad who would like to complete an interview questionnaire for feature on the website, or you have some other ideas, or you’d just like to chat, please email me.
Pin it for Later: What’s New at Joy and Journey, Creating a Community for Women Living Abroad