These are not lists of useful tools, resources, or things to pack. These are lists of things that I personally love and which, in my humble opinion, speak deeply into the expatriate experience.
The things listed have do two opposing functions in my life.
The first is that they encourage me to thoughtfully and creatively pay close attention to my unique expatriate life. This life is a gift and the cultural, faith, relational, and personal lessons I am learning are beyond valuable. These podcasts, books, and songs challenge me to be present.
These things distract me from my expatriate life, specifically from the challenges and sorrows associated with it. I listen to the podcasts while I run and so am more able to ignore the harassment, stares, piles of garbage, and animal carcasses. I read the books before going to bed and I’m trying to forget about the ways I stepped in cultural poo that day, or while waiting in interminably long semi-lines at the bank. I listen to the songs while I cook with limited ingredients or on lonely holidays.
(because podcasts take our minds away or challenge or inspire or are just plain fun)
And a bonus: (my actual favorite, as in the one that gets me out of bed for a dark, sweaty run, but probably totally uninteresting to most readers of A Life Overseas) The Longform Podcast
(because we can’t only open a book to study language or culture or team dynamics)
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
From Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
Heaven by Randy Alcorn
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Narnia series by C.S. Lewis (audiobooks – just try to make it through book 7 without crying)
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (and everything else by Brené)
Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
Thirst by Mary Oliver
Quiet by Susan Cain
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
(because we all need the occasional dance party or ugly cry)
It Might Be Hope by Sara Groves
I Was Made for Sunny Days by The Weepies
Hard Way Home by Brandi Carlile (also, The Story)
The Weary Kind by Ryan Bingham
On the Road Again by Willie Nelson
Roam by the B-52’s
When it Don’t Come Easy by Patty Griffin
Should I Stay or Should I Go Now by The Clash
Wild World by Cat Stevens
Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
Traveling Light by Leonard Cohen
Walk on Water by Jane Siberry (This song. You guys. Gorgeous.)
What podcasts, books, or songs speak powerfully into your own expatriate experience?