The Intangible Benefits of Letting Teens Travel by Themselves

In praise of the post-high school Gap Year

High school’s complete. Graduation done. Caps have been tossed and gowns taken off. After all the pomp and circumstance winds down, what follows for many American post-high school kids is a summer of fun, and probably a job, before heading off to university in the fall. But why don’t more kids in the US take a longer break after 12+ years of constant schooling? Why isn’t a Gap Year option very prevalent here? As an American who lived in Europe for nearly seven years, I have raised adolescents both in the States and abroad. I am not unique in this case but offer as backdrop for my own personal opinion. Lots of European kids take an entire year off. To work. To travel and explore. Before they start higher education. And I think more American graduates should consider it. Here’s why.

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Parenting Teens in Denmark – 5 Things That Were Outside of My Box

WHEN PARENTAL ETHNOTHEORIES CLASH

How we are raised, the cultures we grow up in and where we are from impacts so many aspects of our lives. How we parent is a major one. Studies have been done on “parental ethnotheories” – those unseen cultural expectations, adaptations, and norms that shape our beliefs about the “right” ways to parent children. They become part of our own personal internal processes, so much so that we aren’t even aware. Unless that is, you remove yourself from that culture. You move away. There is no better way to question your own parenting systems and choices than to move to a foreign country.

Originally posted 2016, updated 2022
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What not to ask a repat, but you will anyway

Have you lived around the world? Beyond your passport country? Have you repatriated? Have you moved back?

This list is for you.

This list is also for those of you who know someone moving back from living elsewhere in the world. You may not know these questions, but we do. We hear them OFTEN. And usually in a semi-specific order. You think I jest. But there is a fairly standard set of inquiries repats get when returning from their life lived abroad.

Note I did not say – return home. To have any measure of success when choosing to thrive in a place different from where you grew up, one must consider it “home” in each place they land. I said – move back. To return. To a place. Repatriate.

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Balancing the Bad Days Abroad | Look for the Stories

It’s not all sunshine and roses this life lived abroad
SOMETIMES ALL YOU CAN SEE IS THE DOG SHIT AND CIGARETTE BUTTS

Not every day in this life lived abroad is wonderful. Even when you live in wonderful, wonderful, Copenhagen. If you read along at Oregon Girl Around the World, you know. I want you to come here. Come to Copenhagen, she said. I’ll say it again. And you should. I miss you! Please plan a visit! It’s all sorts of cute over here. But while I like to share the pretty bits more than than the shitty bits, I have to be honest. Those days happen too. Continue reading “Balancing the Bad Days Abroad | Look for the Stories”

Coping with a winter lockdown through my camera lens

Documenting your own backyard as a method towards mindfulness

When lockdown version 1.0 launched last March, there was so much we all didn’t know. How quickly everyone maneuvered and managed new distanced learning dictates and the people who could, set up their personal spaces to continue working from home. Since my office was already at home, I shifted my computer to afford the best places for the students. In fact, we have become experts at hot-desking in our house.

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