Hey, y’all! I’m baacckkkk!!!

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How ya been? I can’t believe it’s been over 3 years since I last wrote a blog post…or even really checked on this blog. I lost my domain name so note that the new blog link is http://www.internationaltravelchick.blog (.com takes you to a site that clearly isn’t associated with me). Life goes by so quickly!!! I figured I’d dust off my blog and start sharing about my life abroad.

Going forward, I’ll be posting about about my life here in London (my semi-new home) as well as tips for travel to the UK & Europe as well as skincare, makeup, and life. Basically, it will be a way for me to share my life as an expat and show you some cool things!

I’m going to start posting maybe 3 times a week. One of those will probably be a YouTube video so if you aren’t subscribed to my YT channel, be sure to go over and subscribe now!

I’m normally very private about my personal life, but have decided to share some of the defining moments over the past 3 years with you so you know why I’ve been MIA.

IMG_2692Moving Abroad

Last time I posted, I was living in the beautiful city of Paris. My former company relocated me to Paris after 18 months in Washington, DC and it was a dream come true!!! I actually used to have a photo of London on my vision board (since 2010) because I felt like my journey in life wouldn’t be complete unless I had the opportunity to live in another country.  Fast forward to 2015, and I was asked my the then-CEO to move to Paris and head up the company’s international compliance group. I was HYPED!

But listen…living in Paris ain’t easy. I know…what can be hard about strolling down grand boulevards eating macarons? Well, if you don’t know French, it’s confusing and a bit frustrating. My frustration wasn’t with French people (I’m lying…sometimes it was), but mostly with myself for not being able to pick up French fast enough. I learned pretty quickly that I couldn’t do a literal translation of English to French. My first attempt to showcase my “off-the-cuff literal French translation” resulted in what I thought was “I’m hot” (because the weather was really warm) translating to “I’m horny”. Apparently, I needed to say “I have heat”. Come on, France. Ha! It was so hard to learn a new language when you are traveling all the time and working long hours. But, I did learn enough French to bumble my way along and not come across as a streetwalker.

IMG_3765I was also able to find a beautiful flat in the Montparnasse area (which was only a 15 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower) that I absolutely adored. I was also able to bring my beloved pooch, Riley, with me and he took to Paris like sugar to croissants. Seriously, he was going to doggie day spas and living his best life.

Then, after almost 2 years in Paris, my company moved me to our new headquarters in London. I feel like it’s been non-stop settling & re-settling for the past 5 years.

Dealing with LifeIMG_0057

The past 3 years haven’t been easy…but things are much better now. I’ve dealt with major losses…including suffering a miscarriage, having to put Riley to sleep (honestly, that day and the day I miscarried were probably 2 of the worst days of my life), having my heart broken, my cousin being killed in action while serving in Afghanistan, learning to navigate corporate politics in a global environment, and finding the courage to leave the perceived security blanket of a full-time job to start my own company.  It’s been a lot. And it seemed like it was one devastating event right after another. It can wear you down. I had slipped into a depression, gained weight, suffered health issues…and was exhausted by trying to pretend everything was ok for the people I had to interact with regularly. Which meant there was nothing left in the tank to pretend on the interwebs. I found myself pulling back from a lot of social media interaction and people.

The thing with depression is that it’s like a darkness that slips over you without you realising it until it’s too late. Between the losses mentioned above and the fear of failing with my new company, I was an absolute mess. And the thing with messes…they aren’t cleaned up easily or quickly. When you are trying to be superwoman, that cape gets heavy. I wanted to showcase emotional resilience, only to find out that I needed to take time and process the trauma.

I started therapy (which I think EVERYBODY needs to go to…we all have issues and we are in this together!) but also really invested in self-care. My body shut down on me and my doctor told me things wouldn’t get better until I learned how to truly manage my stress level. Which meant letting go of fear. I started meditation, reiki, floating (sensory deprivation is awesome) and most importantly, giving myself grace.

I’m so thankful for my friends and family who have been there to help pick me up and support me when I didn’t have the energy to support myself.  Life can be hard, but having people who know you and don’t make demands on you but are just there to pour into your empty cup in your time of need are critical.

Thanks for reading. This wasn’t easy to write as being vulnerable is uncomfortable. I do hope this gives you a bit of insight into my world. I look forward to getting back into the swing of things over here at International Travel Chick. So, stick around and let’s see where the next adventure takes us!

xoxo,

Nikki

10 thoughts on “Hey, y’all! I’m baacckkkk!!!

  1. Bakaffa Casey says:

    Thanks for sharing your story/testimony and recent history Nikki! I am glad to see you still standing tall and that life after adversity is looking better everyday! Looking forward to reading about the expat life now that I’ve moved back to the States…we are living vicariously through your words and images, so keep smiling and sharing, we appreciate your efforts!

  2. Dawn says:

    So glad you are back. Thank you for telling your story and empowering us to feel comfortable and confident in showing our vulnerability!! So so happy to “see” you!!

  3. ramblingnortherner says:

    Inspiring read – thanks for sharing Nikki.

    Totally agree regarding therapy too. After going through a particularly rough couple of years while living abroad myself I wound up seeing a counsellor for a period of time. Took me a while to actually accept what I needed to do, but once I started I couldn’t believe how much it helped!

    All the best!

    • Nikki says:

      Thanks a lot. And thank you for sharing your story!!! So glad therapy helped you too!! It’s amazing how much better you will feel if you work on yourself 🙂

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