Expat Returns: July 2017 update

Sun setting on our cruise

Sun setting on the Low Isles cruise in Great Barrier Reef

Not sure if anyone really is interested in this, but I’ll try for another month and see what you guys think. So here we go, what this month has been all about as an expat returned to her homeland (otherwise known as repatriation I’ve learnt)!


This month I ventured out to the snow for the first time in about 9 years! Can hardly believe I left it this long! After having a bit of snowboarding practice with a friend last month, this month I ventured out to the mountain with my sisters family and while they learnt to ski, I learnt to snowboard… more on that in the coming weeks!

Have been contemplating what my next overseas trip should be, but bit preoccupied with when my next snowboarding trip can be!


Turns out finding a new passion in snowboarding has been the best thing to happen to me in a long time. Its given me something to direct my life towards and enjoy immensely. Still taking vitamins and doing yoga stretching and mediation when I can. Feeling more peaceful this month.

Work life

July’s been chugging along at work. I’ve managed to get a couple of UX conferences accepted this year which will be great to get out amongst other designers and developers in New Zealand.

UX Homegrown was the first conference I attended in Auckland just last week. It was conveniently across the road from work (yet ended up being a longer Friday than a typical work day!). What really struck me was the first few presentations of people doing UX design within the technology and digital fields that are really impacting and helping others.

Sarvnaz Taherian explained her computer interface that helps people with severe disabilities communicate. The other great talk that resonated with me was Nick Hayes from the DHW Lab explained his approach to a website for people with psychosis and how depressing and negative the sites already out there were designed. Hearing these talks really got me thinking about how much I’d like to make my freelance design/website work help others (when I get time to actually freelance.

What I’ve been reading

‘Caraval’ by Stephanie Garber was a pretty neat read. Crime/Fantasy without it feeling too out of this world. Highly recommend it for a good read, but only when you have time to dedicate to reading as you won’t want to put this down!

‘Margherita’s Recipes for Love’ by Elisabeth Flumeri and Gabriella Giacometti. Gosh just reading the title of this one makes me laugh that I’d even pick it up! However, at the yearly work book haul ($2-3 books for charity) I thought it would be a light read and gave it a go. It was a bit trashy but made me imagine Italy all over again and it actually contains some pretty nice actual recipes to cook!

‘Wild by nature’ is an autobiography by Sarah Marquis. She details her travels walking from Mongolia through China down to Australia. It definitely gave a bit more of a grim view towards some places, but also showed how such intrepid travel can really open you up to life. It’s not quite as good as my favourite autobiography Elephant Dawn by Sharon Pincott, but still worth a read.


I finally finished my last blogs from my Great Barrier Reef Adventure. One of my favourites was the cute animal photographs from my visit to Wildlife Habitat. Then there was the treat of snorkelling amongst the low isles and a sunset cruise, here’s a little video from that post:

What I’ve been listening to

Boagworld Podcast. In an attempt to get inspired in my work I’ve listened to a few of Paul Boag’s podcasts. Sometimes I find them very waffly, but they have the odd bit of useful content for designers and freelancers.

Design Life Podcast. This is another of my regular design podcasts from a couple of Kiwi’s in London and Amsterdam. Sometimes targeted a bit more towards students and freelancers, there is still usually a good piece of learning or advice in each podcast.

What I’m Grateful for this month

Sunsets. I love the colours and the scenery around them. My favourite this month was on Mt. Ruapehu prior to night snowboarding. Unfortunately I was too scared to get out my phone to take a photo at the best time as I was nervous about sliding down the hill right infront of me, but here’s a shot just prior, over the learners area below the Mountain.

Good People. I’m really lucky when I meet genuine lovely people. There’s the odd few that really open my eyes to how awful people can be, but there’s also people that take the time to appreciate you, even if it’s just asking if you’d like to come for a coffee.

Snowboarding. A new passion. One that I’m pretty crap at currently, but excited to learn and improve! Seem to be turning into a bit of a winter person!

Current feelings about being back in NZ

This month it’s hit me that New Zealand is pretty unique with having such incredible winter opportunities with the mountains and snow, then incredible beaches in the summer. It’s nice to have things to look forward to besides travel and I feel like I’m starting to get that, I just need to figure out ways to incorporate these aspects more into my life rather than being stuck in Auckland doing mundane stuff in the weekends.

Well, that’s all for my second of my Expat Return Monthly updates.

What did you think? Is there anything in particular you’d be interested in hearing about each month? Comment below!