Hello! Lovely to meet you.
I'm Carole Hallett Mobbs
I am the mother of an expat child - well, she's now officially an adult (ouch!). We spent 12 years living overseas, following my husband wherever his job took him. In 2006, when our daughter had just turned five years old, we left Britain to start our expat life. And in February 2018 - we moved back to the UK.
So, I have experience of both ends of expat life - there and back again!
Expat life is a journey through time zones and emotions.
Time zones are easily dealt with: The emotions, sometimes not so easy.
Expat Life - The Basics
In 2006 our little family, plus two young cats flew to Tokyo, Japan and plunged into expat life in possibly one of the most ‘foreign’ countries in the world. It was wonderful!
After nearly five incredible years in Tokyo, including one enormous earthquake, we moved to Berlin, Germany with one cat and one dog. A couple of years later we were off again to Pretoria, South Africa.
In February 2018, we returned to a snowy UK with the dog mentioned above and two different cats. Repatriation has, so far, been the hardest move of all.
The story of our expat life and how ExpatChild was 'born'
Expat life is a journey through time zones and emotions. Time zones are easily dealt with: The emotions – sometimes, not so much.
It was 2011 and we were coming to the end of five fabulous years living as expats in Tokyo and preparing to move to Berlin in a few weeks.
Moving countries is challenging at the best of times. And this was not the best of times.
My daughter was nine years old and about to embark on her second country-move. Our first was a dream, because moving with a very young child is a breeze. Once they’re a bit older the transition becomes more difficult.
Then everything shifted...
She was already struggling with the idea of moving to an unknown country; away from the only school she’d known, leaving her friends and the country she’d spent more than half her life.
There was nothing in the ‘Mum Guidebooks’ about this kind of upheaval, so I had to make it up as I went, desperately hoping I was doing it right. Some family and friends insisted that moving countries with a child was a Very Bad Thing and made judgements on my parenting and lifestyle, which didn’t help and made me feel crap. For a very short moment. 😉
But then everything shifted...
On 11th March 2011, the fourth most powerful earthquake ever recorded hit Japan; swiftly followed by a devastating tsunami and then concerns of a potential nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plant. In six long, terrifying minutes, life changed for millions of people.
Half of her wanted to get away from the constantly shaking grounds of Japan as soon as possible. The other half wanted to stay in her familiar surroundings. And as nine-year-olds tend to do, she veered between being perfectly normal to being a nightmare - and having nightmares.
Before the quake struck I’d spent ages searching online for advice about moving overseas with children; how to help them and how to prepare them. But I couldn’t find anything relevant at all.
When I did stumble across anything distantly related, I found myself wading through pages of vague, fuzzy gibberish. I simply didn’t have the time or mental energy for that. My profoundly under-pressure brain simply wasn’t up to translating such psychobabble.
What I wanted, what I needed, was straightforward, uncomplicated and sensible information that was quick to absorb and could be applied to any family moving overseas.
So, I created just that! And ExpatChild.com was launched in 2012. Since then, it has grown to cover every aspect of expat life with several hundred articles at your fingertips.
Subsequently, I have created various other resources for expat parents - written books, made a podcast and much more.
All my authentic, real-life experience has enabled me to help expat parents on a one-to-one, highly personalised basis. It’s my passion to support expat parents with their move and life overseas with practical and no-nonsense advice.
Ultimately, this helps you support your children with their expat life to enable them to grow into fabulous and well-adjusted global citizens. And I do this as quickly and as efficiently as possible, through one hour, one to one chats as I know how under pressure you are right now.
Get into my expat world today; join my free Expat Parents Support Group on Facebook!
So yes, expat life is a journey through time zones and emotions, and it’s often a rollercoaster of events and emotions at times, but ultimately, it’s an incredible way of life and a fabulous experience for families.
Our relocation was very much an ‘in at the deep end’ experience and a fantastic opportunity for adventures and a challenging learning curve to match no other. We survived with an open mind, an appetite for adventure and assistance from more experienced expats.
I would now like to help you thrive in your new expat life. Find out how we can chat about your move abroad here.
Scroll down to meet my family and support team, and then a bit further to view a timeline of my life... so far.
Meet My Support Team
Tim and his beloved Landrover en-route up the Sani Pass in South Africa. It's his fault we lived overseas. Thank you, Tim!
Rhiannon, my expat child. Remarkable young lady who loved international life and teaching herself languages.
Kita, the Shiba Inu. Our souvenir from Japan. Neurotic, scared of everything, hair-shedding machine who hasn't read the breed manual.
Kasumi, AKA Sumi. Calm and scarily intelligent. Doesn't like British weather as we rescued her and Git in South Africa. Apparently part African Wild Cat.
Nogitsune. AKA Git. AKA Bebe and so many other names! He's weird. Was found in a bush at a couple of days old and hand-reared. Loves British weather.
All you wonderful supporters of ExpatChild.com over the years. I couldn't have done any of this without you.
The Story of My Life - So Far!
Born (reluctantly, according to Mum) Pontypool, Wales. Yes, I really am that old. Sigh
Moved to Okehampton, Devon. School and stuff. An idyllic childhood spent up trees in the woods and tramping adventures over Dartmoor with my best friend. First foreign holidays in the mid-70s to Majorca, Tunisia and Yugoslavia - which was quite an unusual thing back then.
Left school (hurrah!) Got first job aged 16. Learned a lot – mostly how to make coffee for fussy people and file things. And how to use and program a Commodore 64 computer.
Got a new job. Learned a lot – mostly how to deal with fussy people and file things. And more importantly, how to count money and do maths, finally. Oh, and learned to drive = freedom.
Got another new job (same company though) and moved to London. Learned a LOT – no more filing this time. Moved into IT at just the right time, at the start of desktop computer revolution. Had an absolute ball. Bought a flat. Love London.
A big year. Redundancy. Badly done, but turned out to be the best thing ever, as it kick-started me into a fabulous new career as a self-employed, freelance IT trainer and support analyst. Worked in loads of companies, from finance to media and everything in between. Travelled to Venezuela (solo back-packing) and Sri Lanka.
Still self-employed and loving it. Wonderful and memorable solo back-packing trip around South America: Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru and Bolivia
Aren't you bored with this yet? First overseas business trip to Dusseldorf, Germany. Felt very important! Also first taste of 24 hour working days. That's IT contracting in the 90s for you.
Another big year. Contracted to travel for work – my dream finally came true! Finland, Estonia, Lapland. And Hong Kong where I met some chap who ended up becoming my husband. Managed to fit in another (and as it happened, final) solo back-packing tour of Thailand and Malaysia, culminating in visiting the inaugural F1 race at Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur. Good times 🙂
Move travel for work. This year included Hong Kong again, USA, Ireland, France, Italy. Lots and lots of 24 hour working days.
Massive year! Work took me to Austria, Italy, Sweden, Russia (another dream realised and saw the Bolshoi Ballet on my birthday), Solomon Islands (wow!), Australia, Barbados. Totally life-changing event in a hotel room in Moscow… discovered I was pregnant. Gave up work. Daughter born (premature, but reluctantly - it must be a family thing) in October.
Difficult year. My darling Dad died. Started my own publishing company and produced a local magazine.
Sold my company. Moved to Tokyo, Japan with a five year old and two cats. Amazing place. Worked as a freelance writer and web master for a UK publishing group.
Earthquake in Japan. Moved to Berlin, Germany. The two events were not connected, we were due to leave Japan then anyway, very sad.
ExpatChild has been running a year by now. Very unexpected opportunity to move to South Africa. So we grabbed it. Great decision.
2018 - Now
We moved back from South Africa to the UK with a teenager, a dog and two different cats. What an amazing expat life experience we've had!
I'm dedicated to helping you make your expat life your best life.
How can I help you further? Let me know!
ExpatChild makes moving abroad with children easier for all the family with articles sharing expert insight on all aspects of expat life. This site has loads of practical, useful and honest advice for anyone considering a move and life overseas.
Carole Hallett Mobbs is an Expat Life Mentor and Consultant who created ExpatChild in 2012. She would love to support you with personalised, no-nonsense advice for every stage of your expat journey. Make sure you have your best life overseas!