This month's expat blog: Travel Gourmande

Expat of the month
  • Travel Gourmande
    Image by Arni
Published on 2018-06-04 at 07:00 by Maria Iotova
After spending 12 rewarding years in Dubai, Arni and her family decided to move back to the Philippines and "set up their nest". Today, and after a decade of a hectic career-oriented lifestyle in the Middle East, Arni and her French husband run their business in the Philippino countryside. With every opportunity, Arni steals some time for blogging — what started as a journal filled with travel and culinary tips, expanded to be the record of an eventful life journey. Are you ready to join Arni in her adventures and get inspired?

Tell us briefly about your expat life and where you're originally from.

I grew up in the Philippines. I left my country when I was 24 years-old for a job in interior design in Dubai. I happily spent the next 12 years as a career-oriented and workaholic expat in the Middle East. As much as I wanted to stay longer, life had other plans. I returned to my home country in 2015, and I am presently living in the countryside with my husband and daughter.

What brought you to where you are now?

While living in the Middle East, we knew we had to leave sooner or later because we would never become citizens there. Our stay was dependent on our employment, and it had an expiry date.  Throughout those expat years, we tighten our belts with the goal of moving to a permanent place to raise our family.

We reckoned that the Philippines is the most practical choice for us after considering several options. We quit our jobs, packed our belongings, moved them overseas to my parent's house, and spent the next few years with one luggage each as a nomadic family while searching for the right base to establish our business.

What made you want to start a blog?

The stress of the daily grind made me start the blog many years ago. Writing allows me to revisit the past. Travel Gourmande began as a journal documenting my expat life in Dubai, my leisure and business travels, and most importantly, insights gained from these.

Tell us what your blog is about and how our readers can make the most of it.

The blog is about our repatriation adventures as a nomadic family in the Philippines. Stories are told through the eyes of someone who once ran away and is now getting to know how beautiful her home country is. The blog also shares helpful information for those who want to live in the Philippines — perks and challenges of reintegrating ourselves, getting lost in translation living in a region with a different dialect than what I grew up speaking, overcoming repatriation depression, and embracing the rural life.

What are your next projects regarding your expat life?

After living a nomadic life for the past three years, I am excited to finally put down roots and get our family business up and running. I look forward to more work projects, travels, and activities throughout the year.