Mary Mackinnon – Every time you move you are a different person

The Change Diaries podcast explores how to better embrace change, spark change, or be the change we want to see.

This second series of the Change Diaries podcast explores the ups and downs of changing locations. In this episode I speak with Mary MacKinnon, a consultant in international adaptation and mobility, who is herself a veteran of moving.

Mary leads us through the ins and outs of managing a relocation – from figuring out if it’s the right timing for you, handling the logistics, embracing the inevitable culture shock, and then preparing to head back home for re-entry. It’s a conversation loaded with wisdom, experience and empathy from an expert who has made 14 international moves spanning every stage of her adult life. Tune in, absorb and share with anyone you know who is contemplating a move.  

Listen

Guest Bio

Mary MacKinnon has worked as a consultant in international adaptation and mobility, both at home in Canada and abroad, since 1986. As such, she has worked in both the public and private sectors developing programs and delivering workshops for expatriates at many stages of international life.

She was, among other things, co-founder of the International Mobility Program at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna in 1996 and later a consultant to Ericsson in Cairo and the Department of Foreign Affairs (now called Global Affairs Canada).

Mary is the author of a book entitled The Global Staircase: a handbook for people relocating internationally.

A veteran of 35 years attached to foreign affairs as the wife of a career diplomat, Mary has moved at almost every stage of adult life – young adult, married and childless, with babies, with school-aged children, with teenagers and finally as an empty-nester. 

Her homes abroad included, England, France, Switzerland and Austria in Europe, Tunisia, Iran and Cairo in the Middle East, and South Korea in Asia.

Having made 14 international moves, seven of them back home to Canada, she feels strongly about re-entry preparation and building a sense of community.

Subscribe

Thanks for being with me and joining this second season of the Change Diaries podcast with the theme, ‘Changing your location – the ups and downs. Please comment below, follow my blog, and share with others.  Never miss an episode! Subscribe to get new episodes as they become available.

Thank you for being here. I post new content each week.

 The Change Diaries Podcast theme music by Ellan Neil

The Change Diaries Podcast cover design by Aris Amitirigala

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.   

Changing your location – It wasn’t as hard as I expected

The Change Diaries podcast explores how to better embrace change, spark change or simply be the change we want to see.

In this second series of the Change Diaries podcast, we explore the ups and downs of changing locations. It’s said that moving ranks as one of life’s biggest stressors, right up there with death and divorce. I’ll speak with the experts to lead us through the ins and outs of managing a relocation and I’ll get personal, diving into how my own family has experienced these different moves.

This short conversation with my twelve-year-old son Aris really brought home how he’s learning differently in each country and what he’s most grateful for now. Leaving Florida at age eight to head to London, U.K., was a big move for him and he started taking the public bus from Hammersmith on his own each day to head to school in Mortlake. Last year we moved to Toronto, Canada.

Ultimately each place has offered him something special and he’s forged new friendships. What has his journey been like? What’s been easy and what’s been more challenging? Listen in to find out and leave a comment after the show. Remember to subscribe!

Listen

Thanks for being with me and joining this second season of the Change Diaries podcast under the theme, ‘Changing your location – the ups and downs. Please comment below, follow my blog and share with others. Never miss an episode! Subscribe to get new episodes as they become available.

Did you miss any of the first season ‘Changing your life – Do you need a life coach?

Catch up on Apple Podcasts

You can also listen and subscribe on Spotify

Thank you for being here. I post new content each week. Follow my blog.

The Change Diaries Podcast theme music by Ellan Neil

The Change Diaries Podcast cover design by Aris Amitirigala

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.   

A Teenager’s Take on Moving Countries – Turn your head towards the new things to discover

The Change Diaries Podcast explores how to better embrace change, spark change or simply be the change we want to see.

Moving Your Life is the focus of this new series of the Change Diaries podcast as we explore Changing your location – the ups and downs. Experts say that moving ranks as one of life’s biggest stressors, right up there with death and divorce. In this series I’ll speak with some experts to lead us through the ins and outs of managing a move and I’ll get personal, diving into how a family (my family) has experienced moving, including international relocation.

Kicking off the season is my teenage daughter Lauren. She was born in Florida, spent the first two years of her life in Jamaica before we made the permanent move to the US. Then we headed to London, UK, where she started high school. Now we are in Toronto, Canada. What’s that journey been like? What has she learnt along the way? And what’s her best advice for teens going through a move? Whether you are moving or not, if you have a teen in your life this is a must listen! Tune in and leave a comment after the show. By the way, have you subscribed yet?

Listen to the Episode

Thanks for being with me and joining this second season of the Change Diaries podcast. Please comment below, follow my blog and share with others.  Never miss an episode! Subscribe to get new episodes as they become available.

Catch up on Apple or Spotify if you missed any of the first season, ‘Changing your life – Do you need a life coach?

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

You can also listen on Spotify.

Thank you for being here. I post new content each week.

The Change Diaries Podcast theme music by Ellan Neil

The Change Diaries Podcast cover design by Aris Amitirigala

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.   

Moving Countries? Self-care is a must

Relocation is stressful. Even if you are simply moving to a townhouse in the same complex, it’s still stressful. We’ve done that by the way. We thought we could just load up the car and drive back and forth 300 meters between places. Worst plan ever. 

Planning the moving logistics kicks off anxiety. Packing boxes ramps up the stress. Throw in ‘global mobility’ and ‘international movers’ and you wonder how you will survive. 

In 2020, during the global coronavirus pandemic, I packed up my family and moved from the United Kingdom to Canada. I was still working while doing everything on my own. I had a to-do list longer than my arm. Everything that should have been easy had an added complication. Our original flights were cancelled, the hotels near to us in London weren’t taking guests, we required government permission to land in Toronto during Covid…and I could go on. Summary – I was juggling a lot and at risk of burnout. 

So how did I end up making those months of moving and settling into a new country the most pleasant, relaxed and smoothest experience I’ve ever had?  

Simple – by maintaining a self-care program that included reading, exercise, meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, and consuming high-vitality foods. 

Here’s how it played out. 

During the first weeks of lockdown in the U.K., the kids and I exercised in the mornings with Joe Wicks on YouTube and went walking in Barnes Common in the evenings. Check out my #Coviddiaries blogpost series  for more on how we managed.  

An agency partner started offering daily yoga classes via Zoom and a small, grateful group of colleagues would log in each morning or lunchtime. She also gifted me with two specially blended aromatherapy oils – Sage and Basil was one, the other was a Ginger, Turmeric, Orange, and Fir Needle blend. I used them daily and added Frankincense and Lavender to manage the insidious insomnia. 

On arrival in Toronto, we quarantined together in a one-bedroom apartment for two weeks. Four of us. One bathroom. Enough said. Miraculously I kept up a daily self-care regimen, joining fitness and yoga classes via Zoom, meditating, drinking tons of water and reading voraciously to nourish my mind and to feed my imagination. 

And then came the biggest shift – I joined a twelve-week program called Shakti at Home. It included HIIT classes, yoga, strength training, daily meditation, journaling, breathwork, wellness webinars, and practical guides to maintaining a diet of high vitality food along with recipes. It was a transformative experience.  

Moving brings up all kinds of emotions. It is also physically and mentally taxing, so you need to actively renew your energy. And if you are a parent, your family’s wellbeing depends hugely on your state of mind during the move. Your own self-care is essential to how you cope with each hurdle during the transition and support others around you.  

Investing in my wellbeing helped me meet challenges with equanimity and remain centered when our shipment was stuck at the Port in Montreal for several weeks and my work permit was delayed for months because of Covid.  

Whether you have a move coming up or not, safe guard your mental health and make self-care a must. It doesn’t have to be costly; here are some simple ideas: 

  • Take a daily walk or ride in nature. 
  • Do some yoga stretching each day. 
  • Download a free app for meditation or mindfulness
  • Drink plenty water, you will feel the difference. 
  • Get more sleep. Write your list of things to do, get tasks done daily and what you can’t finish, leave for the next day, there is no point in exhausting yourself. 
  • Prepare healthy, nourishing meals, even in the madness of moving. I use the Live Fit Kitchen Cookbook which has great recipes.  
  • Plan a mental escape – read a novel.

Don’t wait another minute! Make your self-care a priority and master your next move.  

Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment below and share your favorite self-care habit. Remember to hit ‘subscribe’, I post new articles each week.

© Arlene Amitirigala 2021. All Rights Reserved.