By Sonia Afonso
I quit my job 8 years ago, leaving family and friends behind, to embrace an adventure-packed life abroad with my husband, and now my kids. We left our ‘comfort-zone’ of our native Portugal and embarked on a new way of living.
After some exciting experiences in Switzerland, Sweden and Japan, we currently reside in Oslo, Norway. We tend to move quite often, more or less every 3 years: the life of expats.
Like everything in life, there are always good and not- so- good things everywhere we go. As we move around for my husband’s work, finding a job in each new country has been one of the hardest tasks for me. Potential employers tend to be wary due to the language barrier (even though learning at least the basics of the local language is always a priority for me), along with the time that it takes to settle in (from my experience around 6 months) and the short time that we actually spend in each location. And I want a job with a good work/life balance as family is a priority for me! So you can see my dilemma. Therefore, I’ve begun a "mission", to explore new career possibilities, new fields, new areas, that could give me the opportunity to do something "location independent". After a "what can we do?" conversation with a friend, on a whim, I signed up for a web design course in Tokyo. I had no clue what I was going to encounter, the level of difficulty and if would work for me!
Well, it turned out to be a great challenge, and now a passion, and as "one thing leads to another", since then, I'm discovering the world of social media and web design. My education and training has nothing to do with this area that I'm now working with, but at 40 years old, I have changed my focus and embraced technology! Even though I didn't grow up with technology side by side like my kids, I now live side by side with it! I'm not from this generation but I live in it! So, by trying, exploring, and experimenting I have found my way in photography and web design. Now I blog, photograph, code, design, and continue to learn to improve my skills and spark my creativity. My desire for learning grows more and more, and most importantly, I'm intellectual active, I’m building something for myself and I get the chance to visually story- tell through my photography and design. In the beginning I wasn’t sure what to do with all the moving in my life but as Todd Henry says: "You must define your battles wisely, and build your life around winning them". I decided that if you want to do something new, don't let the "but's" be an excuse for trying. I assure you, if you look deeper something good will come out of it!