Personal Development and Writer Coaching with Dave Fox

Life Coaching for Expats and Global Nomads

Dave Fox is a certified life coach based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He works with clients all over the world via Skype, FaceTime, and phone, and is also available for in-person life coaching in Saigon. 

 

Living in a foreign country comes with big rewards, but also big challenges. If you’re struggling with certain aspects of international living, you’re not alone.

  • Language barriers and cultural confusions can leave us feeling isolated, or make us stand out in ways that feel uncomfortable.
  • Finding a new home, starting a new job, and other life changes that would be stressful in familiar circumstances, can seem overwhelming in a foreign place.
  • We might adjust to overseas living differently from our family members, and those differences can affect our household dynamics.
  • Accompanying partners, who have moved to support their significant other’s career, sometimes struggle to find a sense of purpose or identity in their new country. (I never use the more common, dreadfully condescending term, “trailing spouse.” More on that in a moment.)
  • Homesickness can set in – in big or subtle ways. We miss people back home or in other places we’ve lived. We miss familiar foods, leisure activities, or the ease of getting around in more common settings.
  • People back home miss us too – and they sometimes express that in awkward ways. They wonder why we don’t visit more often. When we do visit, they wonder why we don’t stay longer, or why we can’t conform to their schedule or plans.

As an American who has lived in England, Norway, Turkey, Singapore, and Vietnam, and who has spent roughly one-third of my life overseas, I understand both the thrills and challenges that come with international living. I coach expats as well as exchange students, digital nomads, people in multi-cultural relationships, international business people, and others who live or work in cross-cultural settings. If you’re leading a life that straddles multiple cultures or sub-cultures, I can help you thrive amid the backdrop of your foreign environments.

 

Expat Coaching for Accompanying Partners

(Don’t let anyone call you a “trailing spouse!”)

“Oh!” somebody said to me in 2011 when I first arrived in Singapore. “So you’re a trailing spouse!”

“I’m a what?” I replied.

The only time I’m trailing is when Kattina’s taking a selfie and she can’t see what I’m doing behind her.

My wife, Kattina, was starting a new job at an international school. I was self-employed. Her school obtained an employment visa for her, and a family visa for me. That term, “trailing spouse,” made it sound as if Kattina had dragged me to Asia by my hair (which was ridiculous; I shave my head), or as if I was following her around like a lost puppy.

Kattina proposed we instead adopt the acronym, “STUD: Spouse Trailing Under Duress” – but there was no duress involved. I was thrilled to be living in a new country. I have since adopted “accompanying partner,” as a more positive and more inclusive term, to refer to people who move overseas in support of their spouse or significant other’s career.

Not all accompanying partners arrive like I did, with a portable, freelance career. Many are excited by the idea of an international adventure, but when they land in a foreign place without a job of their own or something to feed their happiness, it can spark stresses in their personal relationships, feelings of loneliness and isolation, and sometimes, a full-blown identity crisis.

Those who do start their international journey with a plan sometimes discover that things in their new home are not what they were expecting. Depending on the host country’s labor laws, they might not be able to seek a job. They might find full or part-time work that isn’t their true passion. They might feel thrown into lifestyle changes that affect their family dynamics in ways they weren’t anticipating. Or they might simply feel marginalized by the “trailing spouse” label and the attitude that comes with it.

If you’ve moved to a foreign country to support your spouse or partner’s career, and you’re feeling like something is missing, I can work with you to develop a fuller sense of purpose. We’ll bust you out of the “trailing” mindset and into an exciting and fulfilling expat life.

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