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Transcontinental Overload

Author: Stephanie Cook

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Transcontinental Overload shines a spotlight on expats’ life stories, and the realities of leaving your home country and making a new life abroad. Host Stephanie Cook talks to fellow expats, global nomads and professionals about their personal journeys and observations, discussing the complexities, wonders, heartache and richness of living abroad. The podcast goes hand in hand with her blog on
41 Episodes
Today's guest is Izge, who grew up in Turkey, left her home country to study in the US, worked in various locations. and then decided to move back and forth a few times. She now feels like a complete mix of the two countries and slightly at odds with both from time to time. We talk about those seemingly small moments that change the trajectory of your life, the best way to integrate into life in another country, and how to combine those different aspects of yourself.And we both agree that food is the best way to connect us with our heritage and the places we love (yes, I am collecting my guests’ recipes).Happy Halloween, y’all! 
Today's guest is Janine, a Canadian expat in Valencia, Spain. Janine left Canada over 14 years ago, but never planned to stay this long. Cupid had other plans, however, and she ended up staying, and after initial bumps in the road, is now fully embracing her expat existence. We talk about the strange sense of not belonging, how to survive - and even embrace - the dark days, and why being stubborn is a good thing. We discuss toxic positivity on social media, and how finding your voice and staying true to yourself are the most powerful weapons as an expat. Janine is married to a Welshman, so of course we had to have a little nostalgic gush fest about Gavin & Stacey - if you've never seen it and are curious about Wales, this is the show to watch. An absolute institution, not just in the UK. You can find Janine on Instagram, and learn more about her services as a copywriter and writing coach on her new website, So Janine Christie, which will be launched very soon! In the meantime, her previous rants and observations can be found on her old website, My Expatations.  Find out more about me on my website, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, @overloadedsteph, and if you like, buy me a coffee! 
Hello, I'm back! Today I don't have just one guest, but two! Married couple Megan from the US and Simon from the UK are on the show to tell us their story and share some insights into the differences between their countries."Great Britain and America are two countries divided by a common language" - this famous George Bernard Shaw quote couldn't be more true.Megan grew up near Austin, Texas,  moved to California after college and then to New York, where she met Simon from the UK, who had taken the opportunity to leave his home country for a job posting in the US. They talk us through how they met, and how their different backgrounds have influenced their relationship and decisions. Topics include language and behaviour, US vs. British dating rules, and of course, food! British vs. US dishes, spices and special traditions, such as turkey two ways.In case you're still wondering what Yorkshire puddings are, here's a link to provide more information! And equally so for Tamales. I just didn't have room in the episode.  See you next time!
Today's guest is someone you might have heard of if you're a) Francophile, and/or b) a comedy enthusiast. Paul Taylor is a British stand-up comedian who lives in Paris with his French wife and daughter, and performs both in English and French.  We talk about his career transition from Apple employee to full-time comedian, how to do comedy in two languages, the peculiarity of accents and in particular British vs. American English,  and our theories on why some people have stronger accents than others. Paul gives us a glimpse into the life of a stand-up comedian, different stand-up cultures in different countries, and how comedy has been greatly helped by the advancement of Netflix. Since both of us are language nerds and subtitle enthusiasts, our conversation dives deep into that part of linguistics. We also talk about the challenges of bringing up kids with multiple languages and cultures, and how we can keep a connection to a country we don't live in. Paul's first hour-long stand-up routine, Franglais, is available on YouTube, while his second show, So British ou Presque, was interrupted by the pandemic, and is starting up again now - so if you're in France later this year, you're in luck! Tickets are available on his website.  Paul also vlogs regularly, and he does a live show where viewers/listeners call in to contribute, Happy Hour Live. All his materials can be found here.
My guest today is my namesake Steffi, originally from the UK, who's lived in Southern Germany for a couple of years now. She calls herself an unexpected expat, and had never anticipated a move, or having to learn another language. Of course we discuss the many aspects of learning German,  how she slowly overcame her fear of talking to native speakers, and how ultimately the whole expat experience has given her more confidence and helped her to be less risk averse. We do go off on a tangent exploring a possible connection between the Scots and the Bavarians, and the merits of British vs. US baked beans. Other topics include the joys of driving on the Autobahn at 200km/h, why people perceive the Brits as more polite when they're actually much ruder than the Germans (yes I know this will cause some controversy), and the phenomenon of not appreciating a place's beauty when you live there, but definitely miss it when you've left.Make sure you check out Steffi's blog, Adventures of Steffi, and find her on Instagram or Facebook as @theadventuresofsteffi.
Today's guest is Brigitta, a Hungarian with some Canadian roots, who's married to an American. And not just any American, but a member of the US Army. We talk about what it's like to deal with the many moves and ups and downs of army life, how to make and maintain friendships when your life is so transient, and how to cope with the sacrifices you need to make sometimes.I was really impressed by Brigitta's warm personality, positive attitude and obvious love for her husband and the life they've created. If you're an Army spouse in need of some encouragement or just a chat – get in touch with Brigitta! She's happy to connect, and can be found on Facebook where she runs her own business as a Virtual Assistant. And as threatened in my intro, here's the Ko-Fi link in case you want to "buy me a coffee"! 
My guest today is Corinna, a fellow German in the US. Corinna currently lives in Cape Cod with her American husband and two children, although they hadn't planned to live there, and might still up sticks and relocate.Corinna's story resonated with me on so many levels - being married to someone not from your home country, trying to make it work in one country, but missing another, relocating and doubting your decisions... but you just keep going. And Corinna and Ben's love story is a truly mesmerizing one! Corinna also has some great tips for traveling with children, and how to stay sane and survive as a couple when you experience so many different situations together. As you will hear in this interview, this woman is a fighter - I mean, who founds two businesses while traveling with kids, no long-term plan and no home to return to?!I'm so excited to share this love story with you. If you want to find out more about Corinna and her travels, go to her Instagram. And of course, check out Corinna's businesses:Ryde and Roam, children's vintage wear The Caep, phone accessoriesIf you're a German expat or someone who speaks German, here's another podcast for you, Muttersprache-Podcast, hosted by Monique Menesi. Check it out!
My guest today is Marie,  a fellow European bringing up kids in the United States. Born in France, Marie lives in Michigan with her American husband and two children.  We talk about what it's like to try and maintain your mother tongue as the minority language in your household and country, and how to create the need to use "your" language, while accepting that your kids are growing up in another country and culture.She even founded her own French school with other expats in order to support her kids' learning. Other topics - of course - are the weird and wonderful differences in French and American culinary cultures, the difference between peaches and coconuts, and how we can create beauty by mixing cultures.  If you want to find out more about Marie, check out her blog, French Bias, where she talks about bringing up multilingual kids, expat life in the US from a French perspective, and lots and lots of information about food and food culture, as well as language learning resources.  And if you feel the urge, feel free to buy me a coffee!  
My guest today is Dana, an American in Munich, Germany. Dana is a seasoned YouTuber, and her channel, Wanted Adventure, is an absolute favourite of mine. She is also the author of a really funny and insightful book about learning German, You Go Me On The Cookie!, which we talk about at length. It's only published in German at the moment, and is a wonderful reminder for us German native speakers that our language is full of wonder and contradictions.  Other topics of conversation include (of course) the love story that brought her to Munich, weird and wonderful birthday and cake traditions, the many degrees of bubbly water, and German windows. Other than on YouTube, you can also find Dana on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  She also has a Patreon page, plus a super cute gift shop - take a look!  ​Her book, You Go Me On The Cookie! is widely available – how about a little support for your local book shop?
My guest today is Cath, who was a guest on my show over a year ago, and it was so good to be able to continue our conversation. It's not easy to have a flowing conversation and then try to fit it into an hour-long episode, so I was more than pleased to delve into all the things we didn't have time for last time. Our conversation meandered from the whirlwind beginnings of Cath's love story, to dealing with redundancy, coming out and leaving her home country to move half way around the world, same-sex marriage, and how to deal with neurodiversity within a relationship, realizing you didn't actually read the small print when you moved into your new partner's life and home. To find out more about Cath, visit her website, Drawn to a Story, and make sure you check out her wonderful book, Living Elsewhere, – it's a fantastic gift for someone living or planning to live the expat life.  And as if being an illustrator and running her own business wasn't enough already, Cath is also a practicing shamanic healer!Cath can also be found on Instagram and Facebook, where she runs regular "Talk-Back Tuesday" and "Barefoot Friday" live groups, addressing topics such as gender identity, racism, prejudice and so much more! 
Today I'm talking to Brenda, a "Nebraskan farm girl turned global adventurer" about her life in Tanzania, where she lives with her Tanzanian husband and their twins and various extended family members, running a safari business, Tanzania Choice Safaris. Brenda is a wonderful storyteller and talks openly about her journey from being an introverted Western woman to embracing life in a completely different, patriarchal society, how her new culture has shaped her views on her own country, and what advice she would give other women in similar situations.  Brenda also has a  blog, The Joy of Life is Love, which she (and I too!) hopes to revive, and if you are interested in seeing the family in action, you can find them on Amazon Prime on House Hunters International, Season 78, Episode 2 (2015): A Family Safari in Tanzania. 
My guest today is the wonderful Sundae Schneider-Bean, author, podcaster, and intercultural coach and strategist, whose mission is to help global individuals achieve their international and personal goals.Having been a member of Sundae's coaching program, I loved hearing her story - from meeting her Swiss husband on a backpacking trip, to moving to Switzerland, experiencing a terrorist coup in Burkina Faso and then relocating to South Africa, with a few solo parenting stints, identity crises and challenges thrown in along the way.We discuss what it means to differentiate between cultural and personal differences within a relationship, the importance of equality when it comes to decision making, how to give  yourself space to adjust and sometimes grieve, and so much more. If you're interested in finding out more about Sundae and her work, make sure you listen to her podcast Expat Happy Hour, or visit her website!And here's a link to her Love Letter Every International Couple Needs to Read.
Welcome to my new season! For the next few weeks and months, my focus will be on cross-cultural relationships, and I'm kicking off this new approach with a wonderful guest:  Carol El Hawary from Scotland, who lives in Cairo with her Egyptian husband. I still maintain this should be a movie script: a holiday romance in a country her aunt had strong connections with turned Carol's life upside down and led her to create her dream business. We talk about all the challenges a Western woman faces in an extremely male-dominated society, the heartache of almost losing a friend over the new relationship, how climate influences character, and how amazing it is to be able to influence a culture from within (with a good dose of fierce Scottish willpower!). Check out Carol's new travel service, Literary Tours Egypt, to find some wonderful inspiration!
Today's guest is one of my favourite expat podcasters: Nicole Palazzo from The Expat Cast – "the podcast where expats share stories about fitting in, standing out, and every mishap on their journey to feeling at home abroad".  We talk about the dark moments of expat life, how we discover things about ourselves we didn't know, and what happens when your primary reason to leave your home country is no longer the reason to stay in your new place. We discuss what it means to be introverted expats, and how we need to work really hard to overcome this, or, as Nicole puts it, try to "overthink things less", and start to embrace our expat outsider status. You can follow Nicole on Instagram, check out her website with all the links, or find her podcast on all the usual platforms. Make sure you check out Nicole's conversation with Rachel from Meet the Germans, who is also a previous guest on this podcast! As promised in the introduction, here's the link to Matthew and Camila McConaughey's YouTube channel, with information on the benefit concert and their Just Keep Livin Foundation. Don't forget: 21st March!
It's just me today, celebrating my podcast's first anniversary and over 2,000 downloads, as well as making a little announcement.Thank you so much for being such fantastic listeners! Don't forget to spread the word, and please subscribe!You can also find me on my website, on Instagram, or join my Facebook group.See you next time!
Today's guest is Katherine from Bad Days Abroad, the blog she decided to start in order to process her own journey as an expat and her recent decision to repatriate to Estonia, her passport country, after 15 years of living abroad. Katherine describes herself as an adult TCK, having spent most of her formative years in Switzerland, Portugal, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark, before deciding to move back "home". Our topics range from leaving your home country at an early age, to living as the perpetual outsider, language learning myths, the difficulty and serendipity of making friends as you get older, and how to deal with longing and grieving for another place.We take a very honest look at friendships, the transience of expat life, and how it can teach us to live in the moment more and really appreciate what's going on in our present.I was blown away by Katherine's maturity and total honesty, and can absolutely recommend her blog and Expats in Lockdown and upcoming Should I Stay or Go series! And of course, you can also find her on Instagram.If you feel inclined to donate to Austin's homeless shelters and winter storm relief organizations, you can do this here, or here, or here, and there are many more places in need of help.
Today's guest is Martina from Germany, who has  lived in Spain, Switzerland and Australia, and is currently enjoying life in California with her young family.Martina created her blog, Almonds & Sunset, to celebrate the beauty and adventures of life abroad. Languages are one of her biggest passions, and if you're ready to listen to two German language nerds geeking out about accents, the English language in general and our innate desire to fit in as non-native speakers, this episode is for you!Of course we also talk about Martina's experiences in Australia, Spain and Switzerland, and the things she misses about all of them. If you want to find out more, check out her blog and Instagram!Find Feli and Josh's podcast episode on accents & dialects here. As ever, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast (and leave a nice review!!), check out my website, find me on Instagram, and join my Facebook page! 
Today, I have the great pleasure of talking to Expat Empire founder David McNeill.  Originally from the United States, David has lived in Beijing, Tokyo and Berlin, and is currently based in Porto, Portugal.He started Expat Empire because he has a genuine passion for living abroad, and wants to inspire people to move and show them how to do it. He has produced books, podcasts and blog posts, organizes meetup events and offers personalized consulting services to give everyone the opportunity to achieve their international dreams. In our chat, we cover a whole range of topics, from the importance of having a dream and the willingness to take risks, to learning patience and trusting (and honing) your intuition in order to move forward.If you're planning a move abroad, or if you're an expat who feels stuck in your current situation and are looking for change or an improvement of your circumstances, make sure you take a look at David's website, Expat Empire. You can contact him directly by email at, and follow him on Instagram.And if you're thinking of moving to Japan, check out his book "Passport to working in Japan".
My very special guest today is Feli from Munich, aka Feli from Germany (that's her YouTube channel). I love talking to people with a similar background, and in typical German fashion, we jumped right into all the dicey topics you avoid in polite conversation in America: ignorance when it comes to world matters, sex, politics, religion, and many more. We had a blast!Feli explains how she ended up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and what prompted her to launch her YouTube channel, and more recently, her podcast, Understanding Train Station.  (Listen to this episode if you want to find out what the title means!)Find Feli on Instagram, and @understandingtrainstation. 
My guest today is Etienne, whom I met through my husband's work, and who I knew within five minutes of meeting absolutely had to be a guest on my podcast. Originally from South Africa, Etienne has lived in Germany and then moved to the US in 2000 with his South African wife. They now live in San Diego, CA, with their three children.Our conversation topics span the full US expat spectrum, and include gems such as: accents, especially German and South African Afrikaaner and English differences in South African culturethe intricacies of bringing up your children with multiple languagesmusings and insights into the American psyche the pros and cons of reinventing yourself & the price you pay for leaving your home comfortssausages in all shapes and formsAmerican chocolateWe also seem to dedicate an inordinate amount of time talking about Starbucks.The Netflix show I mention but couldn't remember the title of, starring German comedian Anke Engelke, is called The Last Word. It is a brilliant example of German humour.Etienne de Bruin
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