The other day I received an email from Julien of Expat-Blog, requesting me to write a post about some new features on the website. Typically I don’t a) receive this type of request or b) write about something unless I’m motivated on my own to do so. However, this particular website has been a big help to me during my journey to London, thus it is something I have decided to promote.
As Julien says,
I indeed created Expat blog, a participative website dedicated to expatriation and life abroad, 7 seven years ago. I had the idea to gather on a unique platform all the expatriates’ blogs all over the world. Expatriates’ blogs are indeed a great way to get information about real life in a foreign country. As the years went by, new features have been added to the website such as a forum, guides, albums, a business directory. Expat blog has now more than 420 000 members and 1.8 million visitors per month.
It is a system that works. When I received his email, I was sitting in Chamartin Train Station in Madrid, waiting for Candace – The Great Affair. Candace is another travel blogger whom I met through the Expat Blog website having made the connection shortly after I arrived in London. She had already been here for a while but was very willing to meet up, exchange stories, and share our mutual love of French culture. She’s become a good friend on this journey of mine and serves as a huge inspiration – as my previous post may indicate.
But Expat Blogs wasn’t just an ‘after the move’ resource; I found the website early in my decision making process and it was the connection to blogs of people already living in the UK that I finalized my choice to move here. Two of the most influential blogs were: Get an Eyepatch Man – a married Canadian couple who were here for a year in the education system and had the most witty banter. They left the month before I arrived, which is a shame because I think that Amie and I would have had a hoot together, particularly as we went to the same gym (aka she lived locally; it’s not easy to do in this big city.)
Melissa of Girl Roaming Around the World, who has become a very good friend and a companion on the many adventures I have planned in and around the London/England area. She is also Canadian and has connected me with other travel bloggers such as Oneika, Mandy, and Melizza. We have our own Expat London group that meets up monthly to do cool things. Just admit it – you want to be us!
And then there were the other blogs that I happened upon: Larissa of Travel Knitter, who joined me in Liverpool and is an excellent travel planner. Plans are in the works for a venture to Wales in August with Rose London of Journey to London, who still lives in Toronto but is determined to move to The Big Smoke by the end of 2013 – she’s even returned to complete her MSW in order to make it happen! Jennedoesn’t often post, but she’s damn entertaining on Facebook and is a huge advocate of getting yourself a bike (which I’ve now purchased… save me from the mad traffic of London streets, though!)
Without Expat Blogs, the network I have around me here in the UK would be much smaller. I am terribly grateful to Julien for starting his site several years ago, and whilst I’m not entirely sure how useful the newly launched features (Jobs and Housing) will be, for those who have yet to move over to England you may wish to check it out as a resource. As Julien says,
Looking for a job or housing in England from your native country is not an easy task: you do not know where to look or where to apply. With its new international job and accommodation boards, Expat blog gives you access to job offers everywhere in the world, wherever you are.
In short, today I wouldn’t be as content as I am without the friends I’ve made here in London, and Expat Blogs is one of the key reasons I have met such wonderful people.