Category Archives: worklife balance

10 Tips For Relocating to a New Country

Playa Grande in Punta Uva, a seaside village in the Límon province of Costa Rica.

With a growing number of countries offering Digital Nomad Visas and as a recent podcast guest on this topic*, it occurs to me that I have a unique perspective that may be helpful. Whether you are looking to work remotely or to change your lifestyle, here are a few tips if you’re considering relocating to another country (or if you’re asking for a friend…wink, wink).

1. Make a list: No, not a to-do list, but a passions list! What are your interests? What brings you joy? What are the things that you’re passionate about but have never found the time to pursue? Use this list to guide your ultimate destination.

2. Do your research: Create a list of must-haves and build your destination list around it. BTW – your passions list should be part of your must-haves. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but you want to make sure that you find a good fit for your life or how you want to live.

3. Take a trip: Break out that passport and travel! It’s a big world, go explore it. You can’t get the feel of a place without getting the feel of a place. When you visit, you can do a few tourist activities, but make sure you get some local flavor. Talk to the hotel concierge or your Air BnB/VRBO manager or host for some local experiences and/or local people that can serve as a guide. Also, talk to the indigenous people about their country.

4. Be flexible: If you’re moving to a new country, don’t expect the nuances and rituals of your previous home. Learn something new, have patience and if there is a new language, learn it (people will appreciate your effort and respond to you differently).

5. Make connections: Social media can provide you with a window into different countries. There are groups for just about everything. Join a few that match your needs (I joined a Black Expats in Costa Rica Facebook Group about three years prior to moving.)

6. Create a plan: No, everything doesn’t need to be etched in stone, but at least plan your logistics: moving, selling or storing belongings, finding a renter or buyer for your residence, etc. This should include a timeline.

7. Credentials please: Particularly if you’re moving with a family, have your vital records and paperwork stored in a manner that it is easy to access. I mean passports (obviously), health records, birth certificates, ID cards and other country-specific administrative records.

8. Make a budget: You are no longer a tourist. Make sure you account for the essentials (rent, utilities, healthcare, food, transportation) as well as some splurges along the way.

9. Follow your heart: This is your journey. What is right for you may not be right for someone else and that’s okay. Don’t be deterred if everyone is not onboard with your move (this excludes your family unit – you need some consensus). Do it anyway!

10. Enjoy the ride: Even if this isn’t your final destination, lean into it! Slow down. Take in the scenery and culture. Find your tribe. Have some great experiences!

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Posted by on September 28, 2022 in Career, Family, Health, Reflection, women, worklife balance


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Women’s Equality Day

Supposedly, that’s today… Is it really or just a hashtag?

Yesterday, I bumped into an acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in a while; she is blessedly pregnant. She is going on 40 and never thought she would have children because that’s what she’d always been told. 

As I shared a bit about pregnancy and motherhood, I asked her how she was doing.

It’s been interesting.

She said that about three or four times, but with a smile so I wasn’t worried. What she said next changed that… her employer does not have maternity leave. 

[A quick aside: I worked for an employer with no maternity leave, however this was a small non-profit and there was short-term disability after seven days.] But we are talking about a large, stable organization. 

Not only is there no maternity:

  • There is no STD until 90 days;
  • Can’t use the sick leave bank (even as a participant) unless you have a cesarean; and
  • You can’t have leave donated to you.

Her plan: bank as much leave as possible until December, tap her savings and get back to work as soon as she can.

But they have FMLA so at least she’ll have a job to come back to…

It’s 2016 y’all! Happy #WomensEqualityDay!!!!


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Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

Logo Family Final

Why is following my own professional advice so HARD?!?

I have a girlfriend/colleague who incorporated her nonprofit a few months ago, Empowering Single Moms, Inc. and is having a launch event on May 16. We’ve been friends since college and this has been her vision for a long time; it is so exciting to witness it coming to fruition!

With that said, I have been working at warp speed trying to teach her about the critical importance of branding, PR and media relations.  This is what happens when your client/sista girl pulls you in after-the-fact and doesn’t have a communications plan…don’t get me started.

Anyway, I sent her a quick and dirty task list on Monday to get her to the launch event, including roles, deadlines and notes. After work (yes, we are hybrids: both have 9 to 5s) I gave her a “social media for your biz” crash course via phone while she was in the barbershop with her sons. After hanging up, I heard my voice ringing in my ears: “Keep your Twitter fresh!” “Is your Twitter linked to your Facebook page?” “Have you invited your friends and colleagues to follow you?” Sigh…a long one.

If you are on Twitter, please be kind and follow me @joyinhome


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Work Your Package


Later this month, I’m excited to attend the 2015 Work Your Package event.

This women’s conference is the brainchild of a talented colleague and began as a book or success guide if you will. It’s a simple concept: creator Ayanna Castro decided to take hard lessons learned and share those experiences with others.  Moreover, she decided that she already had all that she needed to achieve her personal (and professional) goals, therefore she should “work her package.” Castro’s premise is that we can enhance what we have to become extraordinary. .. why not?!?

As I said, it’s a women’s conference; however she plans to tweak it for men after a member of her brother fraternity pointed out that he found the tenets in the book valuable. But for now, she’s focused on the group to which she belongs: we tend to be less confident as a whole, especially when it comes to business. So let’s get to it.

If you’re in the Washington Metro area or don’t mind traveling, ladies may want to check it out. March 28 9a – 5p at The Hotel at Arundel Preserve in Hanover, Maryland. The venue is gorgeous and sometimes we need a little girl time! A girlfriend is coming with me so you should make it a destination! On another note, this is a female entrepreneur working to empower other women, from all walks and I respect that.

And although WYP addresses beyond physical appearance- health & wellness, career, finance, style, personal branding- I am also attending a pre-conference event that is a make-up 101… I could use a few tips… So with cosmetic bag in-hand, I’ll be there Friday night.



Definition of a Dad

I don’t follow baseball, but this story caught my eye and pricked my heart. Daniel Murphy, Mets second baseman, was criticized in April for missing two games for the birth of his son. Radio show hosts and former athletes said the game is his priority with one stating that his wife should have scheduled a c-section. The game is more important than being a dad. This is why so many children don’t receive the attention they need from fathers: society does not require fathers to be present.

Murphy said it never occurred to him not to be at the birth. His litmus test in response to the critics is being able to answer his son’s questions about his entrance into the world.

That is the definition of a dad.


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Confessions of a Working Mom


Last month, I made a huge decision. I rejoined the “traditional” workforce after being self-employed for 3.5 years. The deciding factor was my children; they were also the reason I made the decision to work for myself.

The good news? I love my job. It’s only been five weeks, but I enjoy doing what I love (writing, strategizing) and being challenged. Because it is a large company- the largest I’ve ever worked for- I have many different types of projects, working with different types of people. And I am going to learn! That had been missing from my professional life for so long: the opportunity to grow and develop professionally.

Yesterday evening, my son excitedly shoved a crinkled paper into my hands. “It’s for Rock Creek! I wish you could go with me.” And there’s the downside. I can’t go with him. It’s on Wednesday.

I tell him, “Mom will go on another trip with you.” And I mean it. Another bit of good news. My new company is family-friendly. This was mandatory for me in my search. I’ve worked for places that frowned because I was out when my toddler had the flu. REALLY?!? So, I know that I will join him on the school bus for a trip, I just want a little more time in and to give a bit more notice (my work schedule is pretty full next week).

But, this has been and continues to be a huge transition, not for the kids, for me! I can’t remember how I did this!!! Mostly, I feel like a chicken with my head cut off. There are so many moving parts it is unbelievable. A bit more good news: the kids are fine…wasn’t that a movie? I digress.

I just slept for 11 hours. I guess I needed it. Add into the mix keeping my senior daughter on task, prom dress fittings, graduation planning and anticipation of college acceptance/funding. Whew! I know it will level out. A bit more good news… I’m excited!!!!

However, as I tell my younger friends who are not yet parents: “Parenthood is gangster! It is not for the faint of heart.”



A President for the 21st Century


Have you ever worked with someone or known someone who performs a task just because it’s always been done or because it’s always been performed a particular way, without regard for purpose or end goal? Who has no interest in the fact that it could be completed more effectively or efficiently? I am, by all accounts, an impatient person. So this makes me want to tear my hair out!

And this is exactly my feeling about Congress and this country, in general. And I can’t be alone. Partisanship aside…C’MON!!!

Last night, our President reminded this nation of who we should be if we would get out of our own way. Stop making everything so difficult and get to the job at hand. This is a new era with new challenges; stop dragging collective feet and invest in TODAY… the issues of today.

I was glad to hear the tone of a second-term President ready to exert executive power. Americans need jobs, our kids need access to education (Prek thru college), technology and innovation are critical, we can’t be bruisers and fight always and fair pay is fair. It won’t be easy, but it ain’t rocket science! And if it were, we have great minds who could figure it out.

It will take cooperation.

ACA was voted into law, get over it! America elected a Black president (twice), get over it! Marriage equality is here, get over it! Pope Francis is shaking up Catholicism, get over it! Women bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan, get over it! Young people don’t get mired down in race and culture; get over it! We need to take care of our veterans, get over it! We have to fix the planet that we hurt, get over it! People do not need high-powered, automatic weapons to hunt, get over it! Everyone in this country at some point was an immigrant, get over it!


Now, can we get to the America that our President talked about? The one founded on opportunity, equality, perseverance and freedom? I would like to catch more than a glimpse before I die.


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My Bad


I have been remiss as a blogger,  neglecting my post(s)…ha, ha…

Anywho, senior year is kicking my ass and it’s not even mine!!! Scholarship apps, essays, senior pics, fees, homecoming- it never stops.  Yet I’m trying to keep my eyes wide open because I know she’ll be off to her new life before I can blink.

In between time, I have been working on a personal project that’s long overdue: a series of poetry books. The last few weeks, I’ve been editing, tweaking and writing; now, I’ve just secured the perfect designer to infuse his artistry with my passion. I am soooo excited!!!

PR has been my professional gig and career but writing, that’s for me, it’s mine. It balances and nourishes me. Seriously. I’d be way wackier without it. So if there are any poetry enthusiasts, stay tuned…


Let’s Give ‘Em A Great Tip


I was previously involved in advocating for paid sick leave on the federal level and was thrilled when DC passed sick leave leg (only the second city to do so). What I did not know until recently is that some workers were excluded from this critical benefit. Tipped wait staff, bartenders and some health care workers were not covered by this landmark law.

Last week, a bill was introduced (Barry, Mendleson) in DC to address those who were missing out. Nine members of the DC Council signed on to provide the 3-7 days of annual paid sick leave that others have enjoyed since 2008. Additionally, the waiting period for this leave would be reduced from one year to 90 days. As a working parent, I know this would make a huge difference for many DC families.

And let’s think about this, do you want a sick bartender mixing your favorite cocktail or hacking waiter serving your meal? It’s a public health issue as well. Further, I think the tide needs to shif t to protect the little guy who truly makes a business what it is.

Naysayers are moaning about how it will hurt bottom lines… Studies show that it hasn’t- not here in DC, not in Seattle. And it hasn’t been abused.

If you enjoy the DC restaurant scene, show your support. Reach out to the council, especially if you’re a resident.


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Working to Live or Living to Work


The jury is still out on the living wage bill in DC. Mayor Gray has until next week, Sept. 16, to sign or veto.

Everyone has an opinion , particularly those not directly impacted by the pending legislation. My mother attended her neighborhood civic association meeting this past weekend at which her council member spoke (who opposed the bill). I asked my mom if she talked about the bill, not exactly… Alexander went on about the importance of jobs and employment in the city. Never about Walmart’s policies or more importantly what exactly is in the pending contract that is for district workers/residents.

I wondered aloud if those 300 jobs they keep promoting that Walmart will create, if it is specified that they go to DC residents and further those in that particular Ward. Also, will the jobs be fulltime or just shy, that famous trick so benefits are not earned. My mother brought up the point of utility bills and taxes. I was unaware that sometimes a city will bear the cost of utilities on behalf of an organization/corporation for the benefit of its business. Further, said entity could be excused from paying taxes for a given amount of time. I’m familiar with the tax breaks, more with regard to nonprofits. But if you give away the store, what’s left? What does the city or its residents receive in the deal?

I digress- this was the direction of our conversation. You know how I feel about the bill. Let’s see what the Mayor thinks about it…

A good article from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute.


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