We thank Kylie Bevan for this beautiful interview. Kylie helps people relocate and resettle with greater ease, feeling capable and confident. She is the founder of Relocation Health Coaching.
Would you share a bit of your story? What is your background? How did it happen that you found yourself living in so many countries?
During my childhood our family of four moved from a city to a country town in Australia. I can only assume this positive experience, plus hearing my parent’s stories of living and travelling overseas before I was born, gave me the confidence to move from Australia to the UK at age 17, on my own. Although I had a waitressing job lined up, I didn’t know anybody in the UK, yet with the invincibility of youth welcomed the opportunity with open arms.
With daughters of our own now, I can only imagine the angst it must have caused my parents at the time, however I don’t recall any real concern of my own in making this move to the other side of the world. I filled my bag with 20kg of warm clothes purchased from a charity shop, and off I went.
Since then, I’ve sought out employment in Canada, followed by new-partner to Papua New Guinea, moved around Australia with my now-husband, and relocated our family to Tonga and Vanuatu, in the South Pacific.
With such a passion for travel, my first career of 15 years was managing travel consultancies. Ready for a new challenge in my late 30s, I embarked on a new career, in line with another of my passions, health and wellness, by becoming a certified health coach.
I’ve now married these passions and careers, working as a Relocation Health Coach, helping people around the world relocate and resettle in a confident and capable way. I feel so very honoured to support them through transition in a positive, fulfilling and aligned way.
It’s not so much that we seek to live in many different countries now, but that we embrace new opportunities.
You are passionate about health. Did you become a coach to assist people in their overall health, or did you chose the health niche after becoming a coach?
With some health challenges of my own, culminating at age 39, I felt a strong desire to help people navigate their way through the abundant amount of confusing health information available. Having found many medical practitioners have their hands too full with sick care to be able to offer health care, I saw a need for an intermediary between the patient and doctor. Many months of research led me to the perfect course, and also the job title – Health Coaching, through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York. Focussing on everything that ‘feeds’ the body, not just nutrition, meant I graduated knowing that physical activity, relationships, purpose, spirituality, creativity and play are also vital for good health and wellbeing.
As a health coach I help clients recognise and heal the areas of their life where they are not feeling fulfilled and alive. So, yes, I became a coach specifically to assist people with their overall health – and am loving witnessing how effective this approach is, for my clients’ health and for my own.
Tell us a bit about your overall experience in coaching expats with health issues – are there commonalities? What is the main problem people talk about when it comes to their health?
At the time of the move, commonly healthy habits are dropped, including adequate sleep, nutritious food, exercise except packing and cleaning, and even drinking enough water. For a few days the body will cope, then warning signals hopefully encourage sufficient repair work be made. Prioritising the top four – rest, food, water and movement – helps ensure you get through the move without getting sick.
Once the initial logistics are sorted out, that is, a place to live, a way to get around, a school for the kids and income to rely on, the most common concern for expats, I’d say, is feeling lonely or unsettled. Forming new connections and friendships is daunting to most, whether extroverted, introverted or anywhere in between. As challenging as this might feel, letting people know you are new to town and keen to find like-minded friends, activities or groups is a great first step. Go where your ‘type’ of people might be, perhaps the gym, café, health food store, library, culture centre or pub, and spark a conversation. Another option is to ask questions in online forums or social media groups. When you hear of a potential group to join, contact the organiser so they can keep an eye out for your first visit and introduce you to others. The first few people you meet might not be potential new friends, however they may well know those who are.
Another common concern for expats is finding where they fit in the new location, that is, their role and responsibilities. This is especially true if you’ve moved for your partner’s career, and yours is therefore in flux. Seeing this as an opportunity rather than a setback is often easier said than done. However, being nudged or even forced onto a new path may be the best thing that could have happened. Explore the possibilities, keeping an open mind.
Can you tell us about the book you wrote? Can it be used as a self-help guide?
When I moved to Tonga a few years ago, people commented how smoothly we’d arrived and settled in. A-ha! It was with this realisation that my health coaching knowledge and my personal relocation experience were paired. Given my visa situation did not allow me to work in Tonga, I decided instead to write Your Relocation Solution: be healthy and happy wherever you are. After interviewing 30 women about their relocation experiences, I combined their insights with my own to produce this guidebook for women wishing to feel connected, inspired and capable when moving from their comfort zone. Discussing topics such as mindset, relationships, nutrition, movement, purpose, play, spirituality, finances, time, dreams and fears, with suggestions and activities at the end of every chapter, it’s a great self-help guide for anyone moving internationally or interstate. It also includes membership in an inspiring and supportive Facebook group, such a very nice way to hang around with like-minded people.
Would you share a tip or two about how to maintain your physical and mental health through several relocations?
May I be cheeky and share ten? These are my top ten tips for relocation health. I’d love to hear what’s worked for you, so please connect with me through any of my social media channels, or log in to comment below. Happy relocating!
- Pick a word or phrase to focus on. Mine is ‘best choice available’. Whether it relates to food, exercise, home environment, career or relationships, this mantra gives me permission to make choices that relate to the here and now. Because that’s where I am.
- Give yourself time to settle in. It sometimes takes months or years to enjoy a new location, often via an emotional rollercoaster ride. Recognise every day as an opportunity to grow. Congratulate yourself for ‘high’ days and be gentle with yourself on the ‘low’ ones.
- Make the most of it. Take a moment every night to recall or write down three things that you enjoyed today.
- Employ the help of a local to show, or introduce you to, their favourite health practitioner, doctor, dentist, shopping places, hairdresser, restaurants, weekend location and areas to live. Ask lots of questions.
- Take care of you. Get plenty of sleep. Treat yourself to a massage, facial or pedicure – DIY if the funds or service are not available. Meditate or write in a journal to help clarify your thoughts. Patiently remind your self-critic that you are out of your comfort zone and doing your best.
- Learn the local language. This opens doors for cultural exchanges and new friendships, leading to greater respect, acceptance and opportunities. Learning a new language is also a powerful mind exercise, helping to alleviate stress and strengthen mental capability.
- See the ‘silver lining’ in challenges. Learn from any mistakes. How could you simplify what went wrong? Is there a way to solve that frustration? Who could support you in doing so? What else do you need – tools, advice, skills?
- Share your journey with interested others, by way of a blog, social media, emails or phone calls. You may be amazed how many are in awe of what you’ve achieved. Recognise any negative feedback is their story, not yours.
- Spend time in nature, with bare feet on park grass, walking along a beach, trekking through a forest or swimming in a lake. Time outdoors not only boosts feelings of wellbeing, by grounding and aligning, but also boosts vitamin D from the sun, vital for mental and physical health.
- Embrace the opportunity to become an even better you! Why not take this new chapter of your life to purge poor habits and embrace new healthier ones.
Main photo ©Kylie Bevan