Defining Moves FIGT 2012 Vendor table

5 Lessons learned at FIGT 2012.

Defining Moves FIGT 2012 Vendor table


I’m finally back on San Franciscan soil, after a somewhat arduous journey wrestling the demands of antique luggage with unreliable closures, assorted electronic items requiring security inspection, a full size umbrella and lack of sleep. I looked rather like a frazzled cross between Mary Poppins, Inspector Gadget and Lucille Ball.

The Families in Global Transition conference was overwhelming, both in the quality and variety of presenters, the wonderful new friends made, and the sense of welcome and community on display. For the benefit of those not lucky enough to attend, I’ve picked my top five lessons learned at FIGT 2012.


1. They don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. In a room full of experts who illuminate every corner of the expat world, they haven’t forgotten the feeling of being the nervous newcomer, and the difference a warm welcome makes. Especially when you walk into a bar alone.

2. Nothing is new under the sun, but the way we experience and express it will be. There were over 180 people who have been relocating worldwide for many, many years, every one had their own individual, unique story. Often published by Jo Parfitt..

3. Borders, governments, expat packages and names change, but our priorities rarely do. Family, health and happiness were themes that ran throughout the conference, regardless of the nationality, citizenship, gender or role of the speaker.

4. Everyone struggles at some point. The most precious and empowering moments were of capable, strong, competent people sharing their stories not just of success, but also of defeat. It was a wonderful reminder that we are all human, and all both fallible and vulnerable, no matter how successful we might appear.

5. We all carry both baggage and the bruises to prove it. In this particular case, 2 vintage leather suitcases and an antique folding typewriter. I would like to personally kiss whoever invented suitcases with wheels..

15 thoughts on “5 Lessons learned at FIGT 2012.”

  1. Hurray, hurray, Welcome home. 🙂 Could have been worse … the suitcases could have contained 20kg chocolate… THEN you would have had good bruises . 🙂

    1. There is something very strange about having my sister from the Forest of Dean welcoming me home to San Francisco rather than our childhood home of Wales… Lost in Translation revisited?

  2. I love the folding camera – don’t show Evan, he’ll want it! Or, he’ll tell you that he already has three of them…..

  3. What a swell party it was! I didn’t know your sister lives in the Forest – so does my lovely brother-in-law!

  4. Welcome back Rachel; I am glad the conference went well.

    Hmmm. The camera could do with a little TLC; the bellows look as if they have a few light-leaks… If its an old Kodak, I have only got one like that; the bellows on mine are rough too but I do use the lens regularly on my view cameras.


  5. It was great to meet you in person Rachel and to discover you are as lovely in reality as you are in the twitterverse.

    Can I tell all your supporters that your session was the most popular in the room where we were. The chairs around Rachel’s table were full or almost full for every one of the three rotations.

    The seven habits of successful relocation really touched a chord with people.

    and it was great to be part of a tweet team at the back of the room -thanks for sharing your phone and if you have time feel free to continue tweeting under @trishacarter!

  6. I liked the fact that “our priorities rarely change” made your top five! Having done this global nomad adventure for more years than I ever thought possible, I agree. My priorities have not changed. It was nice running into so many fellow friends at FIGT. I am hoping to make it again next year. I was glad to be part of the closing panel but wish we had time to hear all the questions. Take Care, see you soon.

  7. I love the way you summarized this, and I think that it’s good that your take-away included the truth that at some point, everyone struggles at some point during an expat assignment. But the important thing is that we know how to pick ourselves up again and forge ahead! Hope to see you next time!

    1. And we find (and get better at finding) people who will help us to pick ourselves up. FIGT was a room full of people dedicated to that – a wonderful resource that everyone should know about!

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