Amanda didn’t set out with the intention of creating an expat life, but that’s what she ended up doing. Here’s her story.
I am British born but have been living in the Netherlands since 2000. Since then, I have gained:
- 1 Dutch husband
- 3 sons
- 2 cats
- 2 rabbits
- Dutch nationality
- 1 freelance writing and translation career.
We live in the Achterhoek in the east of the Netherlands.
My expat life began when I moved to the Netherlands because my Dutch husband-to-be had just finished his police training. Transferring his career to the UK would have been a difficult and lengthy process, but my Human Resources (HR) career could move abroad more easily.
Within a few weeks of moving, I had a temporary HR job, which became a permanent position. I stayed for six years until my maternity leave at the end of 2006.
By then I already knew that I didn’t want to return once motherhood took hold and my maternity leave ended. I was despondent in the corporate environment, one that was continually restructuring and shedding employees as if they were numbers and not people.
And I had worked out the route I wanted to take. I had rediscovered a love of writing when I came into contact with Jo Parfitt in 2006. A couple of writing courses later and my writing juices were flowing.
Jo had convinced me that a writing career was feasible, and to boot I could make a portable career for myself, so should we move back to the UK in the future my career was flexible enough to move with me. (As it turned out, a move back most definitely isn’t on the cards, thanks Brexit.)
So HR became history and I set myself up as a freelance writer. I followed a Freelance and Feature Writing course at the London School of Journalism. I built up a network. I wrote, proofread and edited for clients. The translation side of the business was a natural progression the further I travelled on my Dutch journey.
The truth is I wanted to combine my career with motherhood. I wanted more control over my working environment, my assignments and my working hours. I grabbed the chance with both hands to evolve into a work-at-home mother.
These days I work with clients to write articles, perfect English texts, (re)write copy for their websites or translate Dutch text into English words.
I also have two blogs. Turning Dutch is about life in the Netherlands, and the other is about raising highly sensitive children (Happy Sensitive Kids).
I have contributed to published anthologies, published my own book and am working on more books in the series.
I love what I do. It hasn’t always been easy combining motherhood and working from home, but the children are older now and it’s definitely an easier task once children are in school. I haven’t looked back!
If you are considering a move abroad:
- Start learning the local language as soon as you can
- Think about the work you do before you move. Is it portable? Is now the time to consider making your career portable? Here are 10 tips for your career when you move abroad
- Arm yourself with creativity and a good dollop of humour whilst you adjust to a life abroad
Amanda Van Mulligen
Freelance writer and translator
BIO: Amanda is a freelance writer and translator (from Dutch to English). She’s an avid football (that’s soccer on the other side of the pond) supporter and can often be found offering encouragement to her sons from the side of a football pitch in the freezing cold early on a Saturday morning. The rest of the week she can be found writing or turning Dutch words into English words.
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