Mini-returns and unfamiliar ‘homes’

Photograph of Gardens by the Bay

Towards the end of last year I went on a wonderful three-week holiday to Australia. It is one of my favourite places, if it is fair to think of it as one place – in three weeks I saw just a tiny fraction of it on this visit. My parents lived in Melbourne for a … Continue reading

Stolen bicycles and homeliness

My few ‘regular’ readers might have noticed that I have not posted anything on here for a long time (if indeed they have not completely lost interest!). The Autumn of 2013 produced two unexpected challenges to my new found love of cycling, the subject of my previous posts (on commuting and on bike personalities). The … Continue reading

Transport with personality

I have never been big on anthropomorphising things – attributing objects or other animals with human qualities has never had that much appeal to me. My transportation devices, however, seem to be different. My cars gain names, even ones hired on holiday, and usually not names you would want to give to a person (a … Continue reading

Work-life balance and commuting by bike

I have posted before about some sights from my London commute via train and tube (both people and places). Despite these positives takes, I have never been much of a fan of my journey to and from work. I have become a much bigger user of mobile technologies and e-reading to make the time productive … Continue reading

Repatriates and the value of intercultural skills

Keyboard return key

Earlier this month the British Council launched a report about the value of intercultural skills in the workplace. It concludes that, ‘Employers understand the value of intercultural skills to their businesses. In fact, they value these skills above many technical abilities and formal qualifications.’ So, intercultural skills would be good things to have on your … Continue reading

A break in the commute

On my journey to work there is a point where the train line rises above the roofs of the houses and I can see all the way across the city. It is fleeting so I have to avoid falling into my commuter cocoon before I get there so I don’t miss it. Each morning I … Continue reading

Shopping malls

China Town plaza

Looking at my globe often makes me think not just of other distant places, or of a well-chosen gift, but of the shopping centre it came from. This was a welcome sanctuary on returning to the UK: a brand new air-conditioned mall with chain stores, a food court and a familiar, inside-outside light filtering onto … Continue reading

Repatriation cheat sheet

Photograph of beach hut

I’ve finally put together a short ‘cheat sheet’ for people preparing to repatriate to their home country. Repatriations and return migrations are very common but they are not talked about as much as moves abroad, which is why I chose to do my PhD research on the subject. My research was with British households returning … Continue reading

The smell of home

Chinese soup spoon

Reading about the salmon in my last post I learnt that apparently salmon are guided in their return migration by the smell of the stream where they were born, and that is how they know how to get home in order to spawn. The sign in Vancouver’s Stanley Park (written by the city’s aquarium) asks, … Continue reading

Canadian return migration: salmon, geese and butterflies

When I was in Canada recently I learnt to appreciate the scale of animal, insect and bird migrations a little more, particularly the huge journeys made by hosts of salmon, geese and Monarch butterflies. It was not that I didn’t know about these before but there is always something about witnessing events or their settings … Continue reading