Enter the Displaced Nation and find yourself falling down, down, down into the expat’s version of Alice in Wonderland.
And now that you’re here…welcome! Join in the fun! This is a site where expats and other internationals are free to express the sense of discombobulation they feel when moving to other countries. By the same token, you are also encouraged to channel your feelings of being out of place into creative acts (e.g., reading and writing books, taking photos, making art, writing and performing plays…).
Founded in 2012, this collective blog quickly achieved a following among expats, third culture kids, and other internationals who appreciate its quirky source of humo(u)r and emphasis on creativity. A set of regular columnists, along with founder ML Awanohara, feed the blog twice a week. One of the most popular features is a list, published twice a year, of recommended books for, by and about expats. Also popular are interviews with expat authors.
Right now, reflecting our special relationship with Alice in Wonderland, ML Awanohara is running a special “wonderlanded” series about expat authors whose lives, and works, in some way echo Alice’s adventures.
By far and away, the best way to sample, and grow accustomed to, the Displaced Nation’s special blend of internationalism, creativity and wackiness is to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Displaced Dispatch, with links to our latest posts and lots of quirky (but we think useful) news items. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE. It’s free, informative (reports on the latest expat books), and also a bit of a wheeze.
Whether or not you become a Displaced Dispatcher, thanks so much for visiting! (But do subscribe!)
A spot of history
Three of us started up this site on April 1, 2011: ML Awanohara, A Windram and Kate Allison. We had in common the fact that we’d lived in each other’s countries: ML is an American who lived in the UK, while A Windram and Kate, both Brits, live in the USA.
Another thing we had in common is that we never thought of ourselves as expats. Rather we were people who had ventured outside our comfort zones by crossing international borders not simply to travel but to live. (In addition to the UK, ML lived for a long time in Japan.)
Since the momentous day when the Displaced Nation was founded, A Windram has retired, citing fatherly duties. More recently, Kate, who is the author of the popular “Libby’s Life” fictional series, which reached 90 episodes(!), has retreated into her artwork. ML now does all the “keystone” posts as well as interviews with featured authors, and is the writer behind the weekly Dispatch editorials.
Fortunately, we were able to identify quite a few kindred souls so have since been joined by more (and more talented) writers, several of whom now have their own monthly columns. If you are new to our site, check all of them out (there are links in the sidebar). Every single one of them is absolutely and utterly fab, in our rather biased opinions!
Displaced Nation Charter
In lieu of individual bios, which can be tedious, here are 7 principles that the Displaced Nation’s three Founding Persons hold dear, which taken together constitute our nation’s informal charter:
1) Laughter is the best medicine for handling the vicissitudes of the displaced life. Always remember you are privileged to have been displaced; life would be rather different if you were forcibly displaced.
2) Of the various kinds of humo(u)r in the world, we favor the self-deprecating variety. It soothes personal anxieties and can also build bridges.
3) On the occasions when humo(u)r doesn’t work, we are of the school that thinks of putting the kettle on. We are big believers in the benefits of tea and sympathy (preferably accompanied by something sweet).
4) We’re obsessed with food, something we see as the inevitable result of international travel.
5) We’re full of curiosity and are happy to argue about anything at all. In fact, some have accused us of arguing just for the sake of it–how dare they? Off with their heads! (Yes, we have an Alice in Wonderland obsession and frequently identify with her woes.)
6) We celebrate creativity in all its forms, especially when it’s in response to a life of displacedness. What could be a better excuse for trying your hand at a novel, a memoir, a cookbook, a film, a business, you name it, than having fallen through the looking glass into another culture?
7) We’re all for a bit of escapism when it’s tastefully done (cue the long-running Libby’s Life series). Let’s face it, we can’t live in every single country we’d like to, so the only way to maximize one’s experience of the displaced life is to view it through the (hopefully entertaining) lenses provided by others.
Our spectacular banner was designed by the Manhattan-based artist Dorothy Robinson. You can discern a great deal about her displaced state of mind by taking a virtual tour of her paintings.
To reiterate, welcome, fáilte, bienvenue, bonvenon, welkom, добро пожаловать, namaste, huan yin, selmat datang, youkoso (歓迎). If none of these apply, then “emoclew.” If you’ve made it this far down the page, it means you’ve stepped through the looking glass and can begin your tour of the curious, unreal world occupied by international travelers and residents. Enjoy! And don’t forget to sign up for THE DISPLACED DISPATCH, the weekly round-up of our posts.