Gypsy Soul: A Nanny Abroad

Find out why one nanny moved halfway around the world for a job, and how she copes with her loved ones being so far away.

 Photo courtesy of Erin Chrisholm.

Photo courtesy of Erin Chrisholm.

By Erin Chisholm.

They say home is where the heart is. What they don’t say is that sometimes the heart beats for many places, and that many places can become home.

I grew up in Australia with a love of kids, so becoming a nanny just fell into place for me. My lifelong love of travel and a strong pull toward adventure meant I felt a need to pursue a career that could provide me with a sense of freedom. Combining both of these loves (my love for children and my love for adventure) by becoming a nanny abroad was the best thing I ever did.

Was it scary packing up everything and moving 8,000 miles from my home in Australia, halfway around the world from the people I love? From familiarity and from the comfort of routine? Absolutely! But that feeling of adventure and the excitement of the unknown, for me, far outweighed the fear of taking such a leap.

I remember being at the airport (at least three hours earlier than the “recommended time,” as it seems I have inherited a trait to be early for everything from my father), and being filled with mixed emotions. As I said my goodbyes (and embraced the unexpected arm workout I was now getting from my extreme overpacking, which I’m sensing is a trait from my mother), I found myself shedding more tears than I thought possible. But I was happy, and I proudly stood there surrounded by my supportive family who were just as eager as I was to see me embrace my new life as a nanny overseas.

One of the great things about being a nanny is that no matter where we go it’s easy to find the comforts of home when you find a great family to become a part of. I do think to do this though you need to be aware of your strengths and your worth. That’s not always easy, I must admit (and trust me I have learned this the hard way, as unfortunately some families just don’t value the importance of a nanny), but when you do find that right family, oh how everything will fall into place. It will start to feel like another place you have the pleasure of calling home.

After coming to Los Angeles I have found a place that truly makes me happy.

I can bask in the glory of the daily sun, the healthy lifestyle, the red carpets, the hot spots, or simply just chill, ride bikes along Venice Beach and explore hiking trails. In a town full of “flakey” people, million dollar houses, and people desperate to become famous, having the kids to look after and good-hearted people around me has certainly kept me grounded.

 Photo courtesy of Erin Chrisholm.

Photo courtesy of Erin Chrisholm.

 If like me, you have the urge to travel someplace, someday, I say go for it. Isn’t it better to have an “oops” than a “what if?” Just between us nannies I have possibly said this a little too much after living in Los Angeles, but hey... I’m just living.

Before I left my home in Australia I was aware that it’s not going to be all straight roads and rainbows (and to be honest what fun would that be?) and once I did leave I came to realize a few things:

●     Like I thought, it's not always easy. You’ll miss your family. You’ll miss birthdays, you’ll miss special occasions, and you’ll miss the simple things like a hug from someone you love dearly. But that's okay because…

●     Those special people will always be there and being so far from home will make you feel even more grateful for them.

●     You’ll make new friendships and you find new love (all kinds of love from people, from places, and from experiences).

●     You will discover how strong you are, you’ll face fears, and you’ll embrace change. Being out of your comfort zone will bring so many more opportunities than you ever imagined.

●     No matter what country or city you are in, at the end of the day all kids need the same things (love, support, and care), and your skills as a nanny can shine in any place.

●     You’ll discover that the things you miss about being so far away from home will always remain memories, but that now you get to make many new wonderful ones.

One of the most important things I have learned from being a traveling nanny is that home is not just one place. Home is having people you love around you and with you regardless of where you are. And when you feel this, anywhere can feel like home.

With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and obtain the wisdom to be humble. And at the end of the day, you’ll have the self-esteem to do the things that make you happy. I did, and I will forever continue to embrace my gypsy soul.