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Finding your sanctuary as an Expat, and why having one is vital for your sanity.

When settling into your new life as an expat, you’re probably running at 100mph with your 101 to do’s. During this and other moments of your expatriate life, things will be pretty full on and can seem very overwhelming for you to handle all at once. Therefore I cannot highly recommend enough, that you find your very own personal sanctuary, and that’s not to include your house btw 🙂 Why?  Well because every once and a while you’ll need this place to help you to escape the stresses of living abroad.  You need a place where you can re-connect with yourself and your hear,t so that you can take a time out to re-think, reflect and gain the clarity you need.  Being grounded and connected to oneself allows you to make the best decisions you need to make for your better interest.


One of my very first sanctuaries that I found, where I’m currently living, in Milan, was one that I naturally came across at a nearby park. It’s called Arco Della Pace (Arch of Peace) and with no pun  intended funnily enough, this place does bring me a whole loada peace instantly whenever I visit. Now, although sometimes it gets rather busy with tourists, it doesn’t put me off or stop me from visiting, because I don’t know what it is but I just to hold a very special connection with this place. 🙂

This place isn’t really about noticing how beautiful the arch is, but for me more about the environment in which this arch sits in that feels magical to me.  There’s just something…… je ne c’est pas????… in the air!< oh yeah I do know what it is…it’s peace and tranquility thats in the air and I just love to sit there for a wee moment and breath it all in. 🙂 That my friend makes me feel all calm and grounded.  The fighter hero’s on the horses at the top of the arch make me also feel quite powerful and remind me of my inner strength and how I can handle whatever I’m facing in any of my personal challenging moments.

Here’s the history of Arco Della Pace in 20 seconds if you’re interested  – (taken from Livia Hengel from theculturetrip.com)

The neoclassical Arco della Pace, or “Arch of Peace”, is a triumphant arch located at Porta Sempione, one of Milan’s many city gates. The arch was built under Napoleon’s rule of the short-lived Italian Republic (1802–1805) to echo the Arc du Triomphe in Paris. The arch, in fact, is built at the start of Corso Sempione, a road that connects Milan to Paris along the Simplon Pass, with the intention that Napoleon would pass through it on his way into the Italian city.

So there you go! Wow!

OK, so here’s 3 steps to finding your sanctuary too.

  • Have a think about all the places that you loved to hang out in back home or at your last location and try to find something similar to that in your new foreign country/city. Whether it’s walking within nature, a special park, or sitting in a particular coffee shop, pick a place or two that really connects with your heart – you’ll know instantly because it just feels different to all the other places and you feel a warm connection to this spot, so just trust that, that’s the one you pick as your sanctuary.


  • There’s a NO ENTRY POLICY to friends, family or loved one’s – This is purely for your pleasure only. This means that only you can go but only if you’re BY YOURSELF!! Yup no wimping out and getting all insecure with me on this one. If the thought of going somewhere alone totally daunts you then you totally need to do this even more so and conquer that fear of being judged or lonely or whatever else comes up for you. Rest assured once you start spending some quality you time alone you’ll feel more confident and empowered.


  • Make a promise to yourself that you’ll go and hang out at your sanctuary as often as possible. Try to commit to going at least once a week and if that’s not doable then definitely whenever you’re having an off day, need to escape or have your instincts tell you so. Listen to your gut feeling when it’s telling you that it’s about time you paid a visit to your sanctuary!!


If for whatever crazy reason you are unable to find such a place that really resonates for you, then simply close your eyes and imagine one up inside your head. Go full out with using your imagination and visualising your sanctuary the way you would want it to be. If you love being in the mountains, by the beach or in the countryside paint the picture inside your minds eye as perfect as you’d want it to be and take some time out to sit back and hang out there for as long as your need.


Now it’s over to you – good luck in finding your sanctuary, and when you do please come back here and share with me where it is, how it affects you and how it’s impacted your well-being with your life as an expat.

If you already have your very own sanctuary place, let us know about how you found it and how it serves you.

With love and light


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