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#0: Holding the Fort Abroad: What's it all about?
20th April 2022 • Holding the Fort Abroad • Rhoda Bangerter
00:00:00 00:06:49

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In this episode I talk about what you can expect from this podcast and why I am doing it.

Extract from the book Holding the Fort Abroad:

“Holding the fort, or, in American English, holding down the fort, is an expression that means taking care of things during someone’s absence.

In March 2019, as my husband prepared to live in Afghanistan for two years while I stayed in Switzerland, I realised that he has travelled for work throughout our 15-year marriage, albeit not eight weeks at a time, as we were then planning. It would be fair to say I took care of home, family and my own projects while he was away.

There have been times when I arrived with our two boys at the location of my husband’s new posting and he was already off on a work trip. In the meantime, I found a home, transitioned the children into a new school and settled in. Or the other way around: he went on to his new job while I sold the house, organised the goodbyes and shipped us all off to our new destination.

Over the years, I have had conversations with fellow globally mobile families about the fact that often, a big part of a posting includes work travel. Frequent business travel is mentioned, along with loss of social network, loneliness and resentment as typical stresses of expatriation on the Accompanying Partner. But its impact is rarely looked at separately. It is high time we start talking, in its own right, about life abroad with a travelling partner.”

Resources mentioned in the show

Holding the Fort Abroad - Book

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Solo parenting expat mums - Facebook group



Hello and welcome to Holding the Fort Abroad, the podcast about life with a partner who is away from home a lot for work. My name is Rhoda Bangerter and thank you for joining me on this introduction episode. I’m going to talk a little bit about what you can expect from this podcast and why I am doing it. «Until I met you, I thought I was overthinking it». That’s what someone told me just the other day. I have head it in many different formats: «I couldn’t cope, I thought there was something wrong with me», «I am Mexican, married to a German, we have a two-year-old, my husband travels a lot for work, I am drowning.» This breaks my heart. No one should be drowning alone and more importantly, no one should be struggling alone, maybe in a country that is not their home country, with a partner who is away from home a lot. It is not only military personnel who are away from home, businesspeople, humanitarian workers, medical personnel, high level athletes, people who work in the nuclear sector, it is surprising the number of professions that involve a lot of travel. Even during these covid times, many people have been away from their partners and children. Others, for the first time in years perhaps, have been home for the longest time ever, which creates a whole other series of challenges! Some families choose to live in split locations, where one partner stays in one country and the other lives in another country. They come ‘home’ every few months. We’ll cover those scenarios as well. I have been married to a traveller for over 16 years including two years where he lived in Kabul and our boys and I lived in Switzerland. The research I have done on this topic and my life experience culminated in a book called ‘Holding the Fort Abroad’ published by Summertime Publishing. In this podcast, i will be interviewing men and women who live abroad and have travelling partners so that we can all benefit from their wisdom and experience, I also invite family and marriage therapists to apply their expertise to this topic. We’ll also be talking about how best to support mums and dads who are holding the fort. Someone even told me that my book is useful even for people who don’t have a travelling partner, so if that is you, then you will still find gems in the podcast for your life. In this first season of the Holding the Fort Abroad Podcast, I interview Vivian Chiona, psychologist and founder of expat nest. I am honoured that she agreed to write the foreword to my book. With her, we set the scene of challenges and benefits of this kind of life and give some tips on how to make it work.

I will also interview a mum and two dads who are holding the fort abroad. Margaret Guielmetti, author of ‘Brave(ish)’ will join us in an episode. There will be two episodes/month. That’s all for now ! I hope you will join me for episode 1!