How to,  Living Abroad,  Thriving

Embracing Your Empowered Expat Woman

Today on the blog we are pleased to bring you a guest post written by the lovely Camilla Quintana. Camilla is the Founder of The Empowered Expat Woman, bestselling author, certified life coach, and podcast host. Drawing from over two decades of expatriate life and guiding hundreds of women on their global journeys, she brings a unique blend of insight and empathy to her work.

Born in Vienna, Austria, and raised within a globally-minded family, Camilla pursued studies in International Relations in the UK and Business Administration in Spain, setting the stage for her passionate advocacy for women abroad.

Since 2018, she’s been on a mission to spotlight the often-overlooked experiences of women living overseas, empowering them to embrace and take control of their stories. She’s known for her genuine and unfiltered approach, something that has caught our eye as well, and landed Camilla features through prestigious media outlets.

Outside her professional sphere, you’ll find Camilla enjoying spirited board game sessions with her three sons, traveling, engaging in soul-stirring conversations over multiple cups of coffee, listening to audiobooks, or finding zen through yoga. We know that, if you’re an expat woman, you’re going to love and benefit from this post so, without further ado, we give you Camilla.


Embracing Your Empowered Expat Woman

There I was, pushing a shopping cart along a long supermarket aisle filled with canned goods, neon lights shining down on me. I was walking slowly, after all, I had nowhere else to be, and no one waiting for me. A few months earlier, I had left my job as Head of Marketing to follow my newly-wedded husband to his hometown, Madrid, where he was relocated for work. Busy in a demanding new position, he was working until late in the evening, much like our friends and everyone else we knew.

I, on the contrary, found myself newly pregnant with our first child, making it an impractical time to look for a job. My days were filled with walks around our not-made-for-walking neighborhood outside the city, watching “el programa de Ana Rosa” (a talk show buzzing with the latest drama), and waiting for my husband to return home.

Needless to say, I felt frustrated, lonely, and without purpose. I found myself pondering if it was a mistake to give up everything to move to another country for my husband? What was I going to do with myself? Talking with close friends from home on the phone offered some relief. But over time, I began to shy away from even those conversations as I didn’t want to perpetuate the image of someone who couldn’t overcome her struggles.

Fortunately for me, the feeling of disempowerment would soon fade. (I stumbled across a book that talked about taking ownership and getting back into the driver’s seat of your life, which led to more books, courses and eventually becoming an entrepreneur).

But my aversion to being disempowered remained; it became the driving force that prompted me to start my business, The Empowered Expat Woman, where I’ve been supporting women living abroad in crafting their empowered life stories.

This experience also inspired two fundamental pillars of my work and teachings that have proven to be pivotal in the pursuit of feeling empowered, fulfilled and content:

– Becoming your own biggest ally

a strategic supporter and enabler of your long-lasting wellbeing and fulfillment, and

– Developing and working towards your unique long-term vision

something bigger than yourself, that will grant a sense of meaning, continuity and direction throughout your life, different destinations, and life stages.

In this article, let me take you through a few things that have helped me and my clients, and that will help you, too, to feel more empowered and in control of your path and story!

There’s nothing wrong with you

Let’s face it: moving to a new country is exciting and enriching, but it also brings its fair share of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles many of us face is a shift in our sense of identity. Have you ever experienced this? Back home, you knew exactly who you were – your family, friends, the schools you went to, your professional trajectory – they all played a part in shaping your identity.

But when you move abroad, all of that familiarity suddenly disappears. The people, places, and routines – they’re all gone. And with them goes a piece of who you thought you were. It’s like starting over with a blank slate. You’re in a new place, surrounded by new people, and everything that once defined you now seems irrelevant. It’s disorienting, to say the least. And it’s easy to feel lost, alone and disempowered, just like I did.

This loss of identity can trigger what feels like an existential crisis. Suddenly, you’re not sure who you are or where you belong. You may feel misunderstood and out of place, struggling to find your footing in this new world. The common language barrier only adds to the challenge, making it difficult to express yourself and connect with others.

If this resonates, know that there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just your strategy to deal with this situation that you need to work on. Here’s a thing that can make all the difference: becoming your own biggest ally. What does that mean exactly and how can you achieve that? Here are a few ways:

Foster self-awareness and introspection

Wherever you go, you take yourself with you, so it’s extremely important to get to know and understand yourself deeply. Moments of loneliness are usually part of the expat journey, so get comfortable with spending time with yourself.

When faced with unpleasant feelings, dare to accept them and discover what they have to tell you. You have these sensations for a reason, and I like to think of them as warning lights that something in your life is not working and needs to change. When you figure out what exactly it is and what you’d like to experience instead, you are able to make a positive and long-lasting change.

Be your Bonnie and your Clyde

Unlike any other romantic partner you may ever find, you’re stuck with yourself for life and there’s absolutely no way out of it. Therefore, the relationship to yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have – so you might as well commit to making it a healthy, caring and fulfilling one! Make sure to talk to yourself with kindness, forgive yourself for your mistakes, and make conscious decisions to promote your wellbeing in all aspects of your life.

Discover and honor your biggest values, desires, and needs

We are all driven by certain things more than others, and knowing what they are will allow us to remain true to ourselves, no matter where we go. When we design our life in a way that feels truly authentic, we’re setting ourselves up for success – emotionally and otherwise. This awareness will also free you from comparing yourself to others, who are not like you and value or seek different things in life.

Master self-leadership skills

We tend to overestimate the influence of external factors on our lives and underestimate our own internal power and agency: from the thoughts we nurture to the decisions we make and the people we surround ourselves with.

I always recommend thinking of yourself as the CEO of your mind and body. This analogy helps you distance yourself from inner chatter and recognize that these voices don’t define you. As the CEO, you have the power to choose which inner voices to listen to and consider. Trust in your ability to be your own CEO, your own biggest ally. This self-assurance will empower you to feel more resourceful, assertive, and confident – all valuable traits on your international journey.

Another important role of a CEO and strategic ally are to focus and act on your long-term development and prospering:

Crafting Your Long-Term Vision

As an expat or global nomad, it’s easy to view life in terms of temporary assignments: two years here, three years there, four years elsewhere. But this mindset can leave you waking up one day, questioning what you’ve really accomplished so far, and what comes next.

Having witnessed numerous existential crises due to a globally mobile lifestyle, it’s crucial to remember this: Each assignment and destination should be seen as different chapters, but of the same book. Your vision may manifest differently in each place you live in, but each action should contribute to the bigger picture you’re striving to create.

If you ever feel lost or lacking purpose during your expat journey, refocus on your overarching vision. Many challenges you face likely stem from a lack of clarity about your bigger purpose.

Here are some practical steps to help you develop and work towards your long-term vision:

  1. Reflect on Your Values: Take time to identify your core values and what truly matters to you. Your vision should align with these values, and provide a sense of fulfillment and authenticity.
  2. Reflect on your Strengths: engaging in activities that are in line with our strengths, interests and talents is particularly beneficial for our wellbeing and sense of purpose!
  3. Set Clear Goals: Break down your long-term vision into smaller, actionable goals and take consistent action towards them.
  4. Stay Flexible: While it’s essential to have a long-term vision, it’s also crucial to remain flexible and adapt to changing circumstances, especially as an expat. Your vision may evolve over time, or look differently depending on each destination or life stage, and that’s okay.
  5. Seek Support: Surround yourself with people who support your vision and encourage your growth. Share your goals with trusted friends, family members, or mentors who can provide guidance and accountability.

In my own journey, for instance, I discovered that some of my core values are empowerment, growth, and building deep connections. These values are like guiding lights that shape my actions and aspirations. Furthermore, my identity is intricately woven with a love for cosmopolitanism, another aspect that gives me direction.

Reflecting on my strengths, I noticed that I’m good at understanding people and making meaningful connections quickly. Women often come to me for advice – personal, business and otherwise – and I enjoy being there for them. I often see beauty in and opportunities for others they don’t see themselves. On the other hand, I’m someone who loves learning new things, coming up with creative new ideas, and working independently. All of these insights led me start my own coaching business.

I set myself a big goal: to build my own support platform for expat women, and become a leader in my field. It’s an ongoing challenge that keeps me motivated and focused!

Being flexible is very important in my international life, and as a mom of 3. Luckily, I can do most of my work online and from home, which grants me geographic flexibility.

But if circumstances required it, I could also change my focus: for example, I can see myself volunteering with organizations helping female refugees, which would allow me to use my skills and make a difference in women’s lives.
As a good communicator and connector, I could also create an expat community and provide support through activities and meet-ups. Alternatively, I might choose to empower women through teaching them one of the languages I speak fluently – and the list goes on.

I’m sharing my journey in hopes that it will inspire you to embark on your own, unique path towards an empowered and purpose-driven life, wherever you are! Should you need support in getting to the bottom of these things and laying out a strategy for yourself, I’d be happy to help. You can schedule a complimentary clarity session with me here:

Here’s what I want you to take with you: Having a compelling vision is the key to self-actualization and empowerment amid multiple relocations and changing circumstances. It serves as a roadmap, aligning your decisions, goals, and actions with your values and aspirations.

As I like to say, “A woman with a vision is a woman on a mission, and SHE is unstoppable!” Clarity about your direction empowers you to overcome obstacles and make the most of your life.

Making the most of your life abroad

In my book The Empowered Expat Woman – Your A-Z Guide to Thriving Wherever You Are, I compiled my best tips and tools to make the most of your life abroad. The book is available here.

You can also get a sneak peek by downloading the first chapters free of charge here.

This book – or self-empowerment guide, as I refer to it – is what I wish I’d have had when I was struggling. I hope it will become your empathic companion, trusted advisor and fierce supporter, so that you can step into and embrace your empowered expat woman!


Thank you so much to Camilla for these empowering insights! If you are inspired by what she has shared and interested in learning more, be sure to check her out at her website,  You can also contact her directly via email at  Other places to check out her work include her podcast and social media channels. We’ll link to all of them down below!


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