(1) The act of returning “home” after being abroad.
(2) A unique opportunity to reflect on who you are & what you want your life to be like NOW.

But now that you’ve returned “home”? Your old life feels a size too small. Connecting with friends, family, and colleagues is much harder than you anticipated. You have a nagging feeling that by being back home you’re settling. And you wonder if going abroad again is the best solution to your re-entry problems (spoiler alert: it just might be).

If that sounds familiar – you’re in good company here! What you’re feeling is so common that there’s a word for it: re-entry (sometimes also called reverse culture shock or repatriation). And there’s a solution that makes all the pieces fit together beautifully. 

No settling required.

This is what Small Planet Studio is all about. Here, you’ll find rich resources to support and inspire what I call your Re-entry Relaunch, including The Re-Entry Relaunch Roadmap creative workbook and Re-entry Relaunch Support groups, as well as lots of free resources like my podcast and our private Facebook group.

  • Do you feel fundamentally changed by your experiences living, working, volunteering, studying or traveling abroad?
  • Do you want to live a meaningful, adventurous, satisfying global life for the rest of your life?
  • Are you eager to find your next global adventure at home or abroad?

You’re in the right place! My mission is to help you process the complex emotional and identity issues that the re-entry experience ignites so you can live an even better global life than the you lived – and loved – abroad.

Consider This

Some people really struggle in re-entry. Others sail right through it. Some people are fine for the first few weeks, months or even years…and then, seemingly out of nowhere, feel like they’ve been hit by a ton of re-entry bricks.

Think of re-entry as an iceberg (see below). The things that we usually talk about and get support for are the visible things like the logistics of traveling, finding a place to live, getting settled in, and maybe reverse culture shock.

Do you see all of the things that are below the water line?

Those are the things that we don’t expect, don’t often talk about, and don’t get support for. Those are also the things that float to the surface in re-entry and make us miserable! Complicating things is the fact that different things surface for different people, in different intensities, at different times.

There’s no right or wrong way to experience re-entry, and how you experience it depends on several factors:

  • where you were abroad
  • how long you were abroad
  • what you were doing abroad
  • who you were abroad with (or without)
  • why you went abroad
  • why you returned home
  • your age
  • your personality
  • your background
  • your career
  • how you cope with stress and transitions
  • how you problem solve
  • your family background
  • your support network
  • how you feel about your home
  • and more…

That’s why it’s SO important to engage in deep personal reflection in re-entry. Once you know what you’re struggling with, you can find the right support that will keep you moving forward. (That’s what SPS is here to help you with.)

If you don’t? You could be forever stuck in re-entry limbo. Trust me, you don’t want to get stuck there!

The 7 Steps

Most people feel at least a little lost when they return home from abroad. If you’re feeling like this, rest assured that it’s perfectly normal. It’s to be expected. You’ve just gone through a major life transition, after all!

Unfortunately, re-entry is the part of the global journey that is often the most difficult, yet the least talked about or supported. If you’re looking for some direction, take a look at these 7 re-entry steps. Which step are you on?

Step 1: Take time to grieve.
Re-entry can feel akin to losing a cherished relationship through divorce or death. The life you built abroad (whether you lived that life for weeks, months or years) is now over and that can really, really hurt. Take time to grieve your loss.

Step 2: Don’t judge how you feel.
Feel sad, angry, frustrated, jealous, anxious, depressed, exhausted, etc? Rest assured, you’re not alone! The best thing you can do is to simply acknowledge how you feel and not judge it. You’ll just feel worse if you tell yourself I shouldn’t feel this way. Feelings are data and should be listened to. If your feelings become overwhelming, it can help to talk with a coach or therapist who specialized in global transitions.

Step 3: Embrace reverse culture shock.
You learned to embrace culture shock while abroad, right? Now it’s time to use your intercultural skills to embrace reverse culture shock!  Let it teach you about your home country. Let reverse culture shock teach you about what you now find important, fun, beautiful, delicious, boring, etc.

Step 4: Create a support ecosystem.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in re-entry is to expect one or two people to meet all of your emotional needs (often your parter, close family member or friend). Not only is that placing a lot of pressure on those who mean the most to you, it also sets you up for disappointment if friends and family don’t respond in the way that you need or expect.

Here’s an alternative: intentionally create a re-entry support ecosystem. If you have a network of support, you’ll know exactly who to go to get what you need (a fun night out? a hug? a sympathetic ear? tough love?), and you’ll be more likely to get the support you need.

Step 5: Figure out who you are *now* and what you want your life to be like going forward.
It’s exceptionally easy to fall into the trap of living your life as the person you were in the past (who you were before you went abroad or who you were while abroad) or as the person others expect you to be. Instead, use re-entry to deeply reflect on who you are right now and what you want your life to be like now. Then can you intentionally create a meaningful and satisfying global life that’s truly right for you.

Step 6: Find your unique Global Life Ingredients.
They are the 3-5 things you must have in your life in order to have a meaningful, satisfying, and sustainable global life, no matter where in the world you are. Your GLI are a compass that help you identify priorities, make important life decisions, and find your perfect next global adventure at home or abroad.

Step 7: Relaunch!
This is when you confidently dive into your perfect next global adventure at home or abroad!

Start Here!


Start your Re-entry Relaunch journey TODAY.

Enter your details and get instant access to 3 FREE activities from my Re-entry Relaunch Roadmap workbook!

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Meet Cate


I’m actually having an easy re-entry this time – your #globallife strategy is really brilliant.
-Katie Benedetto Jones


The Re-entry Relaunch Roadmap is an invaluable tool for navigating what’s next.
– Stormy Sweitzer


My conversation with you has been the most enlightening of all, on many different levels.
– Kirsten


I love the re-entry reflection exercises and tips you offer, which help guide you through processing those complex emotions and channel them toward something constructive.
– Michelle Chang


LOVE this book. Very down to earth with a sense of humor. Perfect for a college student or recent grad. The activities here are fun, reflective, relevant and incredibly useful.
– Amazon customer


If you are currently at loose ends after time abroad, grab this book! Cate Brubaker asks questions that will get you thinking, appreciating, and looking ahead. It’s like sitting with a good friend and ranting, laughing, and brainstorming your way into a future that delights you.
– Amazon customer


The Relaunch Roadmap takes the incredibly difficult and oftentimes heartbreaking process of reintegrating into a native culture and turns it into something manageable.
– Amazon customer


Detailed, thought-provoking and insight-building exercises to support you in turning what can be a very challenging experience into a full-on learning opportunity. Without question – this book is a must-have for anyone facing reentry!
– Amazon customer

Cate Brubaker

As a former expat, current part-time nomad, and always passionate mentor, I’m here to help you to make your re-entry and relaunch a positive experience.

I started SPS because I was frustrated that the challenging (and for some people, devastating) experience of going home after being abroad is mostly left up to the study abroad student, the expat returnee, the volunteer or the global nomad to muddle through alone. [Read my re-entry story here.]

Sure, we all find a way to cope – usually by crying, commiserating, and contemplating our escape. 😉 But honestly? The coping strategies that help us survive going home (and indeed might even make us happy in the short-term) aren’t satisfying in the long run.

And the vast majority of re-entry resources focus on commiserating or how to justify your time abroad to a future employer. Helpful, yes, but they don’t address the root of our restlessness, boredom, and unhappiness at home or offer satisfying solutions. 

Re-Entry Relaunch: Identifying your unique Global Life Ingredients and using them as a compass for finding your next global adventure at home or abroad.  

Drawing on my 20 years experience working in international education, my PhD dissertation research, and reading every personal development book and blog out there – in addition to my own many re-entry experiences – I’ve figured out how to make re-entry a positive, growing experience that keeps you moving forward towards an even better life than the one you just lived abroad.

The key? Focus on relaunching yourself into your next global adventure at home or abroad instead of simply readjusting to the status quo you left behind. In doing so, you’ll create a global life that you love living no matter where in the world you are.

Imagine a life that’s even BETTER than the one you lived abroad

Imagine feeling optimistic, confident, and happy no matter where in the world you are.

Imagine knowing what you want your next global adventure to be and then confidently making it a reality.

Imagine knowing that you have a toolkit for making every future re-entry a positive and growing experience.


I created Small Planet Studio and the Re-Entry Relaunch Roadmap creative workbook to help you deeply reflect on your time abroad, identify your unique Global Life Ingredients, and then use them as a compass to find your amazing next global adventure at home or abroad.

IF YOU’RE STILL ABROAD, the Relaunch Roadmap will help you take a proactive, intentional approach to the return part of your global journey. Your future self will thank you!

IF YOU’VE JUST RETURNED, it will help you navigate the transition you’re smack in the middle of.

IF YOU’VE BEEN HOME A WHILE, it will help you delve deeper into self-reflection and growth. Once you’ve been abroad there’s always more to learn about your yourself, how being abroad has changed you, and what you want your global life to look like going forward!

Start Here!


Start your Re-entry Relaunch journey TODAY.

Enter your details and get instant access to 3 FREE activities from my Re-entry Relaunch Roadmap workbook!

Powered by ConvertKit