(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”? Oh my…

  • You worry that re-entry = THE END of your amazing global life.
  • Connecting with friends, family, and colleagues? So much harder than you expected.
  • You feel all sorts of complex – and often contradictory – feelings…but nobody seems to understand (or even care!) what you’re going through. You feel so alone.
  • You keep thinking, I’m a seeker, a creator, a questioner, an adventurer…what am I doing HERE? 
  • You have this nagging feeling that you’re settling or even failing by returning to your home country, which makes you wonder if going abroad again is the only solution to your re-entry woes.

If any of 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). Fortunately, there’s a solution that makes all the pieces of your life fit together beautifully. No settling required!


The good news? There’s no need to suffer through re-entry. It’s entirely possible to have a positive and growth-focused experience that leads to even bigger and better things, no matter where in the world you are.

This is what Small Planet Studio is all about. Here, you’ll find innovative yet practical resources to support and inspire your re-entry and relaunching journey, including The Re-Entry Relaunch Roadmap creative workbook, Relaunch Support groups, and our private Facebook group.

If you feel fundamentally changed by your experiences living, working, volunteering, studying or traveling abroad and want to live a meaningful, adventurous, satisfying global life for the rest of your life, no matter where in the world you are, you’re in the right place!

3 Helpful Things to Know About Re-entry

#1 | Re-entry is Like an IcebergRe-entryIceberg

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.

Re-entry is like 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, resume support, and maybe a reverse culture shock tips handout.

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 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.

#2 | There’s No Right or Wrong Way to Experience Re-entry

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
  • your financial situation before, during, and after being abroad
  • how you cope with stress and transitions
  • how you problem solve
  • your family background
  • your support network
  • how you feel about your home
  • personal issues
  • 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!

#3 | There IS a Better Way

Most people avoid thinking about or processing re-entry as much as possible. (That’s exactly what I did.) It’s not surprising because going home after being abroad often evokes difficult, and sometimes painful, feelings. It’s a natural response to avoid something that makes you feel bad. But doing so also means missing out on the reflection and insights that lead to bigger and better things in your life!

What if you were to look at re-entry as simply a pit-stop? A rest area on your life-long global journey?


Think about this way…imagine you’re on a long road trip and decide to pull over at a rest area. You do that because you need a break. So you use the bathroom, get some coffee, fill up the gas tank, and rest a bit before getting back on the road.

  • Even though you’re not moving forward at that exact moment, you’re doing things that will keep you moving forward.
  • You don’t worry that your road trip is over because you pulled into the rest area. You know you need a break in order to finish the rest of your road trip.
  • Do you fret about getting stuck at that rest area just because you left the highway, parked your car, and turned off the motor? Of course not, because you know that without resting and refueling you won’t make it to your destination!

So…what if you were to look at re-entry as a pit stop or rest area on your life-long global journey?

Instead of being THE END of all things good and global in your life, re-entry becomes an opportunity for rest, reflection, and refueling. A time to get to know who you are and what you want your life to be like now. A time to find your Global Life Ingredients, reprogram your global life GPS, and then move forward with intention and confidence! Sound good (much better than simply muddling through, right)?

Get 30% off the Re-entry Roadmap!


Enter your details and I'll send you a coupon code to get 30% off the Re-entry Roadmap creative workbook (regular price is $17)!

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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 living 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? Capitalize on the unique opportunity for rest, reflection, and refueling that re-entry offers you!

Instead of looking at re-entry as THE END of everything good and global in your life, intentionally reflect on who you are and what you want your life to be like now, identify your Global Life Ingredients, and then relaunch yourself into your next global adventure at home or abroad. 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!

Get 30% off the Re-entry Roadmap!


Enter your details and I'll send you a coupon code to get 30% off the Re-entry Roadmap creative workbook (regular price is $17)!

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