Deidra Razzaque is a transformative travel coach, writer, artist, entrepreneur, and a RELAUNCH! Virtual Re-entry Retreat speaker! She uses life coaching techniques to help people create travel experiences that have a vibrant, lasting impact on themselves and others. Intercultural experience as a powerful catalyst for growth, understanding, and positive individual and societal change is the thread that runs through all of her work. You’ll find Deidra at http://www.athomeintheworld.us
Hi Deidra! Where were you abroad and what did you do there?
My most profound experience abroad was in Costa Rica. I went to work with the Peace Corps in child abuse prevention and youth development. The government organization I worked for had only opened their office a few months before I arrived, and they had a national reputation as “child snatchers.” No one in town believed that they wanted to support families.
But several years before, there had been a Peace Corps volunteer that everyone in town had loved. So I, being part of the Peace Corps, became the ambassador for my organization, and opened the door for them to connect with community members.
I ended up working with over 20 communities on amazing projects in self-esteem, creativity, violence prevention, and much more. I was asked to stay for three years with the Peace Corps. But then I married a local, became thoroughly enamored with life there, and ended up staying almost 10 years.
Wow, what an experience! What was your re-entry experience like, after nearly 10 years in Costa Rica?
It was pretty shocking. I hadn’t really expected to live in the US again. But then I was offered a job in Vermont! It was the first time I’d driven a car in 15 years, and I hadn’t seen snow in ages.
But the biggest re-entry challenge was supporting my three-year-old daughter and my Costa Rican husband. My husband barely spoke English when we arrived. I remember that it was late March, but, being Vermont, there were huge piles of snow everywhere. And it was sunny every day. My poor husband would look outside, see the sun, and head out in shorts and a t-shirt. It took ages for his mind to really grasp the fact that sun does not always equal warmth!
What do you know *now* about re-entry that you wish you’d known earlier?
That other people would not necessarily want to know about my experiences abroad in the kind of depth that I was needing to talk about them. It would have been good to know how to be mindful about that, rather than taking it as a personal affront.
It took time for me to recognize that the intercultural experiences that had become absolutely essential to my soul were not things that other people could see—so they didn’t know how to value them as deeply as I wanted them to.
I can so relate to that, Deidra! What’s your #1 tip for those in re-entry right now?
If you’re struggling, it would be this: Be kind to yourself. Figure out how to have a little fun right now. Let there be something good where you are today, in what you are doing today.
Why should global adventurers participate in the RELAUNCH! retreat?
We’ll be digging into the practical, the magical, the mystery of what makes intercultural experiences so profoundly appealing to us. And we’ll be helping participants discover more about themselves, and learn to honor what they uniquely value and need.
It’s a retreat in the sense that participants will feel revitalized at the end. But we are going to have so much fun on these webinars that we could also call it a week-long RELAUNCH PARTY!!!
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