Among the expat tips offered to those considering moving abroad after the next election: "It's important to embrace local culture and befriend natives who can help you learn the lay of the land, but it's just as important to stay in touch with your roots, American Travel writer Karen McCann told The News. Finding other Americans living abroad can be a comforting reminder of home." Read more
Question: A reader writes that she plans to give up her apartment, store her belongings and live and travel outside the U.S. for a year. The biggest issue is where to start. Here's what Karen McCann says: Read more
Travel writer Karen McCann says the south is a good region for intercity road trips, and suggests heading to Seville. “You’ll find Spain’s most vibrant street life here. Residents and visitors mingle easily in cafés where flamenco could break out at any time.” Read more
Fiona: Tell us your latest news. Karen: I've just completed a three-month trip through the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, traveling without reservations, a set route, or a fixed time frame. I've been living out of one small suitcase... Read more
It’s time once again to see what the good people of the world have to say – welcome to the next edition of our expat interview series! Today, we’ve got our friend, Karen McCann, on hand to give us all some advice and insight into the world of an expat. Read more
Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without. Name: Karen McCann Occupation: Travel writer 5 things you bring on a plane: Scarf, Kindle, snacks, my roll-aboard, and my husband (not necessarily in that order). Read more
I always prefer the road less traveled, so I was delighted to discover that Košice, eastern Slovakia’s economic and cultural epicenter, remains almost entirely devoid of tourists. Despite strenuous efforts to reinvent itself as a vacation destination, the city is still, as Wikitravel sums it up so neatly, “a place not often visited from elsewhere.” Read more
“Living abroad is an opportunity to reinvent yourself that rarely exists outside the witness protection program,” says author and travel writer Karen McCann. “You get to hit the reset button on your life.” She and her husband have journeyed to nearly fifty countries, including many developing and post-war nations...Read more
RADIO INTERVIEW, SEOUL, KOREA Station: tbs eFM Program: 1013 Main Street Host: Ahn Jung Hyun
With the end of the year coming up, some people are busy making travel plans . . . others might be thinking about moving abroad for a change of scene. So we have a travel expert and expat on the line with us today to impart some wisdom.
What Does Aging With Attitude Mean to You?The phrase calls to mind my grandmother, the silent film actress Ramona Langley. She was a wild young woman on the vaudeville stage and back lots of Hollywood; later in life she managed to be a bad influence on us kids, encouraging us to eat ice cream before dinner and marry for money. Some of her advice may have been questionable, but she taught me a lot about living life to the fullest. Read more
Recently I had a chance to review Karen McCann’s latest book, Pack Light: Quick & Easy Tips for Traveling Everywhere with Just the Right Stuff. I’m an overpacker. I admit it. I’ve gotten better (a little bit), but I still do it. And every time I overpack I regret it. Read more
Our new guest author Karen, a US expat living in Spain, introduces us to a lesser known religious and folkloristic custom in Andalucia – the children’s Cruz de Mayo. When people talk about the spectacular spring festivals in Seville, they usually mean Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the huge April fair, but to me, the small, often rag-tag children’s processions of Cruz de Mayohave an intimate charm all their own. Read more
After moving to Seville, Spain, in 2004, I realized that spending time in a foreign country is an opportunity to reinvent yourself that rarely exists outside of the witness protection program. It’s a fresh chance to build a new life that’s authentically yours in a country that isn’t. Here are a few tips to consider before you make the big decision to move abroad. Read more
For years, our dog had been making it clear she didn’t approve of us going off on adventures without her. Normally the most cheerful of creatures, Pie became deeply disturbed at the sight of suitcases coming down from the attic. When I started packing, she would get her favorite toy, place it tenderly in the suitcase on top of my things, then stand there with such a pitiful, hopeful expression it was all I could do not to cancel the plane reservations. Read more
If you think Seville is all about sunshine, sangria, and flamenco, think again. Because this ancient city also has a quirky, eccentric, even sinister side, lurking in the shadows of back streets where few tourists ever venture. Let’s take a stroll together down some of those little-known byways to visit a few of the city’s more offbeat destinations. Read more
American author Karen McCann talks about mentally unpacking her bags to deal with the culture lag she feels when travelling between her two homes in Spain and the US.
Living abroad, the first thing you give up is the ability to go on automatic pilot. Even the simplest daily activities, such as buying basic household tools, require ingenuity and fortitude. One day, when we were first in Seville, Rich wanted to make a small repair in our apartment. After a quick trip to the dictionary, we set out for the hardware store muttering, "Destornillador, destornillador, destornillador," (screwdriver, screwdriver, screwdriver) to ourselves.Unfortunately ... Read more
Ever wish you could get more done in a day? Do you long for the energy to sail through afternoon meetings, then go out dancing at night — or at least stay awake through an entire movie? If you’re struggling to keep up the pace, try something that’s helped many highly successful people: take a nap.Read more
I am often gobsmacked by the highly personal and/or utterly impossible questions my Spanish friends put to me. It’s perfectly normal for Sevillanos to ask, “What a nice apartment; how much do you pay for it?” or “Have you gained weight?” or “Who do you think is prettier, me or my daughter?” They expect an answer; evasions are considered rude. Once, out of the blue, my hairdresser said... Read more
DANGER ZONE delivers news and analysis on terrorism and international security via interviews with some of the world’s outstanding experts: diplomats, intelligence agents, former undercover agents. What do I know about that stuff? Nothing! But they occasionally do lighter pieces on international subjects, and decided to interview me about expat life. My interviewer: retired U. S. Ambassador Dick Carlson, former director of the Voice of America. Listen here
An evening spent sampling tapas in various bars is one of the great pleasures of Seville. There are 3000 bars in the city, and every neighborhood has a dozen or so within easy strolling distance of one another. Traditionally, a “tapeo” (tapas tour) starts around 9:00 PM and involves a small group of friends visiting three or four places, having a drink and a nibble in each one. But how can you choose among so many? Read more
Seville is a delightful place to live or visit. It’s small enough to negotiate on foot, big enough to have lively street life at all hours of the day and night, rich in history, gorgeous to look at (most of it, anyway) and filled with people who wouldn’t live anywhere else. But some local attitudes and customs can a bit disconcerting at first, so I’ve compiled a few pointers to help you feel at home more quickly. Read more
When you’re embarking on the grand adventure of moving abroad, there’s always a pulse-pounding moment when you stop to wonder if you’ve lost your mind. What have you gotten yourself into this time? How can you even hope to keep your mental equilibrium through the massive changes of an international move? What does it take to build a life that’s authentically your own in a country that isn’t?Read more
For anyone who knows me (the "food Neanderthal"), you may already be shocked by the title of this article. So you may not be surprised to discover that I've invited the talented Karen McCann, author of Dancing in the Fountain: How to Enjoy Living Abroad, to share on the simple pleasures of the Mediterranean culture of eating.
“Do you have any idea how much fat there is in a single almond?” demanded an American friend who is in the throes of a deep diet. “As for olives ... !” For one ghastly moment I looked down at my plate... Read more
Thrilled to have Seville expat, Karen McCann, author of Dancing in the Fountain, writing for us today! We love her book and her humor!
Spanish Beverages: What to Drink in Southern Spain Morning, Noon and Night Before I moved to Seville, I had a vague idea that everyone in Spain drank sangria and the kind of earthy red wines Hemmingway used to write about. I soon discovered that the repertoire of beverages is far larger and more nuanced than I had imagined. If you ever find yourself in Southern Spain ... Read more
Dancing in the Fountain: How to Enjoy Living Abroad is a breezy and engaging look at how moving overseas hits the reset button on your life ... I loved [McCann's] book and her sense of humor. Now that they split the year between Spain and Northern California, she is somewhat of an expert on moving between cultures.
When I moved to Seville in 2004, people started asking me what I miss most about America. I always say my family and friends, because of course it’s true, and besides, if you don’t say that, everyone thinks you are totally heartless. But to be perfectly honest... Read more
We asked her about misconceptions people have about living abroad. The most common misconception is that you need to be fabulously wealthy. Even with maintaining a home base [in California], our expenses in Seville are about what they were in Cleveland. We don’t have a car, housing is less expensive and eating out is a fraction of what it costs . . . Read more
Living abroad is an opportunity to reinvent yourself that rarely exists outside the witness protection program. You get to hit the re-set button on your life. When I moved to Seville in 2004, my new friends had no idea that back in rural Ohio, I’d been leading an early-to-bed, low-fat vegetarian lifestyle. Suddenly I was hanging out in smoke-filled bars, having wine-soaked lunches and dinners that lasted until four in the morning. Especially late nights might . . .Read more
Moving to a foreign country can be one of life’s most thrilling adventures. But when you wake up that first morning and stare at a calendar that’s blank for the next 365 days, it can feel a bit daunting. How do you go about making friends, finding out what’s going on, creating a new life that’s authentically yours in a country that isn’t? Read more
Do you regret your move? Not for one single second.
Best thing about being an expat and best thing that ever happened to you as an expat? I’m constantly having new experiences. The title of my book, Dancing in the Fountain, comes from one blazing hot night when my husband and I found ourselves sitting on the edge of a big stone fountain. Dabbling our feet in the cool water, pretty soon we were wading, then dancing . . . Read more
When I first arrived in Seville, Spain, I was dazzled by all the famous monuments, such as the cathedral and the Moorish-style royal palace. But now that I’ve lived here for seven years, writing and blogging about the city, I’ve had a chance to explore the more oddball locations that most tourists miss. If you want to see places that will really give you something to write home about, take a little walk with me on Seville’s weirder side. Read more
This interview appeared on the popular expat website, Costa Women on March 10, 2012. As it's a members-only site, I got special permission to reprint it on my blog; here's an excerpt.
Did you find Spain, or did Spain find you? I kind of stumbled across Spain on my way to Italy. Stopping in Marbella to visit friends en route to Florence, I found I really liked Andalucía. Then my husband told me he’d always wanted to learn Spanish. I believe his exact words were “How hard could it be?” (I think we all know the answer to that!)Read more