Hi I’m Melissa

Melissa ParksWelcome to my blog! I spent many years living as an “accidental” expat before becoming more intentional about my own global life. I now combine my international experience with my background in psychology to help global nomads around the world make the shift from merely surviving to thriving abroad.

The Difference Between Self-Compassion and Self-Pity

The Difference Between Self-Compassion and Self-Pity

Despite the fact that there is a great deal of research to support the benefits of self-compassion, many people still have a lot of resistance to this word and to giving it a try themselves. In this video and blog series, I'll be addressing the common myths of...

read more
The Common Myths of Self-Compassion

The Common Myths of Self-Compassion

Despite the fact that there is a great deal of research to support the benefits of self-compassion, many people still have a lot of resistance to this word and to giving it a try themselves. In this video and blog series I'll be addressing the common myths of...

read more
The Secret to my Smooth Repatriation Process

The Secret to my Smooth Repatriation Process

Before I began working with international clients, I, like many people living abroad, wasn’t fully aware of the challenges that come with moving back to your home country. It wasn’t until I started supporting clients who were going through the difficult process of...

read more
I Almost Left My Silent Retreat. Here’s What Helped Me Stay

I Almost Left My Silent Retreat. Here’s What Helped Me Stay

I honestly don’t know if I would have ever signed up for a silent retreat if it wasn’t a stepping stone to something else I wanted. Although I've developed a daily mindfulness meditation practice over the past few years, and enjoyed my experience at a day-long silent...

read more
How to Make Hard Choices: My Decision to Move Home

How to Make Hard Choices: My Decision to Move Home

We're a few weeks into spring up here in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s that time of year when many people who are living abroad find themselves dealing with a particularly difficult dilemma:Do I want to stay here? Or would I rather move home? Or would I...

read more
How to Give Your Failed New Year’s Resolution a Second Chance

How to Give Your Failed New Year’s Resolution a Second Chance

We’re nearly one month into 2019, which is a great time to check in on those goals and New Year’s Resolutions we set for ourselves at the start of the year. How have you been doing so far with your own New Year's Resolution? If you're like most people, you may already...

read more
5 Reflections From My Year of No

5 Reflections From My Year of No

Did you start this year with any goals or ambitions? Anything you wanted to learn or ways you wanted to grow? After reflecting on 2017, I started off 2018 hoping to live out these words of wisdom: "You can do anything, but you can't do everything." Throughout the year...

read more
Creating A Location Independent Mental Health Toolbox

Creating A Location Independent Mental Health Toolbox

What tools do you have inside of We all have our own set of strategies for coping with the inevitable hard moments in life, but we're not always aware of what they are. These coping skills are important, wherever in the world we call home, but often we don't realize...

read more
An Intro to Self-Compassion: The Self-Compassion Break

An Intro to Self-Compassion: The Self-Compassion Break

I just returned from attending this year's 7in7 conference for digital nomads in Medellin, Colombia. It was an incredible conference designed for experienced location independent professionals.  And unlike other conferences I’ve attended in the past, it combined...

read more
Coping with Life Abroad: A 30 Day Meditation Challenge

Coping with Life Abroad: A 30 Day Meditation Challenge

Want to join me for a 30 day meditation challenge? Life abroad is full of ups and downs, changes and transitions. Meditation can be a helpful tool for riding the waves of uncertainty and difficulties that will inevitably arise now and then. Not only that, but it can...

read more
Living a Meaningful Life Abroad: Identifying Your Values

Living a Meaningful Life Abroad: Identifying Your Values

Many of the international clients I work with made their initial move abroad in order to live a more meaningful life. However, with the challenges that come with living abroad, they often find themselves dissatisfied and wondering if they truly can live a meaningful...

read more
How I Support My Clients Coping with a Breakup Abroad

How I Support My Clients Coping with a Breakup Abroad

Several years ago I went through an incredibly difficult breakup abroad while living in Spain. It felt like my life had fallen off of a shelf and shattered into a million tiny pieces, and I really wasn’t sure how I was going to put it all back together, who I could...

read more
Navigating the Season of Goodbyes When You Live Abroad

Navigating the Season of Goodbyes When You Live Abroad

Last summer I had to say goodbye to the home I grew up in. After living there for over three decades, my parents decided that it was time to move elsewhere. It was an experience heavy with emotions and I’m so grateful that despite living half a world away, my visit to...

read more
Why Online Therapy? Five Reasons for Having a Virtual Therapist

Why Online Therapy? Five Reasons for Having a Virtual Therapist

A few weeks ago I published a blog and video in which I explained why I made the switch to online counseling. In today’s post I want to explain some of the reasons why someone might choose having a virtual therapist over traditional face-to-face therapist, and I’ll do...

read more
Online Counseling: Why I Took My Private Practice Online

Online Counseling: Why I Took My Private Practice Online

"Online counseling? How'd you start doing that?" This is a question I frequently get at networking events and one I answer in my latest YouTube video. For those of you who don't want to watch the video, you can also read a summary below of why I made the switch from...

read more
Love Warrior: Why I’m Recommending This Book To My Clients

Love Warrior: Why I’m Recommending This Book To My Clients

I fell in love with Glennon Doyle Melton's book "Love Warrior" earlier this year and can't recommend it highly enough! Here's why-- In February, I traded in the gloomy winter skies of Amsterdam to spend two weeks in sunny, tropical Costa Rica. I visited a volcano,...

read more
Combatting Your Inner Critic

Combatting Your Inner Critic

One of the areas I frequently work on with my clients is learning how to deal with their inner critic. All of us have this critical voice inside of us, to a greater or lesser degree, but we’re often not entirely aware of it. Even if we are aware of it, we may not...

read more
My 2017 Year in Review

My 2017 Year in Review

While we’re nearly one month into the new year, I'm just now wrapping up my reflections on last year. I think I’ve needed an extra month to properly reflect on it because so very much happened between January and December of last year. 2017 brought many big changes...

read more
Dreaming of Traveling the World? Meet Kayla!

Dreaming of Traveling the World? Meet Kayla!

Along with working as coach for global nomads living around the world, I also post an Interview Series on this website where I share the stories of global nomads who have moved abroad, are traveling the globe, or are transitioning to life back at...

read more
5 Tips to Set a New Year’s Resolution You Can Stick To

5 Tips to Set a New Year’s Resolution You Can Stick To

Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. I think that any day of the year is a perfectly good one for reflecting on what you’re unhappy with and brainstorming how you can overcome whatever sort of obstacles may lie in the way of making changes....

read more
Coping with Family During the Holidays When Living Abroad

Coping with Family During the Holidays When Living Abroad

I originally wrote this article with the December/January holidays in mind, but since then have shared it with clients visiting home during other times of the year as well. It's supposed to by the most wonderful time of the year, right? But is it really? During this...

read more
Searching for Inspiration to Live Abroad? Meet Berta!

Searching for Inspiration to Live Abroad? Meet Berta!

Along with working as coach for global nomads living around the world, I also post an Interview Series on this website where I share the stories of global nomads who have moved abroad, are traveling the globe, or are transitioning to life back at home.  Today's...

read more
Filling Your Cup: The Importance of Prioritizing Self-Care

Filling Your Cup: The Importance of Prioritizing Self-Care

Do you struggle to practice self-care, and instead put your energy into taking care of others? Read below for a metaphor I share with clients about the importance of prioritizing self-care, especially if you want to be able to care for others!  Early on in my...

read more
4 Lessons as an Accidental Entrepreneur

4 Lessons as an Accidental Entrepreneur

This summer, Intentional Expat celebrated its 3rd birthday! Unfortunately, I was too busy with all sort of projects and important life events that this big day came and went without me blinking an eye. As a belated celebration of the past three years, here are four...

read more
Moving Overseas With Your Family? Meet Tanya!

Moving Overseas With Your Family? Meet Tanya!

Along with working as coach for global nomads living around the world, I also post an Interview Series on this website where I share the stories of global nomads who have moved abroad, are traveling the globe, or are transitioning to life back at home. Today's...

read more
Pursuing a Career Overseas: Meet Katie!

Pursuing a Career Overseas: Meet Katie!

Today's interview is with Katie, whose managed to turn her love for travel into a career overseas that's helped her to live all over the globe. Born and raised in Iowa (USA), she got a scholarship in 2007 to spend a year studying environmental science in Iceland....

read more
Life as an Adult Third Culture Kid: Meet Alaine!

Life as an Adult Third Culture Kid: Meet Alaine!

Along with working as coach for global nomads living around the world, I also post an Interview Series on this website where I share the stories of global nomads who have moved abroad, are traveling the globe, or are transitioning to life back at home. This week´s...

read more
From West Michigan to Living in Sarajevo: Meet David! 

From West Michigan to Living in Sarajevo: Meet David! 

Along with working as coach for global nomads living around the world, I also post an Interview Series on this website where I share the stories of global nomads who have moved abroad, are traveling the globe, or are transitioning to life back at home. This week's...

read more
From Hong Kong to London: Meet Louise!

From Hong Kong to London: Meet Louise!

Along with working as coach for global nomads living around the world, I also post an Interview Series on this website where I share the stories of global nomads who have moved abroad, are traveling the globe, or are transitioning to life back at home. This week's...

read more
Living Abroad in India and Studying Buddhism: Meet Klara!

Living Abroad in India and Studying Buddhism: Meet Klara!

Along with working as coach for global nomads living around the world, I also post an Interview Series on this website where I share the stories of global nomads who have moved abroad, are traveling the globe, or are transitioning to life back at home. This week's...

read more
Looking for Inspiration to Move Abroad? Meet Minna!

Looking for Inspiration to Move Abroad? Meet Minna!

This week's interview features Minna and is certain to speak to you if you're looking for inspiration to move abroad!  Originally from The Midlands in England, Minna left her hometown back in 2014 and hasn’t looked back. Despite having to move back to the UK to save...

read more
10 Travel Quotes to Inspire and Encourage You

10 Travel Quotes to Inspire and Encourage You

Whether you're considering leaving your home country or already abroad, I hope these travel quotes might help with some of the ups and downs that come with taking the plunge to travel or live overseas. I know that inspiring quotes have been helpful for me during much...

read more
Finding Comfort in the Chaos: The Importance of Acceptance

Finding Comfort in the Chaos: The Importance of Acceptance

Why is acceptance so essential?  I've had two thoughts shuffling through my head on repeat the past few weeks: Life abroad is an emotional rollercoaster. Life as a therapist is an emotional rollercoaster. But actually, the truth is, that life, wherever you live,...

read more
Are you an American Looking for Work in Europe? Meet Rapha!

Are you an American Looking for Work in Europe? Meet Rapha!

Today's interview features Rapha. Originally from New York, she moved to Europe at age 22 and has now managed to secure EU citizenship. Currently she lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, has  a passion for helping Americans looking for work in Europe and has some invaluable...

read more
When the Honeymoon Stage Ends: Adjusting to Life Abroad

When the Honeymoon Stage Ends: Adjusting to Life Abroad

What did you imagine it would be like to live abroad when you first started planning your move? When I made the choice to accept a position as a Teaching Assistant with Spain's Ministry of Education back in 2009, I was full of excitement for what the ten months of...

read more
A Married Couple on the Road: Meet Taemi and Josh!

A Married Couple on the Road: Meet Taemi and Josh!

Today I'm featuring an interview with a couple who is sure to inspire you to pack your bags and head out on an adventure. Taemi and Josh are a married couple, originally from New York, who have been on the road for the past two years. After calling various places...

read more
My First Day of Teaching in Spain

My First Day of Teaching in Spain

This fall I'm ringing in my six year "Spain-versary." While you'd think that after over half a decade living in this country it would feel completely normal for me to live here, I still have moments where I suddenly think to myself "What!? I live in SPAIN?"...

read more
Monkey Mind & the Importance of Prioritizing Self Care

Monkey Mind & the Importance of Prioritizing Self Care

I have a confession to make: I fell off the wagon.  The meditation wagon that is. After four months of meditating at the very least five minutes a day, and many days up to fifty minutes, I stopped in early June. Life got busy. I had a trip planned to...

read more
Traveling as a Couple: Meet Miguel and Yvonne!

Traveling as a Couple: Meet Miguel and Yvonne!

I'm pleased to present to you today the very first couple that has been featured as part of the interview series. Miguel and Yvonne are the travel bloggers behind Trip Bitten, where you'll find the following story of how they met, and all about their adventures of...

read more
How to Cope With Uncertainty: Finding Comfort in the Unknown

How to Cope With Uncertainty: Finding Comfort in the Unknown

About a week and a half ago I wrote a post (that has now received over 5,000 views--thank you!!) about how to reframe the decision of whether to stay abroad or move home. Big decisions like these are largely stressful because they bring us face to face with a reality...

read more
Ten Tips for Keeping a Positive Attitude Abroad

Ten Tips for Keeping a Positive Attitude Abroad

I'm republishing this post I wrote last summer with tips on keeping a "Glass Half Full" mentality while living overseas. If you have more suggestions for how to keep a positive attitude while abroad please add them to the comments section!  1) Remember that...

read more
Should I Stay or Should I Go? Making the Decision to Go Home

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Making the Decision to Go Home

Should I stay abroad? Or should I go back home?  Anyone who has lived abroad has had to grapple with this question at some point. It's a frequent concern raised by my clients who are living outside of their home country and trying to make the decision to go home or...

read more
Meet Ruben! Studying a PhD in Neuroscience in Madrid

Meet Ruben! Studying a PhD in Neuroscience in Madrid

Today's interview features a global citizen from Mexico who is studying a PhD in neuroscience in Madrid at the world renowned ¨Instituto Cajal.¨ Read on to see how he keeps a positive attitude while living abroad and pursuing his doctorate.  Hi Ruben! Can you tell us...

read more

Helping International Professionals in Madrid, Meet Pierre!

Each and every Tuesday I publish an interview with someone who is living outside of their home country. Today’s interview is unique in that it’s the first one I’ve done in-person rather than via email. Last weekend I had the privilege of sitting down with fellow...

read more

Meet Amelia! A True Global Citizen Pursuing Grad School Abroad

I'm really excited to share with you this week's interview with an expat who is fulling embracing her experience abroad. Born in the U.S.,  and currently pursuing grad school abroad in Ireland, Amelia's path towards becoming a global citizen first started back when...

read more
My 15 Favorite Inspirational Quotes on Courage and Fear

My 15 Favorite Inspirational Quotes on Courage and Fear

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy and I'm finding it hard to carve out time in my schedule to write content for this site. Each and every day topics come up in my sessions that make me think "ooh! That would make a great blog post!" I wish I could blame...

read more

Meet Gian Luca, an Italian Blogger with a Passion for Travel

It´s Semana Santa, the official Spring Break of Spain, and the perfect time to escape from the city and visit the travel destination you´ve been dreaming of. But lucky for all of you, I´m unable to get away from work for the week which means the Interview Series that...

read more
Just who is an Expat Anyway?

Just who is an Expat Anyway?

Expat? Immigrant? Refugee? Global Citizen? World Nomad? What word should we use to define those people who have left the country they were born in? In the past couple of weeks I've seen a number of articles circulating the web regarding the use of the word "expat" and...

read more

Savoring Life Abroad: Meet Lauren!

Welcome to the latest edition of the Intentional Expat interview series! Each and every Tuesday I post an interview with either an avid traveler or someone who is fully embracing life abroad. Today's featured expat is no exception. Lauren Aloise is a Madrid based...

read more
You Can’t Hug Over Skype: Receiving Bad News While Abroad

You Can’t Hug Over Skype: Receiving Bad News While Abroad

In so many ways, Skype is a godsend for those of us living abroad. It allows you to stay in touch with family and friends back home, virtually attend important events, even connect with therapists who speak your language when outside of your home country. However,...

read more

Meet Talia! An American Teacher in Paris

After far too long of a hiatus, The Intentional Expat Interview Series is back! Today's interview is with Talia, an American living in a city that many people dream only of visiting...Paris. Her story is similar to that of many teaching assistants I've met. Her stint...

read more
Can We Stop Our Thoughts? An Intro to Mindfulness

Can We Stop Our Thoughts? An Intro to Mindfulness

There's really no better word to describe the start to 2015 other than to say that it's been intense. My schedule as a therapist is quickly filling up, which means more and more of my ¨free time" is dedicated to staying up to date on how to best help my patients. Not...

read more

No More New Year’s Resolutions

Have you set a New Year's resolution for yourself this year? I have. My resolution? No More New Year's Resolutions ! At least not in the way they're traditionally done. Here's why: 1) They're based on all or nothing thinking. Whenever you're aiming...

read more

Interview with Melissa Parks from The Intentional Expat

I'm really honored and excited to be featured today on "The Goal List." I would highly recommend checking out this blog if you want to get motivated to reach your own goals. And the story behind how The Goal List came to be is sure to inspire you, maybe even to make a...

read more

The Intentional Expat Interview Series: Meet Jhey!

It’s Monday and that means that it’s time for another edition of the Intentional Expat Interview Series. Last week’s interview with fellow blogger J Russell Mikkelsen was a huge success and this week I’m excited to introduce you to Jhey, a Spaniard living in the...

read more
TEDxMadrid 2014

TEDxMadrid 2014

Five years ago, I left the states with plans to create a home for myself here in Madrid. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one. Back in fall 2009, TEDx also made its way to Spain for the first time, with the first TEDxMadrid conference taking place on October 9th at the IE...

read more

Jet Lag. The Ugly Side of Traveling Abroad

I would say that I'm a good traveler in a lot of ways. I can be flexible, see the bright side when things don't go my way, I'll try new foods, use gross bathrooms and chat it up with strangers. I even seek out ways to enjoy flying despite the fact that deep down I...

read more

Even the Adventurous Have Their Doubts

Another issue of #tbt blogger style. As I write this, I´m sitting at SeaTac airport, waiting to board my flight back to Madrid . I've had the great luck of spending the entire month at home in Seattle, which is something I've done every year since I moved to  Madrid...

read more

Making the Most of Teaching English Overseas

Congratulations! You’ve scored what many might consider to be their “dream job.” You’re teaching English overseas! You get to live in a location you’ve always dreamed of, you meet new people from around the world every day, you get to travel  to exciting destinations...

read more

Expats Give Back: Madrid

Whether you're heading back to Madrid this fall for another year of teaching, or getting ready to start your first year there, consider adding "volunteering" to the list of things you hope to experience while living in Spain's capital city this year. There are a...

read more

Are You Ready to Go Abroad?

In my recent blog post, "Living a Story Worth Telling," I encouraged you to remember that you only have one life to live and to consider "what do I want to include in my own life story?" I ended the post with two exercises that are helpful for identifying specific...

read more

10 Tips for Self-Care Overseas

Last night I was asked on Twitter by fellow global citizen Longing to Travel, for my tips on keeping a positive attitude abroad. What a great question and one I've got a lot of answers to that I'll be writing about more in detail here in the future. But in the...

read more
My Own Journey Towards Becoming an Intentional Expat

My Own Journey Towards Becoming an Intentional Expat

I wasn't always an intentional expat. In fact, only a year ago  I would have considered myself more of an accidental expat rather than an intentional one. For me, it took four whole years in Spain and a painful breakup with my long-term Spanish boyfriend before I...

read more

schedule a free 30 minute consultation

SCHEDULE NOW