Where can I check in my Excess Baggage?

Meet AC (that’s me!) - your fellow expat, world traveler, risk taker and more. In this article, you’ll get up to speed with my current life in London, my impending move to the Cayman Islands and why I’ve chosen to have a Carrie Bradshaw moment and write about it all. Enjoy!

Amanda Cuffe

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

Smoozitive Magazine/Excess Baggage Column/Where can I check in my Excess Baggage?

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“So…. I submitted my blog to this magazine and they’re keen to collab…”

This is the statement that I said to my partner Harry when we were catching up on our days over dinner. Despite sending 50+ text exchanges to each other that day, I had saved this piece of information for a real time face to face reaction. This is a rare thing for me to do as I have a habit of updating Harry on any thought that crosses my mind throughout the day…“I can’t tell if I am sad or if it’s just the London weather”, “Do you think we should have salmon tonight?”, “Should we move to Italy? I think they do the digital nomad visa.” I often wonder if we exported our text chains would people laugh, roll their eyes or think I am seriously deranged at the amount of existential crises I have throughout the day.

So, for this piece of news, to avoid it being lost in a sea of, let’s be honest, nothingness, I waited until dinner. And, as expected, a real time smile and hug definitely super-seeded the “partying face” and “flexed biceps” emoji (Harry’s go to for showing support and excitement).

My blogging days all began over a pint and aubergine pizza at Crate Brewery in Hackney, London.

I had been explaining to my friends the most recent news in my life...

... my partner Harry had been offered a role for work in the Cayman Islands. The phrase, “yeah, it’s so random” had been used in my vocabulary an obscene amount of times since we got the news. Harry and I had been living in London for 1 year and were thriving in the chaos of the city. Everything that people seemed to hate about London, we loved - the loud and balmy Victoria Line; living on a main road with the cool wash of ambulance sounds sending us to sleep every night; the dampness of everything. Seriously. Everything is just, so, damp? (We invested in some slightly less aesthetic but highly effective hanging dehumidifiers for anyone experiencing the damp woes). Harry and I had grown to love how odd yet perfect London was for us.

But, after a year of being here, Harry’s industry was not picking up. The hairy “M&A” space (Mergers and Acquisitions for those that don’t live and breathe lawyer life) had been operating at a slow pace and we needed a plan b. Originally from Australia, we weren’t thrilled at the idea of going “home” (I put quotation marks here as I have much to say on the concept of “home” but will leave that for another day), so we started exploring beyond London, asking ourselves

where could we go?…​

Harry had a call one day with a recruiter who hired for roles in Dublin, Ireland. Guinness, pubs and crappy weather…how different could Dublin be to London? In this call, the recruiter explained to Harry that they also hired for roles in the Cayman Islands (I still to this day think this is a very wide scope for 1 poor recruiter!) Laying on our bed doom scrolling, Harry walked into the room and asked me the question that would change the course of our overseas adventure: 

Would you ever move to the Cayman Islands?

Driven by a desire to adventure, do things out of the ordinary and generally just being a golden retriever girlfriend, I responded with, “Yes, for sure! That sounds fun”.

Now I won’t bore you with the details of the interview process but within 5 working days Harry had received an offer. From laughing about eating coconuts for breakfast and scuba diving on the weekends; to having rapid fire serious conversations about our life plan and where we were heading; to doing the roadshow of news with each of our parents back “home”; to finally accepting the offer. The week was exhausting, exhilarating and in my most eloquent description, random.

The first thing I did once we confirmed the offer was jump on Instagram. Over the years, my relationship with Instagram had been transformative. When I first signed up to the Gram I had a heinous amount of followers and followed too many people I didn’t really know. Why did I think it was “cool”, let alone safe to have 1,500 people following my life everyday? In 2020, in desperate need of a break from instagram I deleted the app and didn’t have the urge to redownload it until a whole 2 years later. When I made space for the app in my life again, I approached it very cautiously. I spent the first week removing 900 or so followers and muting everyone that I didn’t interact with on a weekly basis. NB: If you are wanting to do this too, Instagram will think you’re a bot because you’re deleting so many followers in one go so I would recommend carving out some ‘tea, biccie and remove pointless Instagram followers’ time in your day. It’s a slog, but it’s so worth it. Push through.

So, anyway, I jump onto my Instagram (version 2.0) and plug into the search bar various iterations of the words: Cayman Islands, Expat, Life, Australian. No dedicated pages show up. I download the much dreaded app that I had been avoiding due to my addictive personality (a story for another day), TikTok. I quickly create a profile, plug in my key search terms and again, no dedicated pages show up.

At this point, my mind was going wild with ideas about how I could tap into this market on social media. A ‘day in the life on Cayman’ reels; The trials and tribulations of an expat on Cayman; Restaurants and coffee shops you need to check out on Cayman… the list went on. I started furiously saving reel templates that would help me build this content and audio that created a life is short/go live the moments/nostalgia vibe (which, let’s be honest, we all love). But, my idea had 3 main problems:

  • Despite being a millennial, I am an actual boomer when it comes to technology. To give some measurement here, it took me 4 hours of hard concentration to create my 15 second ‘2024 recapped’ reel; 
  • Harry is not a big fan of photos and videos and I’m not sure having a spat each time I tried to create content was going to be the best move for our relationship;

    But most importantly, 
  • I just didn’t want to. Having been through the throws of social media over the years, I didn’t want to jeapordise my presence in the real world for having a mark in the digital world. I wanted to embrace this adventure through the eyes of curiosity, joy and gratitude, not through the eyes of what would look aesthetically pleasing on Instagram.

And so, this brings me all the way back to the pint and aubergine pizza with my friends. I presented this dilemma to them and they suggested I start a blog to write about this next chapter. And, after a few entries, I decided to bring all my Excess Baggage to Smoozitive, the magazine for positive thinking when it comes to all things expat life.

​So, hello Smoozitive community. Welcome to my inner circle. Let’s go!

Amanda Signature X AC

Written by Angelica Cifuentes

Born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Colombia, with professional roots in Argentina, and now a proud American citizen, Angelica Cifuentes-Hernandez's global journey fuels her unique design perspective. She is the founder of Presentora, a company that aims to revolutionize how teams create presentations, offering custom, captivating "done-for-you" solutions that free your team to focus on their strengths. Connect on LinkedIn to see how Angelica's diverse background and Presentora's innovative service can transform your pitching and marketing efforts.

John Cortese founder and CEO of Tripiamo

Written by Amanda Cuffe

An overthinking city girl with a lot to say about an impending move to the Cayman Islands, and more. Originally from Sydney, Australia, I have been living away from where I grew up for 7 years.
My writing explores the concept of "home", the challenge of being present as I continue to move around the globe, maintaining grit (plus actually harnessing it) and finding purpose.

Welcome to my expat life and all the Excess Baggage that comes with it.

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