Continuing your Career in South Africa

30 of us gathered to have great coffee without overlooking a car park, meet like minded people, and take the time to rethink our careers! It was a fantastic morning.  

I so wish that Hannah and Translating Me Abroad was up and running when I moved to Johannesburg 7 years ago. Hannah offers so many amazing resources to get settled in and enjoy this amazing city and country. I highly recommend getting involved!”
— Tessa Graham, Brand Strategist

“You have given me so much to go away and think about, thank you so much.”  

As people arrived at the brand new Milk Bar, just off Sandton Drive, they ordered their coffee, eat some delicious brunch and then had a fun quiz to introduce themselves to new people.  

With new friendships made, and tummies full, we sat down to be welcomed by Hannah Pirnie, founder of Translating Me and visionary behind the event. She challenged us all to widen our approach to our career paths, that there is a whole host of opportunities available that can meet our passions and talents.  

Expat Career

Tessa Graham, followed with her own personal story of how she has worked her way around the world reinventing her career, and applying for many visa’s.

Her tip - to work out your why, what it is that will motivate you and why you are doing it.

Catherine, originally from Ireland, shared how to refocus and humble yourself to re-qualify in order to practice professionally here, before Diana shared her story of starting up a blog.  

Nicola founder of the Facebook group Trailing Spouse, shared how she has managed to focus on personal development in every country managing to learn new skills through a variety of projects and passions. She encouraged everyone to get started in something.   

The panel were then joined by Hans a immigration expert to answer all the questions on the best type of visa to gain, and possible solutions forward.  

“The vision behind Translating Joburg is to encourage expats to leave Joburg in a better place than how you found it. By using your passions and skills to make an impact here. These monthly meetup events are just one of the many ways we aim to achieve this, through our Translating Joburg Membership Club.”  


Come join other passionate men and women who are creating their own side projects over in our Ubuntu Academy: 

We share training videos on: 

Creating your Website

How to Sell on Etsy

How to create $1000 a month by being a virtual assistant.   

For training videos and step by step tutorials on setting up your business - join us over in the Ubuntu Academy Now. 

Sneak Peak into Hannah' Evernote System

Following on from How I went Paperless when Moving Abroad, I have put together a sneak peak at my system I have created, along with step by step instructions on how you can set yourself up on Evernote. 


For our step by step instructions as well as suggested notebooks and system to create - click the image below, and sign up to get access to our Evernote Guide for Expats below. 

For more on Evernote, or to download it for FREE click the button below. 

Don’t Follow your Passion, Follow your Principles instead.

What do you call a person who relentlessly follows their passions and achieves all their goals?

A Sociopath

The internet is full of Guru’s telling us that when we are not achieving our goals and living our passion then all we need to do is refocus, set more attainable goals and remain committed to the end.  Whilst this may be true for some people it certainly cannot be true for all of us, all of the time.    

Sometimes life gets in the way.  

Things change.    

People change.

moving abroad, expat life

 I was thirteen years old when I first I dreamt of working in professional sport. I went to Durham University to do a sports related degree and when I graduated I took up a full time role at Saracens RFC. When a role with the architects of British Sporting success (Youth Sports Trust) came up I jumped at the chance to work on the London Olympic Legacy.   I was following my passion, my life was set out before me and I was very happy.  

Then my husband asked me to move to South Africa and my passion became my problem. 

 My sporting passion is about participation, experience and transition (life after Sport). In South Africa professional sport is about results, results and results- they believe(d) on field success to the only answer to increasing numbers both into the sport and through the gates. When I questioned professional sporting clubs and governmental bodies whether there could be another way, the answer was always the same: In South Africa things are different.
Maybe they are (they aren’t) and maybe they are not (they aren’t, but at least I am over it).

FREE BONUS - Download our quiz to identity your principles and personal values now.  


I knew my passion. I just needed a different approach. 

I started with a few small sporting projects, volunteering at sports organizations and consulting to government bodies.  Individually they were successful but it was hard work to convince people of the enduring need of such work. After a series of set-backs I started to suffer a loss in my own identity, which had been inextricably linked to my passion and my career.  I lost confidence, lost my voice and I became resentful.  

In the context where my life had dramatically changed and my passions where contradictory to national attitudes, the concept of pursuing the same passion or goals now seems frankly ridiculous.    

My passion was making me unhappy and stopping me from seeing the real joy around me.  It took me a few years to figure this out because we in the West are told from a very young age that we just have to follow our dreams/ goals/ passions to reach "success". 
The answer for me is quite simple most of the time. If following your passion is making you and the people around you happy then brilliant.  If you had a passion before moving abroad, or for whatever reason, following your passion isn't working out - or you actually have no idea what your passion is, then maybe its time to understand your principles, (or values). Trying to imagine the broader picture of the life you would like in 5 - 10 years time.  

Focus on your principles 
not solely on your passions.

My Principles: 

I want to enjoy and be challenged by my work, but still spend quality time with my family. I want to see more of my real friends and make new ones.   I would like to make a positive change to a few people’s lives but not necessarily change the world on my own.  I would like to be healthy and eat well.  I would like to travel and be comfortable.
They aren’t sexy or worthy of celebrity but they have helped me establish a broad platform for the decisions I make.  Furthermore my principles, and not fixed goals or targets, now shape my daily and weekly routine, which has led to a much more balanced and stress – free approach to life.  There is no more having to succeed at all cost, as I am now truly aware of the cost.   I and only I have control of my principles whereas goals are often as not reliant on a myriad of external factors.  

Lastly, my identity is now based on who I am and what matters to me and not what I have achieved or trying to achieve.
What are your principles?  Have you identified them?   How could refocusing change your life for the better?  


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My Personal 2016 Review

For the past 3 years or so I have taken time to complete my own personal review, and run workshops for anyone else that wants to join me in the process.

This year I have decided it might be helpful if I shared the actual process I go through and my thoughts and reflections.  

If this inspires you to do the same, then come join us for our FREE online workshop whereby we walk through the process giving you time to complete your own personal review and get clarity on what will make 2017 great for you.  

2016 Personal Review 

moving abroad

Firstly I pick a central word for the year, something that summarises my main intention for 2016 that word was to be Invested….  


- Invested in Matt
- Invested in the Kids
- Invested in Joburg
- Invested in my Career 

I also choose one quote to keep me going - 

moving abroad

The following are my highlights, lessons I have learnt the my low points and then I break these down into Health / Career / Home / Personal Development.  

Top Highlights / Things I am Proud Of

- The boys Christening and a weekend with great friends and family.  

- Lovely braai’s and fun times with friends and family who have visited us, or us visiting them!   

- Matt’s visa finally got approved.  

- Completed the Identity Project Online Course, and learnt new digital marketing skills.  

- Day trips for Matt and I. We went to Mumford and Sons, South Africa vs Ireland in the Rugby and the Soweto Derby Soccer. LOVED them.  

- Camping with friends.  

- Finally made it to Kenton, which has become our happy place. 

- Matt and I have both found health and fitness routines that work for us, running, and squash.     

Why have things gone well? Lessons Learnt 

Change has happened in the area’s where I got help. Investing in an expert. A big shift has happened in my health, and in my business due to employing a fantastic Personal Trainner, and experienced Business Coach. 
Process is more important than outcome. I have tried to focus on consistent action rather than worrying about what I will do If / when we move back to UK, or what career I will have once the kids are at school. I have tried to focus on the here and now, doing more of the things I love on a week by week basis, taking responsibility for my actions, rather than blaming people or situations, and sticking to a weekly routine. 

Low Points

- Working on 101 work projects - frustration and overwhelm.  
- Finance - wanted to save much more than we have!  
- Constant balance battle between how much time for friends and family and my work.  
- Saying goodbye to so many good friends this year.  


I wanted something that was social, and provided long term health and fitness. Wanted to be able to eat and drink without worrying about the additional weight, and to loose the weight and regain core strength after the twins. 

What has worked well: 

  • Nike run on a Tuesday night. 
  • The Park run on Saturday mornings.  
  • A running partner.  
  • Downloading audio books or podcasts to listen too.  
  • Personal Trainner  
  • Evaluating my diet (poor lunch and snack options) 

What hasn’t worked well

Tennis didn’t really work out, didn’t find anyone to play with, and the lessons were expensive and the time commitment needed to get good and play regularly is too high currently.  

Diet - when observing what I eat, it varies depending on the time of the month. Mainly my downfall is poor lunch and snack options.  

Family Health

To cook regular meals for the whole family, to eat home cooked meal 5 times a week.  

What worked well

- Pulled together collection of recipes in Evernote folder.  
- Variety of options for the kids lunch boxes  
- Ate more vegetarian food (meat free monday) 
- Good freezer options
- Found inspiration on Instagram  
- Batch Cooking on Saturday morning ( tied it into a routine (matt took kids swimming whilst I went for early morning run, and then cooked listening to a good podcast and made sure I had the ingredients I needed).  
- Ordering from Ucook particularly when we had visitors.  

What hasn’t worked

- Not so good lunch options for Matt and I  
- When go away at weekend, or we are busy, I lack the motivation to cook
- Lack routine for shopping and often over buy
- General shopping expenses are very high 

My Career 

I wanted to launch 3 profitable products this year, to create a sustainable business for me, something that was outside being a mum and wife, I wanted the kids to see Mummy and Daddy working, but a company that was was portable and flexible around the family (particularly our long holidays and school pick ups)!   

What worked well

 - Working at a co office working space  
- Hiring a Business Coach (who narrowed my focus, and kept me accountable).  
- Hiring Graphic Designer.  
- Learnt how to stop doing things and to say no.  
- Investing in specific digital courses to learn relevant skills.  
- Creating a weekly routine (set days for specific work projects and family time).  
- Creation of Translating Joburg Events (met great people, developed facilitation skills).  
- Learning new digital marketing skills.  
- Published on Huffington Post.  
- Consistency in writing and publishing (36 Blogs / Weekly newsletter), in turn grew my database. 

What didn’t work so well

- Underestimating the time needed to learn the skills necessary to create a product.  
- Trying to develop and work on numerous ideas, lacking clarity.  
- Miss working in Sport.  
- Easily distracted by other ideas and inspiration (particularly when opportunities came to support others, or to use personal strengths).  
- Procrastination and comparison. I spent way too much time on social media, “researching” / looking at how good other relocation companies are.   
- Failed to get recruited for a job back at an International sports federation which sucked! It was a great process to go through and made me remember the passion I have for sport. But it wasn't to be and I was greatful to have Translating Me to focus on, and know that one day I will do something back in the sport industry, just not now.    

Family / Home 

- Declutter our house (finish unpacking all shipment boxes).  
- Put picture’s up and create more homely feel to the house.   
- Creation of photobook for each Child and Year.  
- Family Holidays - book in camping and school holidays
- Invested specific time for Matt and I (one night a week “nice meal”, monthly date night, quarterly day trip, weekend away).  
- Get boys christened  
- Save deposit for house  
- Friends and Family  - make contact with friends and family each month. Holiday back to the UK to reconnect.    

What went well

- Boys Christening Weekend  
- Family Holidays  
- Kid free day trips Matt and I had
- Decluttered house (thanks to my dad for clearing the garage in December!)  
- Cleared through all our photo’s and backed them up.  

What didn't work out

- Finance, don't budget and so spend way too much!  
- Living abroad makes it harder to stay in touch with friends and family back home, we need to put better systems in place to be better at keeping in touch.  
- Whilst I cleared through photos I still haven’t printed out any albums.  

Spirituality / Personal Development

This has been the most neglected area for 2016. I enjoy my own time and space when I run, but I haven’t been good at journalling, or finding a church community.  

What went well  

- Running routine, 
- Nomads Podcast  
- Regularly Cooking and Baking
- Digital Marketing Skills (weekly reading articles and investing in online programmes and courses).  

What didn’t go well  

- Time I spend on social media  
- Lack of morning routine    
- Not part of a church community  
- Haven’t developed my Coaching skills 

Join us to review your 2016 and get organised and ready to make 2017 your best yet!