/ / 04: Life As A Global Nomad with Roberta D’Angelo Mellis

04: Life As A Global Nomad with Roberta D’Angelo Mellis

In the fourth episode of the Families Exploring Culture Podcast, we explore the global nomad life with Roberta D’Angelo Mellis as she describes her experiences moving to different countries and some of the challenges of raising children abroad.

a picture of Roberta D'Angelo Mellis with a text graphic underneath

What is a global nomad?

According to Norma McCaig, a global nomad is “a person of any age or nationality who has lived a significant part of his or her developmental years in one or more countries outside his or her passport country because of a parent’s occupation.”

This article from Families In Global Transition gives a more in depth dive into what constitutes a global nomad.

What countries have Roberta and her family lived in? 

Roberta grew up in Brazil, and in 2010 she abandoned everything to start the expat adventure with her family. Their first stop was in Italy, which was the hardest move because every part of the experience was new. The language barrier didn’t help the situation, but Roberta’s family bonded together as they adapted and supported one another.

The family then moved to South Africa. While in Italy, their English had improved, so they could communicate with their new friends while they learned Zulu. The kids were quick to make friends as they immersed themselves in the culture. 

The next destination was sunny Mexico. The family enjoyed their time in a Latin culture once more, but soon they moved to the not-so-sunny Netherlands. The girls are now teenagers and the family is currently still in the Hague until further notice.

What is the hardest part of living abroad?

Without a doubt, the hardest part is saying goodbye. As Roberta has learned through her travels, “You can find very nice people everywhere. You can make friends anywhere.”

When it comes time to say goodbye, it’s devastating to have to leave the friends you’ve come to love and depend on. 

text graphic with a quote from the episode

What is the best part of living abroad?

Roberta’s children have been able to learn about many cultures and meet so many wonderful people. As a result, they have become independent, strong, courageous, and accepting of people of all colors and nationalities.

They understand and respect various cultures, so they see that everyone is equal. Roberta phrased it beautifully that her kids “see the world as one thing. Everybody belongs to the world and we are all equals.” 

What should people know before coming to the Netherlands?

Windmills may be a staple of the country, but don’t forget about the wind that powers them! It is cloudy, wet, and dark in the Netherlands, so it’s important to take Vitamin D to make up for the lack of direct sunlight. 

Even though the weather is less than ideal, the people are incredible—they are open-minded to all religions, sexualities, fashion, lifestyles . . . the list goes on! The Netherlands is a very safe place. Women have the freedom to walk or ride your bike whenever and wherever you want. Kids are also safe to go to school, parks, and their friends’ houses on their own. 


What is some advice for people planning to live abroad?

1. Be open. Don’t avoid the culture you’re moving to. You can keep your traditions while exploring and expanding to include some from this new culture.

2. Don’t be afraid to experience the country. Try to learn the language, try the different foods, and mix with the people (expand your circle beyond your fellow expats). 

Thank you for joining me on this journey! Happy exploring!

my family standing on a beach with a text graphic calling people to subscribe to the podcast

Other episodes you may like


Follow Roberta on Instagram and Facebook and reach out to her if you have any questions. She is a columnist and proofreader for the web platform “Brasileiras pelo Mundo” (Brazilians around the World), where she writes articles about living abroad in the Netherlands.

Want to follow our adventures traveling and living abroad ? Follow Jonesin’ For Taste on Instagram to catch all of our latest adventures? Stop by, send me a DM, and let me know what else you would like to know about being an expat!

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