Top 5 Ways For Expats To Stay Connected


When we began our travels 14 years ago, leaving Australia was not only about leaving behind the vegemite, cherry ripes and bbq shapes. It was about leaving behind our beloved ABC, about missing the footy season and the nightly news. In all of our locations we’ve replaced the old with the new, signed up for cable and jumped into the local culture. But we’ve still found ourselves pining for a little taste of home. Box sets of Seachange, Tangle and Love My Way have made their way across the seas, each episode savored.

Times have changed now. We no longer shop for box sets or wait for three months for Mum to send a Women’s Weekly or Saturday’s paper for a taste of home. It’s now all available online. Today I thought I could blog about what others have told me they do to keep connected. I’m aware that for many, certain services are illegal, so for the remainder of this post I will use very careful terminology. I am not instructing you to do any of this, I am merely pointing out what is available, and what others have shared with me.

The Top 5 Ways For an Expat To Stay Connected.

1. VPN (A virtual private network)

The general consensus, no matter where you live is that you need a VPN. Lifehacker wrote a great post here explaining what a VPN is with a link to the top 5 favourite VPN providers. For those of you who have an iPad, I believe one could download the VPN to their iPad which would give them access to any apps, pages and sites they’re interested in. They could then ping whatever was on their iPad to their television via their Apple TV. I’m getting ahead of myself though.

2. Apple TV

An Apple TV is not another television.  It is a tiny little box about the size of your hand which plugs into the back of your TV. If you have an iPhone or an iPad you can shoot anything you’re viewing up onto the screen. It really is just the press of a button. You can access iTunes to download movies and television series, you can also view Youtube clips and listen to podcasts.

3. Sonos

Sonos is a wireless hifi system. I also have a Sonos app on my phone that allows me to pick a radio station and then choose whether I’ll play it through the speakers upstairs, downstairs or both. G and I can now have the cricket playing in the background, listen to Triple J’s top 100, or play the latest from BBC1. I also have my favourite podcasts connected which means I can listen to Richard Fidler or This American Life whenever I like.

4. Netflix or Hulu

Netflix and Hulu allow you to watch movies and television for a monthly flat rate. If you’re outside of the US and don’t have a VPN, Netflix will tell you that they are not available in your country as yet.

5. Slingbox

Slingbox is really handy for those who have a house in their home country. It allows you to use your laptop, tablet or phone to view both cable or regular television from “home” .  You can also run a monitoring system from your house. Slingbox will allow you to set up a camera, this means you can check in on what’s going on at the house. This appeals to anyone who has experienced the alarm randomly going off, or maybe just wants to look at how the garden is growing. A girlfriend of mine can see her front door clearly enough to know if a parcel has been delivered.

*For those of you who are not Apple people I believe all of the same can be replicated with VPN, Plex and Chromecast.

What are your tips? What keeps you connected?

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