Bye Bye Kids, Bye Bye Suitcases…


I was at a networking event a couple of years ago when a man approached me to shake my hand. He took a look at my business card and asked “So, 4 kids, 20 suitcases…what is that, a nursery?”

I went through my usual spiel, the blog, the dog, the kids, the expat life in a nutshell – but I’d lost him, he was still back at the nursery, with the suitcases.

For years I’ve been told that the name of this blog is too long, too confusing. And for years I’ve said that if I had my time again, if I’d known that the blog was to going to have to have a name to fit on a business card –  I would have chosen something different.

I don’t think I would have though.

The name has huge sentimental reasons for me. It’s not so much about a name, it’s about a feeling, where the name takes me.

When we arrived in Doha for the very first time full of excitement and trepidation, we set up camp in our hotel room. After getting the kids to bed and lining up our suitcases tetris style to make our way to the bathroom, I opened the laptop to start this blog. What to call it? Did it matter? I had a look around the room; the four little travellers were lined up next to each other in fold out beds, I counted the suitcases, and thought about the barking beagle as she’d arrived at the baggage carousel. 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle.

This year at problogger I reconnected with a lot of bloggers I’d met before, but I also managed to introduce myself to a few that I hadn’t . When I introduced myself to Clint Greagen of Reservoir Dad I shook his hand “Hi, I’m Kirsty from 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle”.

After hesitating for a second he looked a little bewildered and said “Congratulations”.

He thought I’d said “Hi, I’m Kirsty and I’ve got 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle”.

Throughout the weekend I was introduced as the “kids and suitcases lady” or  “the lady with the suitcases and the beagle” or just “sorry, I know it’s 20 kids and 4 beagles but…” Twenty kids? That’s a whole other blog.

On the final day of the conference I said to my cousin and room mate, “You know, I’m not sure if people actually know the name of my blog, I think it might be a confusing” you know, because I’m quick on the uptake of all things branding.

“Kirsty, I’m your cousin, and I can’t even remember the name of your blog.” she giggled.

When I got back to Qatar I asked the kids what they thought. “4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle seems too long. What do you think would be a better blog name?”

“My mother is dead to me after dropping me from the name of her blog?” quipped the third little traveller “or is that too long?”

And so, I bring it to you. What are your thoughts? The website address for this blog is so absolutely nothing will change with how to find me. The logo will stay the same as it was designed by a beautiful friend of mine and I just love the artwork, particularly the picture she drew of the kids (and as you can see, my children would NEVER forgive me if I took their pics of the logo).

So, four choices. I’d love for you to vote a, b, c or d. Any ideas, got something better (this is clearly not my where my expertise lay).

a) The Expat Life

b) The Merry Expat

c) The Extraordinary Expat

d) The Exuberant Expat

Which one? Or what else?

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  1. my vote would go for ‘a’

  2. I vote for A, but I think “My Expat Life” feels more personal than “The Expat Life”

  3. Please don’t change it!
    It’s YOU and your family and your journey.
    It’s perfect.

    You stand out from the crowd of expat this and expat that.

    It’s no different to taking the time to listen and learn to pronounce the name of a new friend from a foreign land. It just takes a little bit of time, practise and manners to get it right.

    I vote NO CHANGE!

  4. I agree, Please don’t change it! I love it! I think its clever and very much you and your family!

  5. Alli @ ducks on the dam says

    Expat life is a bit bland. And you are not bland. I like Merry.

  6. Circles in the Sand says

    Kirsty, I absolutely love the name of your blog! Seriously. As an expat blog, it totally encapsulates the whole moving around thing. Maybe the people at the blogger conference weren’t expats? I guess to someone who has never lived this life it might not work quite so perfectly. But, to those of us who live overseas with kids, it speaks volumes. I don’t ususally stick my opinion in, but I did want to tell you I love the name – there are so many blogs out there with the word expat in. I think yours really stands out from the crowd, with a great name that conjures up, to me, a wonderful image. And I write headlines for a living, so I know it’s not easy! xx

  7. Leave it! It’s already perfect.

  8. A Drifting Compass, my expat life

  9. I think it’s all really exciting for you. Will keep my thinking cap on. Frontrunner for me is – My Expat Life. xx

    Ps: Very honoured to be included on your blog

  10. I vote for “4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle”. It has history, value and individuality. The other options are a bit generic, IMO.


  11. Putting Expat in the title makes it sound boring and predictable, stick with what you’ve created or abbreviate like, 4 kids…. or 4K20SB. actually I really like your title/name. No change

    • you are so right, whenever i read blogs titles with expat and mom im already yawing, even if i am an expat and a mom!!!

      • I had the 4K20SB thought too (although I thought maybe FKTS&B) – kind of like when New Kids on the Block rebranded as NKOTB….
        Not sure if that would fix the “confusing” problem but the “FKT” bit does sound vaguely rude and is rather satisfying to say….
        I love the blog Kristy, and I agree with not using the “expat” bit if you can avoid it.
        Sarah from Adelaide who now lives in Melbourne

  12. I see your point about it being long for business cards but I’ve always loved the name of your blog. It conjures up a picture about what the blog is all about with a sense of informality that makes you feel instantly welcome. For me, the four options you’ve given are too dull in comparison and you are definitely not that! I need to think…. :o)

    • One can always order larger business cards! 😉 Joke aside. Have discovered this blog recently and love it – and it started with its name!! Any “expat xyz” would not get me clicking…

  13. September Decker Jeans says

    Please don’t change it! I LOVE the name of your blog!!!

  14. Kristy,

    If you’re going to change the name of the blog, I’d think even longer term. What if in 5 or 10 years you are no longer an expat? Bsides your stories are more the human experience rather than just expat life… Maybe you want to think about a name that’s more reflective that thought.

  15. I really like the name of your blog! I instantly knew it was an expat blog before I’d read it. But if I had to choose one of the others, I’d pick the Merry Expat.

  16. Mermaidinthesand says

    No, no, no I love your blog name!! It’s who you are and much more personal then your other options. When I read it I was immediately intrigued and though I must read her blog. With a name like that it’s bound to be good 🙂

  17. I love the name of your blog BUT I understand the want/need to change it. I love “My Expat Life” and maybe 4 Kids, 20 Suitcases & a Beagle could be made into some kind of tag line?

  18. I love your blog name too, but understand your concerns. How about “Our Life in Suitcases”?

    • I LOVE IT!!!

    • Oh boy … I hate to comment on this because it is YOUR blog … no one else has put any blood, sweat or tears into it, we just get to ENJOY the fruits of your labor. I agree with some of the others that you should leave it for posterity’s sake, but I also agree (from the standpoint of biz cards, branding, etc.) that it’s a bit long. I LOVE Tiffany’s suggestion of Our Life in Suitcases as it encompasses the logo, the expat lifestyle, without overusing the actual WORD expat! I also (this is getting long now!) agree with Evelyn below that you can introduce yourself (or brand yourself) as Kirsty Rice, founder of BloggerME and owner of 4 kids, 20 Suitcases?

  19. I think your name is lovely and makes the blog much more down to earth. And it so encapsulates everything about the journeys we make – my instagram feed is filled with arty photo’s of our suitcases all lined up every time we venture out! If I did have to choose I’d say c)

  20. Please, PLEASE, do not change your name !! You are unique in the world of blogging, to actually having a name with a real history – bugger the people with goldfish memories, their loss not yours.

  21. Evelyn Simpson says

    How about saying you’re from Kirsty Rice Online and you write the blog “4 kids etc… Now you’re a co-founder of BloggingME, Kirsty Rice online is more than the blog 🙂

    • Judy Rickatson says

      Absolutely agree. The blog name is wonderful, funny and irreverent and perfectly represents the tone of your blog. But for branding, Kirsty Rice Online is short enough and also includes your name. It’s also a big enough umbrella to encompass any further writing you may do in the future in other formats.

  22. Shannon Oerline says

    Please no change! The title is instant kinship for lots of expat women and also quirky enough to make you curious.


    2 kids, overpacking husband and 19 suitcases in Santiago Chile

    See it could be even longer 🙂

  23. No please do not change it…. perfect as is. I second a comment down the bottom saying you are also known as…

  24. Torn here – I like the title and all it encompasses, but for purposes of PR and branding, you probably do need to find something shorter, catchier, and easier to remember (for those readers who are not as intrepid as we all are, lol) The title is a bit long but at the same time, it really does sum up what makes YOUR expat experience so interesting and compelling for your readers. I arrived in Seoul with a pretty generic 2 kids, a few suitcases (our stuff mostly came in the container) and no animals – and that was wild enough for me. Goodness, it’s wild enough for the expat wives who have zero kids and dogs – so I like the fact that your credentials are out there. Anyone who’s moved overseas would definitely look at those numbers with either rueful familiarity or serious respect – so I think keeping them – in some way – is a good idea. – but including them in a subtitle or tagline under something shorter is probably the way to go. I like the direction that ‘Guest’ has gone with ‘4K20SB’ – still with details but shorter and catchier. Same with Tiffany’s comment about ‘suitcases’ – shorter, but still reminding us what is so interesting about you!

  25. Please don’t change it! I can remember it easily and that is saying something for my bad memory.

  26. Carohutchison says

    I think of you as Kirsty from Shamozal, not usually 4 kids etc. I’m sure you’ll make a good choice 🙂

  27. Don’t change! It would be like when a new actor replaces an established character on a soap opera – weird. You’re so so so unique & the title reflects that. The word “expat” would diminish what you write about, you’re so much more.

  28. Marlene Van Jaarsveld says

    Please don’t change the name…

  29. What about incorporating the word Shamozal back into your title? I agree that using the word expat in the title is too prescripted. Expat is your core but your blog is so much more, more like an adventure or living life to the full. You need to bring together a virtual focus group of your readers – they might have some great ideas.

  30. Suzanne Levine says

    Kirsty…please don’t change the name of your blog! It is a unique name and aptly summarises your life and experience. I love the name because it is not called something boring and conventional. I must admit I would have always thought your blog name when introducing ypurself woule have been a great ice breaker. X

  31. I like the current title but if you must change it please don’t go with the expat obvious titles – “Our life in suitcases” is good or how about Shamozal in the Sand(s) ?

  32. At least the numbers put you at the top of an alphabetical list!

    Your suggestions haven’t grabbed me (sorry!). How about…A life abroad, An Aussie abroad, An Aussie expat….part of the beauty of your story is the time back in Aust as well as what you get up to in Doha!

  33. I love the name of your blog, but can totally understand that it can be confusing and long, especially to market it to everyone.
    The name ‘The Extraordinary Expat’ sounds good, easy to remember and sums up your blog in a great way. At least so I think 🙂

  34. Corinne Rochette says

    My first reaction? Why does she want to change it? Then I read the reasons, could understand them… then read the options you offer and thought I hated every single one. By thinking a bit longer about it, I realised ir’s not because these names are awful, it’s because they’re not YOU.
    I love the name of your blog. It matches your humoristic writing. It’s the reason I started to read you, because I have 4 kids myself, because I know the suitcases and the teavelling with a pet part and could relate.
    What kept me coming was your clever and humoristic writing that always seems to strike a chord with me.
    My gut instinct would be: ‘don’t change’.
    Now, because I’be read your reasons and understand them (not easy to find a name), I understand your point, but please don’t use any of the names you offered to choose from. They’re simply not you! Wait until someone provides you with the perfect name.

  35. Wow, I see what you mean.
    Personally I tend to think of you as ‘Shamozal’ as someone else mentioned, rather than the 20 suitcases, etc, etc.
    So, combining what else has been mentioned – “A shamozal of suitcases” or Suitcase Shamozal?

  36. The Eternal Expat? Because even when you go home you are still an expat at heart. Trust me!
    Or My Big Fat Expat Life? The Happy Travellers?

  37. Kirsty Rice. That’s my advice. I was all kinds of names on my couple of blogs till I realised I was one person. Me. Now I’m Denyse Whelan. You can always have a by-line added. You’ve been around long enough my friend..Kirsty Rice!

  38. I think you should keep the name. I am pretty sure a lot of people would have come back to your blog because the name was so forgettable that they were determined to find it again. It’s reverse marketing – like reverse psychology. I thought you did it on purpose. Very effective. A pity the fourandtwenty domain name is gone already. Maybe just “…and a beagle” so we don’t forget the beagle.

  39. Don’t change! Its like when an actor replaces an established character on a soap opera – weird. You are so so so unique & the word “expat” would diminish all that you write about, would not seem enough to describe who you are. And you are so much more!

  40. You are not just any expat you are the lady that put Doha on the map for Expats and bloggers. Your current title is your character and represents what you are and how you feel. You couldn’t put it in a nutshell then, why do it now? It’s perfect!
    Greetings from under the Eiffel Tower… 😉

  41. I really love the name you have. I know from a branding perspective it probably gets tricky, but it conjures up the circus that arrives at the airport every 3 years here too. Sentimental on my part, I guess.

  42. Keep it the same. There are too many blogs with the expat word. You are a stand out with your 20 beagles, 4 suitcases and 1 kid … 🙂

  43. Don’t change it! I’ve been where you are (albeit with only one kid). It’s catchy and describes the expat life to a tee. And it recognizes how hard it can be to be the expat wife, holding it all together.

  44. Kristy – I have to agree – don´t change IF your audience are expats (who totally get and adore the blog). If your audience are fellow bloggers “on the scene” then go ahead and do something they can remember. I personally see a-d is less catchy and memorable, to be honest. (I know, not the vote you wanted!) 🙂

  45. I vote for The exuberant expat!

  46. SorrentoMoon says

    4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle – I LOVE IT !!! I vote no change !!!

  47. SorrentoMoon says

    4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle – I LOVE IT !!!

  48. Kristie Drake Neathamer says

    I love the current name, but if you must change….I like “Our life in suitcases” better than any of the generic ones… or what about the phrase you use when you don’t know where you are…Geographical Schizophrenia an Expat life.

  49. i vote for keeping the title as it is, but if it can give you some ideas, thats how i usually refer to you when telling to my husband about some of your post : You know my guru expat aussie lady married with an energy guy like you? and he remembers immediately the four kids and the name of the company 😀

  50. Please don’t change it! I believe all the expats understand the name very well! It’s original, it’s funny and says a lot about your life. I love the name of your blog and would be sad to see it changed.

  51. You could simplify it to “Kids, Suitcases, Beagle” which is still recognizable, but less of a mouthful. Plus the added bonus of no numbers to remember.

  52. I love your title. It’s not like any other, and I don’t think anyone could spot the name without popping by to check it out. Not very many blog titles have that effect on me.
    If you’re really up for changing, and based on the comments of others re. keeping it about you and your adventures while considering a possible return to your homeland one day, the only thing I can think of is ”Oz and sods …”.
    But I still like your original title best. I vote ”Don’t Change”.

  53. please don’t change it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  54. B!

  55. I love your blog name as is and have NO trouble remembering it! If you change it I will follow you still though – hard when you feel like you have to justify it all the time…
    I love the third little traveller’s take on the situation – quick wit is so appealing!
    (My blog name is ridicously long and doesnt really work, but I keep it because it’s me and I cannot for the life of me think of anything more appropriate! )

  56. Umm – understand your need to change the name of the blog – and I’m going to be completely unhelpful as I don’t have any alternate suggestions – but none of the 4 grab me, or evoke any emotion. I like the current title, because it has a kind of whimsy about it – can you go back through your blogs and find a title or a line that you have written, that evokes, in a short phrase, the joy, challenges, frustration, excitement, amusement, even whimsy – of being an expat?

  57. Samantha White says

    I vote “no change” too! It’s absolutely perfect already. All I have to remember is the “4” and the computer/phone/ipad autofills the rest for me 🙂

  58. the name is unique – it made me stop and read it. As an online presence, this name stands out. I see the point about ‘saying’ the name when you meet someone but this isn’t the same as when you read it (if that makes sense). I vote no change, and the handing out of the card, with the shaking of the hand! Love the blog!

  59. Love the current name but it is too long. Have a think about what is really your difference versus other bloggers. The other names you mention could easily apply to other Expat blogs so if you take away the picture or your name then would anyone truly put your name to the blog?
    Why not include your name Kirsty? From the comments and your posts it seems that people relate to ”Kirsty” the expat blogger, or ”Kirsty” from Doha etc. It is part of your brand so why not put it out in front? I remember your name more than the blog name. You also try to make a connection with your readers so that would make sense to me.
    Just thinking out loud now, but something else that strikes me about your posts are the reality you convey – of the good, the bad and the heart-breaking honesty of being seperated from loved ones when posted somewhere else… Capture that in your brand and you can’t go wrong.
    Tak your time on the name. Happy to chat more if you ever want as I enjoy your posts and sometimes I need the emotional connection even if even it is through words from someone I have never met.

  60. Carolyn Alfonso says

    No don’t change anything! Those names are boring and I see your blog as being about more than just expat life. It’s about family and everyday life, not just being an expat, and 4 Kids, 20 Suitcases and a Beagle sums that up perfectly.
    I’ve never commented before but feel strongly about this one. I’ve followed your blog virtually from the beginning and love everything about it, including the name!

  61. Debbie Newton Jeffrey says

    Yeah I agree with everyone else. Don’t change it to something generic. Maybe do something like 4+20+(insert doggie emoji here). Or 420+aBeagle. BTW how come your partner doesn’t figure…? 😉

  62. Wow, you’ve really got everyone engaged on this one! I think I have only ever commented once but I too feel strongly that I love your current name and I’m not too keen on the other suggestions. Your name is unique in a sea of blah! As an expat, I love your blog but don’t need to see “Expat” in the name. Just keep doing what you’re doing. You obviously have lots of loyal followers who have all now come out of the woodwork!!

  63. Hi Kirsty – big changes! I thought I would throw my two cents in and say either keep it as is – completely original and you – or change to your own name… good luck with the decision-making process, what an overwhelming response!! Cheers, Lucy

  64. Debbie Newton Jeffrey says

    there is no dog on the logo pic 🙁

  65. I don’t really have anything to add, but wow 99 comments and I’m making it 100. People feel strong about this. Still love Shamozal, personally. x

  66. Kirsty as a serial expat I love your blog and the name. If you have to shorten the name here is my suggestion: Kirsty, Kids and Chaos. Good luck.

  67. Heather Newman says

    When I first was searching for blogs about expat families, I googled “expat family” and there are no blogs that come up on the first page with that name. So you would be easier to find if you did something like “Expat Family: 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle”. That way you have a short, “I’m Kristy from Expat Family”, but you also keep the original. Plus you might end up with new readers who can find you easily on the Googs. By the way, I love your blog, thanks for sharing your experiences.

  68. Please don’t change it! Go for smaller font on those business cards

  69. D if I have to chose. But I prefer the current name. Cos a-d are a bit boring. And unrepresentative of your reality. How about just adding ‘Expat Queen: ‘ to the start of your existing name. Then you can just abbreviate it. Or add option d, colon and then existing name.

  70. Fokkelien Spaander says

    Remember when Prince changed his ‘name’ to TAFKAP? Has anybody ever called him that? I don’t see the need to change the name of your blog, but if you do, don’t use the word expat!

  71. Ann van der Heide says

    Please keep it. I started reading it, as our family were 3 kids, many suitcases and a beagle for 12 years. Don’t join the herd 🙂

  72. I think you seem pretty merry in your posts, so i’d vote b.

  73. I’m a bit late, but will add my opinion anyways…
    I would keep it as is, it’s unique! Plus, although being an expat is a big part of your life now, it might not always be that way, or always suit you. Your blog is about so much more than that. 4K20SB is more all encompassing and will be appropriate for as long as you continue to grace us with your writing.
    Jen (once an expat in Geneva, now an e-expat back home in Vancouver)

  74. I never comment on anything but felt the need to on this! I am late 20 something British guy living in Qatar and I stumbled upon your blog when I first moved here looking for advice and have read it ever since. Most days at work you’re the second thing I type into Google after “BBC news” and I type “4 kids, 20 suitcases”. I love the name and love the fact it is so you. Please don’t change it, I think you have something special with the name and it makes you different from normal expat bloggers, which is why I’ve stuck around! x

  75. reservoirdad says

    Always be prepared to reinvent.

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