The STILL Global

The ‘act’ of repatriation is well behind us.

The stories of those who are still global – but no longer living a mobile life – are a collective of voices relatively unrepresented. We are the quiet ones for whom ‘repatriation’ happened a long long while ago.

That doesn’t mean we are done or feel comfortable or entirely at peace with our lives in our passport country. Global childhood expert, author Ruth Hill Useem quoted at the Families in Global Transition (FIGT) 2017 conference answers the question, “When do we adjust to repatriation?” with the very real and simple answer: 

“We never adjust. We adapt.”

Global Minus the Mobile

So where are our stories? How have we adapted? ‘We’ being the-global-without-the-mobile?

Like me, you might never have lived in your passport country until you were 18. And like me, your path likely followed a unique set of sequences that landed you, well – landed in your passport country as an adult.

That belief that we are the TCKs who chose stability and rooting? This story does not necessarily represent us.     

We are those who ‘returned’ and through the quick-sand of circumstance, remain. There is pleasure and love for my life here. And still, a certain sadness. The Families in Global Transitions conference awoke me to a false sense of aloneness in my experience within the global community. It turns out that we — the still-globals — have a place at the table too. 

The voices of those of us who remain global, despite being not currently mobile… landlocked in our passport monoculture.

We carry a different form of grief – not better or more or less – just different than other groups of globals: the TCKs-turned-expats, the trailing spouses, the freshly repatriated. We are the-STILL-globals and we need a place to tell our stories too.


Sarah Stoner is an American-born writer who was raised in Uganda, Morocco, Belgium, and Thailand. Her descriptive nonfiction has appeared in a variety of local magazines and national journals as well as the anthology The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays (a Skipping Stones Honor Award Book). Recognition for her work includes first place in the National League of American Pen Women essay contest and selection as a featured author for the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs project, TreeStory.

Her family’s roots run four generations deep in the Pacific Northwest where she now lives—on a 20-acre land trust property with her husband and two children. With half her life spent navigating foreign soils and various cultures, Sarah is learning the language of living in her passport country. She explores identity and belonging at

4 thoughts on “The STILL Global

  1. I always wondered what it was like for my fellow tck’s who ended up in their home country not moving, because of course I’ve thought about what it would be like to stay put. Thanks for this Sarah. I hope to see you soon!

    • Hi Mel. Judging from what I’ve seen and read, there is no one ‘right’ way. (Don’t we as TCKs know that already – intimately and up close in our beings! about culture and ways of living… )

      I am trying to express and claim this existence that I’ve fallen into and wasn’t quite able to express. Until I showed up at a conference surrounded by so many iterations of ‘globalness’… only then could I see more clearly where I fit, and my need to name it and claim it.

      I love being connected to you. And, I will be doing a profile series on “TCK Writers” … I just might have to squeeze you in there, since I want to hear your story! You write mucho script, I’d guess, correct?

  2. Beautifully expressed, Sarah! I know many who struggle to find the words, or deeper yet, have not entered a space of self-awareness to know that they need to grapple with these emotions. I appreciate platforms like this which encourage wrestling and awareness. Well done.

    • Thanks Russell. There are so many of us out there trying to piece it together. Wrestle with the pieces! I’m curious to hear more of your journey. That’s a warning/invitation! that i’d love to knock on your door to hear more.

Comments are closed.