“I’m not a TCK myself. I grew in the same house all my life,” as Lillian Small clarified. Even so, the life of Lillian Small is filled with diversity.
Not as a traditional Third Culture Kid (TCK), her diverse experiences were brought by herself. She is a traveler, a creator, a photographer. No matter what job she’s engaging, travel is always an essential part of her life. “My family never did any other kind of international travel. But perhaps that is what fueled me to want to travel more.” As Small said, “the biggest influence was my boyfriend (now husband) who is a TCK.” They went on a one-month bus tour of Europe while dating. Then she
went to study abroad in Australia for a semester. “The travel bug hasn’t left me – and when I started working full time, my husband and I would organize a big trip each year,” Small said. Like, they were backpacking through South America for three weeks; the next year they spent three weeks in Brazil.
For the honeymoon, they went to the Cook Islands. Before moving to Europe, they spent three weeks in Nicaragua. The fact is that they travelled around the world a lot and they will never stop traveling around the world. She’s the person behind The Smalls Abroad, her travel blog. She showed what she saw, shared how she felt about her “adventure” through this delicate blog.
She’s been to a lot of different countries and on many different kinds of adventures. However, she said “I look forward to more. All our travels help us see our own world through a different lens. It opens our minds to the possibilities that are out there.”
“I know the things I’ve learned, habits and nuances I’ve picked up by living in Paris, and now Aberdeen, shape who I am. It is a part of me and I really love that.” Small said.
Can you believe such a girl like Lillian Small used to work for Canada’s largest oil company on a graduate scheme? She rotated around three different positions in her five years with the company. Yes, her career experiences are also exploratory and varied.
She moved from my hometown of Mississauga, Ontario to Edmonton, Alberta at that time. Then, she and her husband moved to Paris after his husband got a job opportunity in Paris. Small said, “I put my engineering career on hold to explore different opportunities and career paths for myself.” In Paris, she taught English to five to nine-year-olds, managed an Airbnb apartment, coached Crossfit, did some freelance French-to-English translation, completed a cooking and pastry certificate and worked as a social media manager for a design agency. As we can see how busy her life was in Paris, she still travelled and explored as much of Europe as possible. After everything she experienced in Paris, she moved to Aberdeen, Scotland in 2017, enrolled in a Masters of Digital Marketing at Robert Gordon University. Currently, she’s a digital marketing consultant for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Small’s parents immigrated to Canada along with her maternal grandparents a few years before she was born. So, she was actually a cross-cultural kid. Growing up in Canada, she always still identified with Portuguese culture, traditions and language. When people in Canada would ask what her “background,” she would say Portuguese.
As a child, there would be some struggling of two cultures. The Portuguese way of doing things and the Canadian way of doing things are different in many regards. While, Small expressed that she’s very grateful and thankful her parents insisted her to learn Portuguese. Small said, “I was and still am a Portuguese Canadian and I’m quite proud of that.”
Based on every decision she made, every place she has explored, everything she’s been through, I can say Lillian Small’s life is not less diverse and colorful than any TCK.
In the end, let us enjoy a short video from Lillian Small’s beautiful journey in Portugal!