When I was preparing to move to Timor-Leste two years ago, I spent a lot of time nervously googling terms like “expat blog Timor-Leste” in an attempt to find some spelled-out and relateable lived advice from my fellow foreigners in a new and daunting place.
I had some trouble!
Most of the blogs I found were the sparse Timor-Leste pages on popular expat blog sites like Expat.com, EasyExpat.com and ExpatWomen.com, SEO-optimised to pop up in the first page of your search results but with little helpful or up-to-date information about actually living in Timor-Leste. My searching yielded little comfort or information — which is a small part of the reason I started this blog when I first arrived in early 2017.
Here, I’m keeping a list of the current and former Timor-Leste blogs that I have found interesting and helpful for foreigners newly living here. If you’ve got a tip that you don’t see on this list, please let me know!
Timor-Leste expat blogs I love
Dili Dally – the detailed and now-dormant blog of two New Zealanders who volunteered in Timor-Leste between 2013 and 2015; I read every single post here before I arrived and found it profoundly useful and illustrative. Pip’s writing is wise, lyrical and insightful, and their perspective on life in Timor-Leste is frank, funny and tender.
Adventures in Life and Living – another older blog; another wonderfully illuminating look at life in Timor-Leste from Lizzie, an Australian who volunteered in Timor-Leste around the same period as Pat and Pip were here. I again read every post on this blog before I moved and again really appreciated thoughtful, reflective writing and a clear love of and respect for Timor-Leste, even with its challenges.
Snail in Timor-Leste – a more recent blog from American Haley, who only just recently finished two years with the Peace Corps in a suco in Aileu municipality. Again, I find Haley’s perspectives deeply poignant and thought-provoking — I feel like she often captures in 200 incisive words what I waffle on for paragraphs limply trying to untangle for myself — and while her blog is personal and reflective, she’s also the author for Peace Corps of some extremely practical Timor-Leste public transport information.
Also, I’ve just found Timor in Translatation – another former Peace Corps volunteer blog! Short, fun posts about life in Liquica.
Timor See Saw – far out, another one I’ve read every page of! This is the brilliantly written family blog of the Australian couple who arrived in Timor-Leste a couple of years ago to work at the Bairo Pite Clinic and who now run Maluk Timor. I love this for the contemplative, sage and funny writing; the diligently uploaded photos showing not just telling life in Timor-Leste, and for the perspective that encourages reflection on privilege without preaching it.
Mobilis Divers – the fun, chatty blog of divers Noelle and Chris who have recently arrived in Timor-Leste. This one reminds me how important and intriguing it is to listen to people who have arrived in a place after you; no need to wallow in my crusty expat comfort when people are sharing quirky, interesting new observations about life here.
Betty Loves Blogging – how did I not find this blog in my early panicked googling?! Ashlee spent six months in Timor-Leste in 2012 and produced reams of the chatty, helpful, thoughtful, reflective blog posts I try desperately to write myself (I have to link some specific useful posts here: top 10 places to eat in Dili, how to catch a taxi, strange town) — I’m opening tab after tab on her site right now.
Helpful blog posts about Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste is a small, reasonably difficult but intriguing tourist destination, and several visitors have written excellent blog posts about their trips to Timor-Leste. I’ve liked:
- How to get to Jaco Island, from CheekyPassports
- Things to do in Dili on a budget, also from CheekyPassports
- First impressions of Timor-Leste, from Chantae Was Here
- What it’s like to travel East Timor, from Wandering Earl
- Searching for Futu Manu, from Passage Journal
- Permaculture in Timor-Leste, also from Passage Journal
- The country no one wants, from Stuff NZ (terrible title and some pretty patronising copy but a good piece overall)
- Timor-Leste, from Ted and Kari’s Travel Journal
- Life in Dili, from Brian Oh’s blog
Disagree with my choices? Write a great blog yourself? I’ll add to this list, so please get in touch if you’ve got any recommendations.