Jennifer is the writer behind Domestic Bliss Abroad and a subscriber on the Guidrr platform, sharing experiences in small-town Switzerland on the app – with more to come
This week, we welcome Jennifer Hart, a writer, mother and expat by life choice, to our creator community. Her first two experiences, set in Switzerland, draw from the latest home in her expat life journey. Jennifer first arrived in small-town Switzerland by way of a winding and beautiful set of career and family travel experiences that includes stints in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and France.
Born in Thunder Bay, Canada, in what she describes as a “middle of nowhere” town, to a half-Canadian, half-American father and a British-Maltese mother, Jennifer always knew that she needed something more. She shares the story of how she would be mesmerized by her mother’s stories of growing up listening to the Beatles in England, or stories from her grandmother’s “very Southern Belle/American Vogue” life moving between Paris, Barcelona and Milan. “I didn’t fit it in. The life I was living wasn’t the life I imagined for myself.”
For Jennifer, writing was always a haven during her school days. In fact, she won the Canadian youth writing prize two years in a row. “All along, writing kept me sane,” she shares. “I didn’t realize I would make a life out of it.”
For Jennifer, imagining the world was replaced by really experiencing it for the first time at age 19. She set off on a one-way ticket to a gap year in England. But this first travel experience didn’t quite work out the way she imagined. Like many young, aspiring travelers, she experienced the realities of being away and making life work. “I was too young and immature. I wasn’t ready.”
She returned to her small logging town, at a loss and trying to decide what to do next. Her interest in culinary experiences - “I’ve always been a foodie” - led her to chef school and apprenticeships in Toronto. From there, she decided to go a bit further, and spent time studying near Milwaukee, Wisconsin – (ironically the city where our Guidrr team first met Jennifer, at the Women in Travel Summit 2017).
She was back in Canada completing her master’s degree, when she first connected with her now-husband (the couple have two children, and they live in Morges, Switzerland, the subject of one of Jennifer’s first Guidrr guides, recreating the steps of long time Morges resident Audrey Hepburn in a 24-hour local experience).
“He was a London boy living in Paris. How could I not fall for that?” she says, and the two decided to build a life together. They married in 2006, and together spent 10 years living and working in Paris and starting their own family, while Jennifer navigated a career helping others live holistically via nutrition.
Throughout her husband’s business travels and their life moves, she still kept turning to writing, and when the move to Switzerland happened, she decided to begin blogging for friends as a way to share the story of her life – with a blog titled “Domestic Bliss Abroad.” In the blog, her two kids and husband “Mr H” are featured in adventures that include the outdoors and skiing, along with Jennifer’s own musings on travels and experiences she’s had. The blog is a way for Jennifer to write publicly under her own brand, but all along she’s also been a ghost-writer for others, maintaining a strong connection to the writing world. One of the subjects she is most passionate about is the complicated life of being an expat. It’s the subject of a book to come, and she’s already been published as part of an anthology on the subject.
“I think for me, says Jennifer, “it goes back to how I ended up here - every time I have moved, I’ve entered somewhere as one person and left as another. All of those people are inside me, all of the time. I can easily blend into a group of Americans. I can do that in England, France, Canada, and here. When I am around people, I’m the foreigner within. And, in fact, all of those versions of me, who live inside me, all of them are looking at my experiences at same time with a very different perspective.”
This has helped her professionally as much as it’s motivated her creatively. “As a writer I navigate between cultural norms and understand how to write for different audiences. What succeeds in Britain is very different, for example, with what succeeds in America. I understand that.” For her, the art of writing is both creativity, but also psychology and sociology. It’s about knowing what buttons to push to have some react to her content, absorb it, and truly enjoy it.
With her first two Guidrr mobile-first experiences, (the second is about how to spend 48 hours in Lausanne – the Olympic town), Jennifer launches her own dedicated mobile travel guidance channel on the app, with plans to share experiences that families like hers can enjoy inside Switzerland and around the world.
In the works are family trips to Malta (where her own maternal family is from) and the UK (where her husband’s family is still based).
When talking about her personal brand, Jennifer gets reflective about what seventeen years on the road has taught her. “I’m a long-term traveler, and that’s what I understand and am known for in my community of writers, and friends.” Between writing for her own blog, ghost writing and sharing experiences on Guidrr, she’s also focused on her main project – to complete her own book about being an expat, a person who is fundamentally international.
We can’t wait to read it, Jennifer – and to see more of your experiences hit the app. Welcome to the Guidrr subscriber community!
Download Jennifer’s free, insider Lausanne and Morges Switzerland travels guides (note: links will open inside the app if you already have Guidrr’s iPhone app downloaded. Otherwise we’ll text you a link to follow to make the free download and open up directly to Jennifer’s beautiful step-by-step experiences in a mobile-first format. No more squinting to read a blog on a phone!).
Want to host a channel for your travel guidance on our app? Learn about how Guidrr’s platform supports busy travel writers and bloggers and their tourism partners seeking a way to go mobile-first with their destination guidance