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50 stories - Izabela Shopova

25 July 2022 Events and Discussions


Writer and traveler

My name is Izabela Shopova and I was born in Varna in 1971 - almost the same age as the Bulgarian-Australian diplomatic relations :)

In 2002, my husband, my daughter and I moved to New Zealand, where we lived mostly on the North Island, overcoming culture shock and adaptation in the company of our Bulgarian friends whom we met in our wanderings. After 7 years, repeated relocations and professional retraining, having learned English and finally adopted the local customs, we made the only (un)reasonable decision - to leave the green rainy Aotearoa and move again. This time to Australia.

So, in 2008, we settled in the state capital of Queensland, Brisbane. Sunny, tropical, blue skied, international and cosmopolitan, the city instantly stole our hearts. I have lived here for 14 years and although I have traveled a lot and set foot on almost every other continent, I still believe that Brisbane is the best kept secret on the planet, one of the best cities to live in the world.

Along with the trials of emigrant life, the clashes with different cultural backgrounds, the struggle with the mind-boggling peculiarities of English and the madness of motherhood, I began to write and publish stories from our lives and travels that I published over the years and which before I realised it turned me into a Bulgarian writer. And as my language skills improved, I also started publishing in English.

My books about New Zealand, Australia and Antarctica, full of funny stories from immigrant life and interesting local characters, have become bestsellers, and they have made me something of a guru of tourism Down Under. Hundreds of people have written to me that they have found the courage and inspiration to visit Australia and New Zealand (and Antarctica) after reading what I have shared in my books, and that they even use them as a guide to the places they visit. This is my greatest reward as a writer - the satisfaction of helping someone achieve a cherished dream and get to know the world (and Australia).

An interesting aspect of immigrant life is that besides many Bulgarians in Australia, I came to know a lot of Australians in Bulgaria. This is my greatest treasure gained overseas - the opportunity to experience different cultures and communicate with people around the world.

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