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Four years ago, Karen Tindall and her family moved to Bentonville from the UK. We recently interviewed her about her experience moving to and living in Northwest Arkansas.

OFFICIAL JOB TITLE: Relocation Coach, Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and a Certified Whole Person Life Coach (WPCC)
CITY: Bentonville, Arkansas
When did you move to NW Arkansas? What was that experience like?

We moved to Bentonville in 2016 from the UK. The experience has been the best thing we have done as a family. It has shown us that we are a very close and strong family unit of 4. The experience is ongoing; we learn something new every day. The opportunities and experiences that we have had are so varied, and we try to make the most of our location.

What were some of the challenges that you and your family faced adjusting to the area?

For me, I had to adjust to the loss of my professional identity. I could no longer work as a dentist due to restrictions around transferring my qualifications, and also the type of visa I was on did not allow an accompanying spouse to work. I went from being defined by my profession to being defined by my relationships with other people such as ‘Josh’s wife’ or ‘the girls’ mum’.

I love learning about differences in culture and Bentonville was certainly a change from the UK. Everything is different and we have all relished the challenge of adapting to the American way of life. One thing I’ve learned is that English and American people all speak the same language—we just speak it in different ways.

I had always worked in my adult life and, after arriving here, I became a full-time mum, something I’d always dreamt of being. It felt great to have a really tidy house—dinner was always ready and we had more relaxing evenings as I had got all the jobs done during the day. As much as I loved this lifestyle, after a while I looked for something to keep me busy during the day. I decided to challenge myself with some further learning and training as a certified professional life and relocation coach. I have a great deal of experience and knowledge that enables me to support other accompanying partners and spouses through their relocation moves.

Missing family and friends back home still has to be the hardest part of living here. I FaceTime everyday with my family and, without that luxury, a relocation move would be very hard for me.

I love learning about differences in culture and Bentonville was certainly a change from the UK. Everything is different and we have all relished the challenge of adapting to the American way of life. One thing I’ve learned is that English and American people all speak the same language—we just speak it in different ways.

I had always worked in my adult life and, after arriving here, I became a full-time mum, something I’d always dreamt of being. It felt great to have a really tidy house—dinner was always ready and we had more relaxing evenings as I had got all the jobs done during the day. As much as I loved this lifestyle, after a while I looked for something to keep me busy during the day. I decided to challenge myself with some further learning and training as a certified professional life and relocation coach. I have a great deal of experience and knowledge that enables me to support other accompanying partners and spouses through their relocation moves.

Missing family and friends back home still has to be the hardest part of living here. I FaceTime everyday with my family and, without that luxury, a relocation move would be very hard for me.

What was your perception of the region prior to moving here?

When my husband first came to Bentonville with work 12 years ago, I had to google where it was! The only thing I knew about Arkansas was that Bill Clinton was from there! Before I moved here my perception of Northwest Arkansas was that it was a sleepy little town— how wrong was I! I was intrigued by the surprising reaction we got from Americans when they asked us where we were moving to. Their perceptions of this place were not at all accurate. The immigration officer told us that Arkansas was full of cows and not much else!

What about NW Arkansas won you and your family over?

We love the small-town feel that Bentonville offers combined with the incredible world-class facilities and opportunities that it presents. It is truly a unique place that cannot be found anywhere else.

We lived on a farm in England and now, even though we live in a neighbourhood, we still have been able to find the space, peace, and quiet that we enjoyed being in at the countryside back home.

The commute to work is so much shorter for my husband. There are so many great neighbourhoods within a short drive from the Walmart Home Office. We have longer evenings together, which mean regular, quality family time during the week. We have time to eat together, take the dog for a walk on the trails, or meet friends downtown.

We love sunshine, and the number of sunny days here regardless of the season makes me feel happy instantly!

What do your extended family and friends think about you living here?

Whilst my family and friends would rather have us close by, we are lucky that they are very supportive of our decision to live in Northwest Arkansas. We are fortunate that we have had many visits from them over the time we have been here. Everyone is so pleasantly surprised by the lovely town we live in and how much beautiful scenery there is on our doorstep. We can tell everyone how lovely this place is, but once they can see it with their own eyes they understand why we like it so much and they like it, too!

The commute to work is so much shorter for my husband. There are so many great neighbourhoods within a short drive from the Walmart Home Office. We have longer evenings together, which mean regular, quality family time during the week. We have time to eat together, take the dog for a walk on the trails, or meet friends downtown.

We love sunshine, and the number of sunny days here regardless of the season makes me feel happy instantly!

What do your extended family and friends think about you living here?

Whilst my family and friends would rather have us close by, we are lucky that they are very supportive of our decision to live in Northwest Arkansas. We are fortunate that we have had many visits from them over the time we have been here. Everyone is so pleasantly surprised by the lovely town we live in and how much beautiful scenery there is on our doorstep. We can tell everyone how lovely this place is, but once they can see it with their own eyes they understand why we like it so much and they like it, too!

What are some of your favorite things about the region?

We love trying out all the restaurants new and old that are around Bentonville. One of our favourite things to do is to spend time at the 8th Street Market. We have tacos at YeYo’s, an indulgent dessert at Markham and Fitz Chocolate, followed by a drink and live music at Bike Rack Brewing.

We love being able to pick our own fruit! Especially fruit that wouldn’t grow in England. Our favourites are blueberries from The Berry Farm in Bentonville and peach-picking at Taylors Orchard in Gentry.

Crystal Bridges is one of my favourite places to spend time in, whether it be meeting friends for dog walks on the nearby trails, having a members’ behind-the-scenes tour of the journey of an artwork, or listening to incredible world-class speakers at the Distinguished Lecture series. The art is incredible, too. My favourite exhibition has to be the Chihuly one from summer 2017. I’m so delighted that Crystal Bridges invested in 4 of his pieces for their collection.

We love the Thaden School. Once you see this school and have a tour, you’ll understand why all the students and parents sing its praises. An incredibly talented faculty teaches students from 6th through 12th grade to be thinkers, doers, and explorers. The strong sense of community within the school and links with the local community make this a pretty special place.

The breadth of cultural diversity in Bentonville means that it’s possible to meet people from all over the world here. The community is very welcoming of everyone. People are happy to stop and talk and that creates the friendly feel that the town is known for.

How would you describe NW Arkansas to someone thinking about relocating here?

Moving to a new location is all about adventure, experience, and learning. Northwest Arkansas will definitely provide all the above and more! It is a fantastic place to raise a family in. There are incredible opportunities that some big cities cannot even provide. Not many towns have their own international film festival!

We love the Thaden School. Once you see this school and have a tour, you’ll understand why all the students and parents sing its praises. An incredibly talented faculty teaches students from 6th through 12th grade to be thinkers, doers, and explorers. The strong sense of community within the school and links with the local community make this a pretty special place.

The breadth of cultural diversity in Bentonville means that it’s possible to meet people from all over the world here. The community is very welcoming of everyone. People are happy to stop and talk and that creates the friendly feel that the town is known for.

How would you describe NW Arkansas to someone thinking about relocating here?

Moving to a new location is all about adventure, experience, and learning. Northwest Arkansas will definitely provide all the above and more! It is a fantastic place to raise a family in. There are incredible opportunities that some big cities cannot even provide. Not many towns have their own international film festival!

Approximately 50% of relocation moves fail, and of these failed moves 70% are not successful because the accompanying spouse or partner is unhappy

Karen Tindall

Relocating across the country or an ocean isn’t easy and straightforward. I would encourage people to make the most of a relocation move anywhere but especially of Northwest Arkansas. For us, this has been the best decision we have made. People may not know very much about this area or they may have inaccurate opinions of it, but I would recommend you look beyond them and come to Northwest Arkansas to discover how great this place really is.

Relocation needs to work for the whole family for it to be a success. Each family member needs to be considered. Approximately 50% of relocation moves fail, and of these failed moves 70% are not successful because the accompanying spouse or partner is unhappy. The average cost of a failed relocation for a business is approximately $68,000—not to mention the unhappy families and impacts that this has on further career prospects.

Being a relocation coach, I am passionate about ensuring that relocation moves are a success for both individual families and the businesses that are bringing people in. My coaching focuses on the accompanying partner. With such a high degree of failure based on the accompanying spouse not being happy, I provide a place where these people can talk through all their questions, concerns, and feelings about the move. I provide support before, during, and after a move so families can settle in as quickly and successfully as possible.

I am excited to be able to offer a brand new opportunity in Northwest Arkansas. Starting on Tuesday, August 20th, I am offering 8 people with recently arrived accompanying partners or spouses to be part of my first group coaching course for free! I hope to create a feeling of community and friendship for those who are going through similar things. There will be an opportunity for group discussion and self-discovery work as well as coaching for the participants.

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Karen’s BIO

Karen Tindall is a relocation coach, certified professional coach (CPC), and a certified Whole Person life coach (WPCC).

Karen is dedicated to supporting those people who accompany their partners or spouses on a job move. Karen has first-hand experience on being the ‘accompanying spouse”. Relocations create seemingly endless lists of things to do and decisions to make. Karen helps these people to simplify their thoughts so they can get really clear on their priorities. By helping them create a more meaningful life with purpose and direction, her clients gain clarity, confidence, and a sense of calm. She offers individual 1:1 packages and group sessions either in person or online.

Karen writes her own blog and contributes to articles from her expert viewpoint as a Women’s Happiness Coach. She has been featured in articles on MindBodyGreen, Brit+Co, and Elite Daily.

Karen is from England and now lives in Bentonville, Northwest Arkansas, USA.

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