About Miss Footloose


I hail from the Netherlands and grew up eating lots of Gouda cheese, riding a bike to school, and not wearing wooden shoes. Having adventurous Dutch genes, I married an American Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, East Africa, in a bizarre humorous 10-minute ceremony that fortunately has stuck so far.

My man is a development economist and I follow him around the world and watch him toil running projects that assist business and agricultural enterprises in developing countries. I have cooked, shopped, mothered, traveled and written stories in Africa, Asia, Europe, the US and the Middle East.

Writing as Karen van der Zee I’ve dreamed up over 30 romance novels published by Harlequin Books.  My non-fiction stories have appeared in the  The Washington Post, in the travel-humor story collection I Should Have Just Stayed Home published by RDR Books and  in The Female Nomad and Friends by Rita Golden Gelman published by Three Rivers Press.  My tales of (mis)adventure have also appeared in various e-zines.

I’m an expat writer not living in paradise (like Peter Mayle or Frances Mayes). I do not drink wine from my own grapes or tend my own olive groves. I have, however, visited my butcher’s bedroom in Palestine, eaten fertility sausage in Kenya, and almost landed in prison in Uganda.

After a couple of years in Moldova and then the US, I’ve now moved to the South of France, where I’m enjoying friendly people, good food and delicious wine. Conquering the mysteries of the French language will take some time….



{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary October 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I’m glad to have found you through your nice comment on my blog. I’m pleased to add you to my own blogroll!

Best regards,
Mary of Expat Abroad in Morocco


Ariana November 19, 2010 at 3:41 am

Hi there! I enjoyed your pictures of touring your own town, and loved the stories of people stopping to tell you all about it. Thank you for stopping by my blog and sharing the link– I have enjoyed browsing the rest of your blog as well!


Glocal Girl December 9, 2010 at 9:21 am

Greetings from your home country! I just came across your blog and I very much enjoy your colorful and entertaining posts! I’m an American girl, moved to Spain to study, expecting to return home to the sunny West Coast, but have now found myself in snowy Amsterdam due to the unexpected graces of love.

I also keep an expat blog, about my foreign/awkward/humorous experiences as a California girl just trying to fit in Europe 🙂



Rosanne Kaufmann December 31, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I’m Laura’s mother and we met in Accra in 1999. I was told you had used me in one of your tales (about Laura’s wedding) and wonder what became of it. Nice to find your blog!


Sine Thieme February 16, 2011 at 9:27 am

Hi “Miss Footloose”,

Thank you for all your insightful comments on my blog, not sure why I haven’t checked out yours before. It is wonderful! I enjoy your writing and the topics you choose. I can relate to that so much, but then again every other expat can. I’ll be sure to follow it from now on!

Sine (Joburg Expat)


Claire June 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Stumbled through here after commenting on Rambles with Reese and had to comment, because it’s not everyday I find someone that actually lived in WV! I was born and raised there, and after college and adventures near and far, I am back for good! It’s my home…..and I’m proud 😉 Where did you live?
And you can find my own tales at http://www.travelfunnytravellight.blogspot.com


Claire June 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I stumbled through here after commenting on Rambles with Reese and had to comment here-I’ve never actually encountered a fellow blogger who lived in WV! I was born and raised here and after college and adventures near and far, I am back. It’s my home and I love it. Where did you live while in WV?
(sorry if this comment posted twice-it didn’t appear to take the first time!)


missfootloose June 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Hi Claire,

West Virginia is a beautiful state, for sure. We lived not far from Charles Town for a few years, about 1.5 hours from DC. Glad you enjoy WV and happy travels now and then.


Claire June 15, 2011 at 4:21 am

Well I just so happen to live not far from Charles Town, about 1.5 hours from DC. Shepherdstown area!


Sarah | Move Me Abroad June 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I found you from the A List Bloggers! I am looking at moving to Romania soon so I am keen to read about your experiences in the area.


Karen July 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I love your Dutch name – mine is similar as all four grandparents are off the boat from the Netherlands! Plus, I have an ag economist in the family. She speaks Portuguese too so I always thought she’d end up in an exotic place, so far, not yet. I’m enjoying your blog and congrats on Expat Blog of the Year 2011!


Nancy August 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm

What fun to discover your blog! I’m looking forward to reading more about your zany adventures around the globe ~


Clare August 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Hi there – stumbled across your blog today, searching for ex pat stories. Going to love catching up on your past exploits, you’ve had some great adventures!

I’m a Brit living in Bosnia just now, having lived in the Cayman Islands previously. This lifestyle is addictive, I am always wondering where out next home will be. We have a young daughter too and she adapts amazingly well. Her Bosnian puts me to shame too 🙂

Best, Clare


Christy October 24, 2011 at 12:58 am

Wow, not everyone can say they almost got arrested in Uganda. You must have lots of stories!


Jennifer Avventura November 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm

It’s nice to meet other expat writers, your blog is fantastic and I will be back often to learn more about your adventures. Thank you for taking the time to comment and read my expat adventures.
Jennifer Avventura


Johanna December 13, 2011 at 5:57 am

Hi, I stumbled on your blog courtesy of Annabel Candy’s list. Love what you are writing about, and my oh my so prolific. I am also a trailing spouse to a geologist. I’m sure we probably have a few expat tales in common. Keep up the good work. 🙂


missfootloose December 13, 2011 at 8:53 am

Hi Johanna! I read you’ve lived in 11 countries! I’d love to hear your stories 😉


Johanna December 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

Thanks! I’m just beginning to write them up under a category called “Memoir”. Stumbling a bit at the moment wondering how close to the bone (so to speak) it’s ok to go in a blog. Erring on caution. Any advice? Loving your tales of expat life by the way 🙂


missfootloose December 13, 2011 at 9:43 am

I can tell you what I do, but I don’t know if that is “advice” so to speak. My expat life was and is in developing countries (except for the USA). I decided to write about the positive and the fun stuff rather than about the negative things that find plenty of press already and make it seem that there is nothing but famine, genocide and AIDS in Africa and other poor places.

My stories are true, but they are lighthearted tales and I don’t deal with heavy subjects and personal traumas or crises because they don’t fit my writing purpose and I have no need to share them with the world. I write to entertain. Period.

I’m not considering my blog a memoir, just a collection of stories.

Hope this helps you to think about how you want to deal with your subject material. Good luck!


Johanna December 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

Thank you again. Your words are indeed ones of wisdom and I think I shall pin them up above my computer as I write. To entertain via a collection of lighthearted stories shall be my mantra.


missfootloose December 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I’ll look forward to reading them! Have fun writing!


Karien January 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

Geweldige site, vermaak me erg. We zijn wel verwante geesten denk ik zo. Ik groeide op in Midden en Verre Oosten maar mijn iets minder avontuurlijke echtgenoot kreeg ik voorlopig niet verder gesleept dan Engeland (maar daar wordt aan gewerkt…)
Ik kom nog vaak langs voor inspiratie, dat beloof ik!


missfootloose January 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Karien, wat gezellig even een Nederlands bericht te krijgen! Ja, ik heb heel wat verhalen, maar jij ook natuurlijk. Ik kom zo even langs bij je blog voor een virtual kopje koffie!


Meg@SomethingSwedish May 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Reading through a few of your posts and love them all! What an exciting life full of adventure. Different countries sure to offer different experiences. Moving to Sweden has had its ups and downs and things to adjust to but the culture is not so different that I am constantly in awe and meeting interesting people and doing outlanding (to me) things. I love reading about other expat blogs from other countries to compare myself to what they experience away from home! Love the blog- you write wonderfully.


missfootloose June 1, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thanks for your compliments! My first expat experience was as a foreign student in the US, and that was very interesting but not too challenging because I spoke enough English and like Sweden, the culture is not as drastically different as say, African, or Indonesian. I love reading blogs about other places as well. It’s an interesting world.


Nicole Webb December 23, 2012 at 5:26 am

Great to come across your blog Miss Footloose. Having just started my own expat blog from Hong Kong, I’m really inspired by all of the wonderful stories out there from expat women. Good to know we are not alone! Look forward to reading about your journey past and present. Cheers, Nicole


Sharon LeF August 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I have been to St. Basil’s Cathedral and I’m happy to find your blog via Sonia Marsh. I wish you smooth sailing and oceans of blessings wherever your travels take you.


missfootloose August 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Thanks, Sharon. I like hearing people enjoy my tales! Keep traveling!


Circles in the Sand October 11, 2013 at 4:56 am

So glad to have discovered your great blog!


Gillian November 28, 2014 at 5:22 am

I saw that my blogger friend Sami follows your blog and boy am I glad I followed that link. I love the stories of your adventures. My life began in South Africa, and I now live in Australia with about a million countries in between, mostly travelled on our own boat. I look forward to reading more of your stories…


missfootloose November 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I’d love to know your adventures too! I’ve never traveled long distances on boats. I’m sure you see the world (and life) differently that way!


Milko Adjarov January 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm

I’m delighted I came across your site and was wondering if you or any of your readers can give me some advice about recruitment in Moldova and France. I’m working for a company that is looking to expand into Chisinau and Paris and was wondering if anyone had any advice on the best places to advertise locally. We are looking for English speaking businessmanagers so any advice would be greatly appreciated. We’ve advertised on Linkedin and Monster.com but haven’t had much luck attracting the right applicants.


missfootloose January 15, 2015 at 11:40 am

I no longer live in Moldova and have no useful contacts. I suggest you contact the British and American embassies, and/or the local chamber of commerce.


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