TN89: The Shell Ladies Project, how to start small and leave a global legacy!

shell ladies project Tandem Nomads 89

We all at some point might ask ourselves these questions: what is my legacy? What is my purpose and what am I set to achieve in my life? What is my vision for this world and how can I contribute to it?

The Shell Ladies Project

In this episode, I share an inspiring story that represents the magic of starting small and dreaming big!

It also illustrates what I have been often sharing since I first launched Tandem Nomads.  I strongly believe that globalization would have never happened without the contribution of the families and expat spouses who made it possible for companies to expand globally for decades!



This is the story of a group of expat spouses, often called “the Shell wives”, for whom the mission of preserving and sharing global nomads’ stories and memories mattered at the highest level.  They wanted to recognize the contributions and worth of expatriate families.  Certain issues that come with a lifetime on the move were common to many expatriates, such as leaving friends and family, schooling, medical care, learning new languages, adjusting to new cultures, dual careers and much more – a rich mosaic of life centered around an increasingly interconnected global community.

“What we are chronicling are the roots of globalization because our families are the people who made it possible.” – Judy Moody-Stuart

The Shell Ladies Project was led under the guidance of Judy Moody-Stuart, who was later joined by Glenda Lewin and Dewey White.  What started as a simple idea of collecting expat stories and memories in a book become a full-fledged archive center for expatriates and researchers who study migration and expat life.  In fact, today the Expatriate Archive Centre collects and preserves the life stories of expatriates worldwide for future research. They are a unique, non-profit, independent archive based in the Netherlands, with a global outreach.

Interview with Sarah Bringhurst Familia

Sarah Bringhurst Familia, PR manager of the Expatriate Archive Center, tells us the story of the Shell Ladies Project and how these women managed to leave this amazing legacy for future generations.  You will also get to know Sarah’s fascinating personal journey and how the Expat Archive Center has a bigger meaning to her than just being her workplace.  You will see how her search for a place she could call ‘home’ has led her to an astonishing journey abroad.  While traveling the world, Sarah has done everything from starting an export manufacturing company to being a homeschooling stay-at-home mom to working full-time in marketing.

Today, on top of her work at the Expat Archive Center, she serves on the editorial board of, a nonprofit digital magazine and podcast that explores migration and homecoming via the literary, visual, and performing arts.  Sarah also blogs about her international adventures at in search of a dream to call home.

Episode Highlights

In this episode, you will discover

  • What is the Shell Ladies project
  • How the project got funded by the Shell Company
  • How the project turned into an independent archive center
  • The actions, skills, and events that made these ladies’ small project turn into a much bigger vision
  • The mission of the archive center
  • How the archiving process works and what can be collected
  • How you can benefit or contribute from the archive expat center

Book Recommendations

Find EAC and Sarah Online

Other episodes you might enjoy

Have you visited or contributed to the Expat Archive Centre?  Tell us all about it in the comments below.