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(I know it’s cringey but I had too…) 


701 days spent in the Middle East, 7 days out so far.

My god… what an experience! 

I certainly will remember the last two years well into my old Grandma days.  


Was it all sunshine & rainbows, absolutely not. 

Would I go again, you couldn’t pay me enough 🤪 . 

Do I regret my decision to move to the sandbox, hard no. 


I understand the pandemmy changed everything, but I truly don’t believe that my experience would have been much different if COVID never existed. Sometimes certain cities just aren’t right for you & that was definitely the case with me. Personally, the city continually tried to beat me down & I worked my ass off & pushed back to try & make it work #(refuses to give up). I mentally called it quits SO many times before finally leaving a week ago. Happily, once I landed at Heathrow I immediately knew that it was beyond doubt the right decision for me to make. 


Dubai gave me a lot of chances to grow & change, but it also took a lot away from me.

I got to be a part of a hotel pre-open which was one of my favourite experiences ever, it’s a wild feeling to see it go from empty, wet paint filled rooms to guests finally arriving to stay. 20/10 would do another pre-open in a heartbeat. 

On the flip side, I was living in a gated community 30 minutes outside of the city, which was tough. The rules were very set in stone & it felt like a life regression. I had beautiful housemates but it was still overall isolating due to the location & there was nothing to do in the area which meant at least an hour commute each way. 


I met some amazing, beautiful people from all around the world who I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. I also met some absolute king meanies, not that that is Dubai’s fault I just trusted the wrong people, haha. 

I did also have a really bad case of culture shock, maybe that’s not exactly the right phrase, but I quite literally had to dumb down my Australian accent in order to get by & communicate. There are only so many situations when you can be misunderstood without wanting to lose your mind. Even though I was still struggling to communicate at the airport as I was going through to leave.  


I got to see things that feature in every travel brochure like the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab & the Dubai Marina. They are definitely all beautiful & I always made sure to try & view them through the eyes of a tourist so they didn’t inevitably lose their sparkle. The charm of ‘old Dubai’ & Al Fahidi eventually stole my heart, such beauty & history. 

I also got to spend time in other Emirates, my favourite being the Jebel Jais at RAK & Khor Fakkan 🐪 

I went on insane adventures with my bestie that I absolutely would never have done like holding falcons & tiny kestrels, riding camels, sunset champagne in the desert, breakfast with gazelles for company, hiking wadi’s & fainting in the heat, walking 20 million miles at the expo & dune bashing out to the prettiest lookout which will forever form core memories. 


Employment for me was a huge challenge. I have never switched jobs so many times but sometimes that’s just how it goes. One thing I wish I knew before I moved is just what the work culture is like over in Dubai. The hours are long, minimum 10.5, however, there are opportunities for quickly being promoted & obviously no taxes. Just make sure that your salary accounts for the type of lifestyle you would like to have over there, mine did not for most of the time I spent over there.  


Let's take a sec to address the weather. Everyone thinks 365 days of Summer is the absolute dream & being a sun bunny I would usually agree, but once it hits 40*C (104*F) outside your views change dramatically 🤣 . Also it does get quite windy in Winter so whilst it’s no comparison to London - I am writing this whilst wearing two sweaters ❄️ Dubai also can get “cold”, especially at night so don’t say you didn’t get a warning!


Okay I am going to get controversial for a second, as a woman in Dubai, absolutely not a fan. But before you come for me on socials, let me explain… 

I always felt very safe in the city or to walk around late at night, but I also felt very uncomfy & on show. Like, I felt as if I should be with someone in certain areas just so that there was less negative attention focused on me. It was particularly hard to deal with because I have not lived in countries previously where the silent staring is common. It definitely enraged me to be walking through the shops or the metro being looked at with x-ray goggles & more than once I had to bite my tongue to not tell them off. I am not saying that will be everyone’s experience but I wanted to share mine.  


Looking back in hindsight, Dubai is an aesthetically beautiful city. The mixture of mosques, high rise buildings, rooftop bars & crystal blue waters are visually stunning. They have a very rich culture & heritage that is just below the surface & governs the way everything runs. My advice is to do lots of research beforehand, find a good group of people to make memories with & get a job that gives you a nice chunk of money to play around with. I have made unforgettable memories & friends but I am equally very happy to be stepping away from Dubai now & excited for the next adventure in London. 


Them’s my thoughts ❤️

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