Exactly six years ago today, I headed to Aberdeen Airport to commence my journey to the UAE.  So far it’s been quite an adventure


The weather – I just love warmth.  Not necessarily sun – you will never catch me lying sunbathing but that may have a lot to do with my inability to keep still – these days I start moaning about the cold if the mercury hits 20C.

My husband’s shifts – 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off mean we have traveled extensively throughout the UAE and Oman and beyond.

The cars – never in a million years could I have imagined that we would be running his and hers Nissan Patrols, certainly it wouldn’t be happening if we lived in Scotland!

The country – clean, tidy, safe.

The outdoor life – True, it is unbelievably hot in the summer, but even then it’s worth sneaking out at 5am to get a few hours driving in the dunes before the mercury hits 40C about 10am.  Similarly, end of day drives are possible year round with the bonus of a stunning sunset to photograph.  In the winter there is nothing better than driving in Liwa and camping overnight with a great big campfire to keep warm!

The people – I’ve met and made friends from all over the world, thanks to the UAE being a truly eclectic, tolerant society.  Some western expats I know rarely mix with people outwith their culture but I think they are missing out on one of the best parts of expat life.

New skills

Desert driving – passionate about it, no hobby has ever consumed me in this way before.

Patience – I’ve had to learn to be patient.  Well appear patient.  All of the time.  Perhaps some of the time.  Ok, occasionally.

Networking – I’ve honed my existing “work the room” skills to encompass bbq circles and any other social gathering where I find interesting people.  In other words, almost anywhere.  The UAE is 90% expat and each individual has their own interesting  background.

The downside is that I miss my mum, sister and my boys but it’s easy to keep in touch these days with the interweb – and it’s always nice to go back to Scotland for a visit!

So here’s hoping for another 6, or even 16!  If the business I am currently working is successful then they will be carrying me out of here in a box – hopefully not until sometime in 2063!Close Encounters of the Camel Kind

  1. Hazel. says:

    Happy Aniversary. Here’s to many more. Thank you for making our 2 days in the desert such a wonderful experience. Our oasis off-road sticker has gone with our motorhome as we’ve just changed it for another model. We’d love to have another one if poss. Hazel & Don. ( Andrew & Donna’s Mum and Dad. ).

    • Hi Hazel! It was great to have you along on the camping trip and yes I’ll be delighted to get another sticker to you for your new motorhome!

  2. Andrew says:

    It goes fast doesn’t it? I’ve been here for what is almost 18 years now, having lived here almost continuously since 1993. It’s a little frightening when I realise it’s over half my life!

  3. Happy Anniversary. I read your Highlights with much envy: I lived in Qatar for two years, and one of my regrets is that I didn’t do any desert driving. I was often the passenger, but really wish I had taken my courage (or the steering wheel) in both hands and done some dune driving myself.

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