Katie: Arabian Tales and Other Amazing Adventures
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Abu Dhabi, etc.
I am an American expat freelance writer and amateur photographer who lived in Dubai for three years before moving to Abu Dhabi in April 2013. My interests include travel, culture, fashion, food and wine. I left a 25 year career in public relations in South Florida, USA to join my husband in Dubai when he took a position there. I began freelance travel writing in 2011 after settling in Dubai and have enjoyed exploring this amazing region of the world. During our time in Dubai we have traveled to Jordan, Turkey, India, Oman and have enjoyed our many road trips throughout the UAE.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
When we moved to Dubai I was sending home emails accounts of our experiences and was encouraged by friends to start the blog. After blogging for two months I had over 5,000 views from all over the world. I decided then to professionalize my blog and start a travel writing career. By June 2013, my blog had over 160,000 views from 162 countries and currently averages around 9,000 views per month.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
My favorite one is the Dubai fish market story. It was one of the first blogs I wrote - bit long for a blog but everything I said is true. Quite an experience. Friendly Fleecing at the Dubai Fish Market
Tell us about the ways your new life in Abu Dhabi differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
The move from Dubai to Abu Dhabi was not too hard. I had already adjusted to living in a Muslim country so we were just changing cities. Abu Dhabi is a tad slower than Dubai but much easier to drive in. I relate them as Abu Dhabi is the older more serious sister and Dubai is the sassy younger sister. But they are both very lovable.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Abu Dhabi? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I would have started looking for our new apartment about two months before the move date. I was told a month was sufficient but that was too short a time. The housing market in Abu Dhabi is tight – if I had started earlier I could have put my name on a waiting list for several buildings we loved but who had no room when we were looking.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Here is a blog posting about our move. Surviving our Move from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Abu Dhabi?
- Housing – if you want to be close to the action find housing on Abu Dhabi Island, Maryah Island or Al Reem Island. If you want a place out of the fray of a busy city try some of the outlying developments.
- Get connected - There are many expat groups in Abu Dhabi that will help you get connected with people who enjoy doing the same things as you do. Don’t be hesitant in trying out a few. Google “Expat Groups in Abu Dhabi” for some listings.
- Arabic – Start practicing right away. Get a tape and put it in your car to practice while you are driving. Nothing endears you to Emiratis than to greet them in Arabic.
How is the expat community in Abu Dhabi? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Expats in Abu Dhabi are very friendly and there are so many groups that I am certain everyone can find one with like-minded people.
How would you summarize your expat life in Abu Dhabi in a single, catchy sentence?
Living as an expat in Abu Dhabi is a laugh a minute, an adventure each day and a treasured memory for a lifetime.