Monthly Archives

October 2015

Bali, Lifestyle

HOW I QUIT MY FULL-TIME JOB AND MOVED TO BALI

October 29, 2015

I always wanted to travel the world. It was all I ever spoke about when I was younger and the only thing I knew I wanted to do once I had finished University.

I thought that moving to Dubai to be an air stewardess was perfect for me but it didn’t satisfy the hunger I had for adventure and real experiences.

The job only allowed a mere snapshot (twenty-four hours maximum layover time) of what a destination had to offer and if I’m honest I spent the majority of my layovers in the hotel room sleeping or ordering room-service because I was so exhausted and sleep was far more appealing than venturing out to explore the place I was so lucky to be in – as much as this pained me.

After one year of flying and living in a beautiful city I had made the decision to email my manager and resign from my position. I wanted more from my life and didn’t want to stay in a job that was not making me happy. Me and my boyfriend packed up our lives (again) and bought a one-way ticket out of Dubai straight over to South East Asia.

So here I am (or was) in Bali, Indonesia and I have been here for four months now and already have Thailand booked as my next stop. The “island life” is different to the hustle and bustle of the city which I’m used to. Everything is slower and more relaxed. I wake up when I want, go to the beach every weekend and get to explore at a pace which suits me (and on a scooter). There’s no more layover time-limits.

How do I earn a living you’re probably thinking? Well my boyfriend has always been a big fan of the online working idea and made it work pretty well for himself when he was in Dubai so I have jumped on board too.

However it isn’t an easy way of life even though many “digital nomads” seem to suggest it is – I don’t know, maybe they know something I don’t. But so far it’s been a roller coaster.

I try to earn a steady income through a variety of things like freelance writing or transcribing, web design and also do stock trading from time to time – just anything that will at least cover my living costs such as rent, food and drink. I have had days where I am so full of frustration I could just cry because maintaining a consistent income is hard and to go from a well paying job in Dubai to earning barely anything is a shock to the system.

Luckily, the cost of living out here is so low that I’m not under too much pressure and I suppose this is the good thing about relocating to Asia. If you want to read about the cost of living in Bali take a look here.

I don’t for one second regret my decision to leave my job. It’s been an amazing experience so far to be able to work on things that I’m actually passionate about and have an interest in (like blogging). I am determined to find a way to make it work, but if it doesn’t then at least I tried and I will just have to figure out another way of travelling the world… we will see how it goes.

Dubai, Travel, UAE

URBAN LEGENDS OF DUBAI: WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE

October 28, 2015

There are so many things that people used to ask or say to me about Dubai that just boggled my mind! So here are the most common myths, urban legends or… lies to put to bed once and for all.

“Everyone in Dubai is rich or will be rich”

Like anywhere in the world there are the rich and there are the poor. Dubai is no different.

This is a city that seems to lure expats from all around the world with the promise that they will have high paying jobs, a Ferrari for their daily commute and their weekends will be spent on yachts bathing in a hot tub full of champagne, really?

Most of the people I ever met were on commission only jobs stressed up to their eyeballs about where and when the next deal was coming in, and on top of that they would paying an extortionate rental amount for their apartments, and even worse paying 8 to 10 pounds for a beer… C’mon!

Dubai is one of the most expensive cities in the world and unless you’re an air stewardess where 50% discounts are thrown at you by literally every restaurant, bar and shop sustaining a good lifestyle out there can be tough.

“You can’t drink alcohol in Dubai or you’ll be arrested”

This is utterly, utterly untrue. Everyone in Dubai drinks and is slightly intoxicated the majority of the time. This city thrives off tourism and the expat community which without easily accessible alcohol the whole city would fall into chaos.

I mean the whole idea and reason of the famous Dubai “Brunch” is to take advantage of the UNLIMITED alcohol. Ladies Night equals FREE alcohol for girls who without fail would be found in Mahiki a couple of hours later slut-dropping in the middle of the dance floor.

It is true however, you cannot walk into your local supermarket and grab a bottle of vino that’s on offer for a fiver like you would do in Tesco as this is just not allowed in Dubai. But head out to any bar, club or restaurant in the evening (normally located inside a hotel or on top of a skyscraper) and you will find enough vodka, wine or whiskey to drink yourself silly the entire night and every night after that.

You will not be arrested or asked to show a valid drinking license (like, who even has one of those?!), unless of course you do start causing a hideous scene, but even then it is highly unlikely the police will be called. So party on people.

“You can’t wear shorts, skirts, bikinis, dresses…”

It really depends on where exactly you are in Dubai that the “dress code” applies and it is kind of down to simple common sense.

The malls do have signs stating that shoulders and knees should be covered however, I have seen many people wandering around in dresses and strap tops – I mean, if there were fashion police they’d be running around like headless chickens. Just pack a kimono in your bag and be on your way.

You most definitely can wear a bikini on the beach – you couldn’t manage it in 36 degree heat! Just make sure when you walk off the beach to throw something on to cover up your cleavage and your bum.

It is highly recommended you wear dresses or skirts or anything you want when you go out for a night on the town. Dress to the nines out there because it is a fiercely stylish city full of beautiful people.

“Women are treated as a second class”

This is a common misrepresentation of Dubai that never fails to come up in conversation when people ask what it was like living there. I never felt that because I was a woman I was treated as inferior or as a second class, in fact it was entirely the opposite.

You just have to jump on the metro to see there is a whole section dedicated for women ONLY. It is designed for their comfort so they are not squished up against the window where unfortunately this is the norm for the rest of the carriage.

If you asked any female living in Dubai they will also tell you that they feel safe enough to walk around on their own in the middle of the night. It is one of the safest cities in the world with a very low crime rate and casually dressed police officers (CID’s as they call them) apparently everywhere. I’m definitely not saying bad things don’t happen because they do, I’m just saying you’re far less likely to have anything bad happen to you in Dubai, than you are in comparison to other places in the world.

Also you have to remember that Dubai doesn’t enforce a lot of things on women that other neighbouring Muslim or Arab countries do for example, the Abaya (black gown) and Shayla (head covering) is not mandatory for Emirati women to wear but merely a national custom, and you will meet some who do not wear them at all. More so, women are allowed to drive and this just goes to show how much more forward thinking Dubai is.

Dubai, Lifestyle

HOW I MOVED TO DUBAI AND GOT PAID TO TRAVEL THE WORLD

October 27, 2015

I dreaded the end of my time at University. The thought of having to actually go out into the world and get a 9-5 (if I could even get one) was one I avoided at all times. I loved the “uni-life bubble” and really didn’t see myself as one of those people who followed down that whole “get educated and get an office job” path. So instead I went ahead and applied for a job as an air stewardess for an airline based in the Middle-East.

The three stage interview was grueling. So many people applied (for some this was their second or third attempt) and the final few are narrowed down by a simple process of elimination – if you didn’t look the part or say what they wanted to hear you were unsuccessful but kindly encouraged to try again in six months.

I managed to make it the whole way first time, thankfully and got the call that I had been offered the job about a month before I sat my final law exams. I was absolutely thrilled and packed up my life into suitcases a week after that, said my goodbyes and off I went to Dubai.

However, adjusting to my new life was very hard and I didn’t fully settle down for about six months. I really hated the accommodation I was placed in which was not what I expected at all. The two month training program was tough (the 4am starts did not help) and once you finished that and got your licenses to fly it got even tougher.

I did get to see so many places all over the world and went to countries, and cities I never thought I’d ever go to. I can’t count or even name all the places I went to. This was the best part of the job as an air stewardess working for the biggest airline in the world (that and pay-day).

Venice

SriLanka

But there were many down sides to the job that many people wouldn’t understand unless they actually did it. Sickness I would say caused me the most torment at the time because flying at such high altitudes, going to work at any given hour of the day and having your normal diet thrown out of the window took its toll.

I suffered with everything from stomach upsets, sinus infections, insomnia, and migraine headaches. The worst thing that I have to mention was the severe acne. It was devastating going from fairly blemish free skin to having spots, lumps and redness literally all over my face. This was a side effect that affected many of the crew I flew with.

I won’t go into detail too much about the ins and outs of the job itself that I felt so dissatisfied with because working for this airline is what each individual makes of it. Some of those who join love it along with the opportunities it brings and others just don’t click with it that way (it just so happens the majority are the latter).

On the positive side I loved my life in Dubai. I am a city girl and Dubai had me in awe all the time. After about 4 months I had managed to move out of my company provided accommodation and move into a penthouse, duplex apartment in the Marina.

Dubai1

The apartment looked out over the Marina on the one side and on the other you had a beach view with the Palm Jumeirah out on the horizon, it was perfect.

Dubai4 Dubai2Dubai5 Dubai3

By this time my now boyfriend had also moved over to Dubai and I had myself a nice group of girl friends. We would always be out at beach clubs, shopping at the malls, dining out or heading out to enjoy some of the best nightlife in the world. I was in my element because no matter what night of the week you went out it was expected you dress up as much as possible – heels, new outfit, eyelashes, everything.

Expat life was luxurious, but with these high expectations and standards Dubai I believe drew in and still does draw in a crowd which unfortunately lets people “think” that they are superior or upper class and get away with it.

The city is pretentious. I like my nice things, I like to look good, and I like to go to the best places but I come from a very humble background and I started miss the genuineness from back home. I found most nights I would wonder why I was even there.

Please do not get me wrong, my experience of living in Dubai and getting to travel the world as an air stewardess was amazing. I made some of my happiest memories there and made long-term friends who will be a part of my life forever and I will undoubtedly return as often as I can to relive what I loved most about the city – the bright lights, fast cars, world-class nightlife.

However, I was as happy to leave my job and Dubai life as I was to start the whole journey in the first place.

One year was enough and on to Asia I went.

Bars, Dubai, Travel, UAE

MY TOP PICKS: COCKTAIL BARS IN DUBAI

October 26, 2015

Whether you want a romantic date night or a sophisticated girls night Dubai is the city that can most definitely accommodate your needs.

“Shall we go out for a drink?” was a phrase that always lit up my face and deciding where to go was never an easy task as the variety of bars to choose from was extensive. However, after a year of living there I slowly gathered my list of favourites which I will share with you.

Siddharta Lounge:

This terrace bar oozes elegance and when my long-time gal pal brought me here for the first time I knew it would become a regular. All white everything is the theme and you arrive via a lift from the outside which it opens up onto a luxurious pool bar but tucked away round the back I would say is where the party really is. Their list of cocktails are exotic and I have to say I think this is the best place to go for Shisha, like ever.

TIP: When ordering Shisha ask for it to be brought with a “cooler” it’s a game changer.

Siddharta1

Buddha Bar:

Across the way from my beloved Siddharta is the famous and ever popular Buddha Bar. This low-lit, seductive venue is always heaving with expats on the weekend and the bar men really know how to make your cocktail look far too good to drink. Interestingly though, you will be drinking your fruity cocktail in the presence of a super large Buddhist monk statue which makes for a good photo but other than that it’s quite off putting, but I love this bar nonetheless.

BuddhaBar

Bar 360 by Jumeirah Beach Hotel:

Heading out of the Marina and on towards the Burj Al Arab is Bar 360. As the name suggests this bar offers a 360 view of the Dubai skyline (it is sitting on its own little private island) and has front row seats of the 7 star hotel. It is luxurious indeed and draws in a lively crowd on the weekend. Also I have to mention that you will arrive in style via the ever circulating golf buggies which were always appreciated when wearing heels, bonus!

bar360

Karma Cafe at the Souk Al Bahar:

Another of my favourites was located in downtown Dubai within the Souk Al Bahar which hosts this little gem of a lounge-bar. Karma Kafe has the perfect combination of modern decor (furniture is bright red), dim-lights and prime position overlooking the Dubai Fountains making it one the most romantic venues in the city.

TIP: Book in advance and grab a table on the out-door terrace where the fountains will keep you entertained all night and of course provide you with that enviable insta-pic or video.

KarmaKafe

Q43:

I remember this being one of the first bars I went to when I first arrived in the desert and it became the “go-to” place if we all couldn’t decide where to go. Located on the 43rd floor of the Media One Hotel it boasts floor to ceiling windows from which you get killer views of the Marina and The Palm. I would describe this venue as more of an upscale pub as it has the right balance between party vibes and bar-drinking vibes.

TIP: Ladies Night on a Tuesday is the most popular night especially for “pre-drinks” perhaps this has something to do with there being three free drinks maybe. They also do a Gentlemen’s Night on a Wednesday.

Q43

Barasti Beach Bar:

This beach front venue is the ultimate, if not only choice if you want to have cool, casual drinks on a late afternoon for sunset, a session which will generally escalate well on into the evening, and then into the rest of the night, and then the early morning hours… Ooops. It is for sure one of the busiest venues with its large wooden-decked bar that takes on a more laid back mood which is what the expat crowd like about it. So go in your flip-flops or go in your heels it doesn’t matter at Barasti at all.

TIP: Between 4pm and 7pm they do discounted selected drinks.

BarastiBar