Adios Arabian Peninsula, Hello European Adventure!
After three and a half years it’s time for us to bid farewell to our most recent home and set out on a new adventure. We’re excited, of course, but there is also a bit of bittersweet involved in this decision but I’m sure that will fade quickly (as some of it already has). So here is a little bit about the decision process and ultimately where we are headed next.
First, a bit of background. Four and a half years ago Shani was offered an opportunity to work in Brazil integrating a partner company into the one she worked for. Without a second thought we jumped at the opportunity, not knowing how any of it would work out. Long story short, it proved to my company that me working remote 100% of the time was possible and this set the stage for our next move to Saudi Arabia. You can read about some of our adventures in South America here.
The move to Saudi was not a decision we took lightly. In fact, it was one of the places I had vowed to never move to. As life is funny, we did move as it was such a unique opportunity for Shani and I. As the first female project manager for her company in Saudi Arabia she was working at Princess Nora University, the largest women only university in the world. It is quite the impressive facility, set up for 60,000 students! Our experience in Saudi Arabia exceeded all of our expectations and the time there is a treasured memory; our decision to go live there was definitely the right thing for us to do. You can read about some of our adventures in Saudi Arabia here.
And that brings us to the U.A.E. and our life in Abu Dhabi. After the Saudi contract expired we were pretty keen to stay in the region as it’s such a unique life experience and the financial ramifications can be very positive if you know how to save your pennies! We very much did enjoy our life in Abu Dhabi, first downtown and then on Saadiyat Island but the last year had Shani commuting back and forth to Dubai everyday and that really killed her work life balance. It’s a three hour round trip on top of a ten hour day! You can read about some of our adventures in U.A.E. here.
And so we began to plan. Inspired by our friends Sunny and Todd and the trip we took with them in their camper van we started to plot our journey to camper van life in Europe. You can read about the start of our trip with them here. And plan we did! Months and months of research and talking and planning and revising our plan led up to some very hectic weeks and a final 10 days in Dubai as we closed out our lives in the U.A.E.. We got the dog ready to export and took a red eye from Dubai to Frankfurt and our new lives on the road. (The whole airport experience probably deserves it’s own post but you can imagine how nuts it is to take a dog through immigration in Dubai and convince our little guy to stay in a tiny collapsible kennel as a carry on while we waited for our flight to board in one of the busiest airports in the world. Not known for being pet friendly, exactly.) A proper shout out to Michelle with Pet Taxis Dubai is in order as we had to Tetris all of the luggage and dog into her small SUV! She was awesome and if you need a ride give them a call.
Sebastian proved to be a real trooper and the perfect adventure dog for the whole journey, though he was quite excited to get out of his kennel once we landed in Frankfurt! We, of course, also had way too much stuff as we decided we really needed our SUPs and a ton of other ‘critical’ gear for this new lifestyle in Europe. We’ll see how much we add (or ditch) to our kit as we move forward with our plans.
And what are the plans you might ask? Well here’s what we are up to now. We are scouring Germany and France looking for the right RV for us. This is going to take some time it seems as automatic transmission is a deal breaker and they aren’t that popular here. We’ve had a road trip from Frankfurt to Austria looking at RV dealers and we probably have several more in our future! We’re also in love with the Alps and Bavaria, such amazing scenery and I doubt we’ll get tired of this region very soon. Hopefully as the vacation season comes to an end more RVs will hit the market and we can begin our proper European adventure! Until then, it’s rental cars and train travel, but there are worse ways to get around!