Two years ago, tomorrow, I flew out of Qatar for the last time as a Qatar resident. Four years ago, I had been in Qatar for two years. As you can imagine, my life has changed a lot since I left. Most of it for the good and some of it for the tragic. However, I am still glad that I went when I did. Here is how my life has changed and what I have learned about myself in the process.
When I left Qatar, I planned to travel for a long time. There was no set plan in terms of timings or even countries. Although a few destinations were planned. I was in London for the first month. Even though I was totally unprepared for a London summer, I enjoyed myself immensely. I forgot how much I like a big walkable city with good public transportation. If you didn’t know, I used to live in New York City. London had museums and wonderful places to eat. I had sublet a room in an apartment, so I wasn’t in a hostel or a hotel. The only thing was I was a bit lonely as it is hard to make friends in such a large city, the same is true in New York City. By the time my month was up, I was ready to go. I have been back to London though as it has become one of my favorite places.
My next stop was Montenegro. This was a much shorter trip of only five days. I think I went way too short on this trip as I did with a few other stops on this journey. My next stop was a month in Greece! The only thing was the island was too small, and I was sometimes a bit bored because I had done most of the things. More short trips continued and over the past two years, I have learned that for the most part that trips of 3 weeks to a month are the perfect length for me.
In 2017, I fell in love with a wonderful man while I was in Greece. Things moved quickly, and we had discussed moving in together. After Thanksgiving weekend, his house caught on fire, and he died from carbon monoxide poisoning. I was devastated. My life stood still for a long time, and I wasn’t ready to work. I did some school, which kept me busy. It was an intensive course, and I knew that work wasn’t going to be so intense. I wasn’t sure I could concentrate on work fully. Interviewing was even a challenge. For so many reasons, I decided to delay working again, and I return to Greece for several months. This was either going to break me or heal me. Luckily, it was a healing trip, and while I still miss him daily, I can function now.
Going back to Greece for the third time in three years, reignited the urge to want to live there full-time. I knew that I needed to find a remote job so that I could move there. I applied and applied, and then I slowly came to the realization that I didn’t want to work for someone for set hours. I wanted to work when I wanted and travel when I wanted. Never in my life have I ever wanted to work for myself. But I have been doing it for about six months now, and I love it. Even better, I have had lots of referrals and have not had to do a lot of hustling for clients. I have really been lucky and have great friends.
What it has also taught me is that while I love working for myself, I also enjoy meeting new people. When I was in Antigua, I met some lovely people I met in one hostel I was staying in, and we are still chatting away planning to meet up soon. After I returned to my parent’s house, I worked from their kitchen table until my nieces got out of school for the summer. Then I joined a coworking space. I have loved being there. My days are more productive, I get dressed every day, and I have been meeting new people. I would love to join a coworking space in Greece, but the island I am planning on living on does not have one. So there may be some adjustment when I moved. More on the moving to Greece process later.
Returning to Qatar
Last November, after I left Greece, I decided to visit Qatar. It is such a short flight, and I had plenty of Qatar Airways miles left to fly there. Unfortunately, I got a horrible cold right when I arrived so I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked. However, I did get to see many people and spent two days at my old job. What I did realize very quickly is that I was unhappy for the last six months that I lived there.
Interestingly, I didn’t see that when I was there, and it took me returning to realize that. Qatar will always hold a special place in my heart, and I miss my friends and coworkers. Although many of them have also moved on.
If one thing is constant with me is that I love change. No matter what comes, I am sure that I will learn something new and grow from it even though I am now “middle-aged.” I look forward to the next two years and beyond.
Has your life changed a lot in the last few years? What have you learned from it?