This is my first in hopefully many posts looking at the lives of other bloggers around the world, sharing their stories and seeing how the current pandemic is affecting work and travel. Here, Nadia tells us about where she is from and why she made the decision to move to another continent, her experiences along the way and how blogging is helping in recent times.
Due to the majority of bloggers not being self employed, certain information cannot be shared about companies and other aspects of life, but we do what we can 🙂
Please enjoy, and thank you Nadia for your insight!
My name is Nadia, most people call me Nads. I’m a small town girl from South Africa and I’ve always been passionate about change and personal growth.
At the age of 25, after three years in an office, I set out for my first journey abroad as an Au Pair in Seattle, USA. It was a roller coaster ride and I went through all the motions: a new job, a new “family”, culture shock and financial struggle. On this same journey, my friend circle crossed borders, I developed an intense love for hiking and the outdoors and I learned to be strong on my own.
Seattle is all about rainbow flags and gender neutral restrooms where black lives matter, the future is female and the nipple is free. It was a liberating experience, to say the least!
After one year of living and working abroad, I grew so much as a person and I was eager to build on this. Instead of going back to an office job in South Africa, I applied for a job as Flight Attendant in the Middle East, where I’ve been based for the past year.
Seattle and the Middle East are very different destinations, so both were challenging to adjust to in different ways.
Life in a traditional Islamic country is very different culturally. Most restaurants have a men-only section, personal display of affection is forbidden in public and women should cover their shoulders and knees. A different world to the one I was raised in, yet easy to adjust to with a small mental shift. So far it’s helped me gain perspective, which is a bonus!
I’m not here all the time though – the flight attendant lifestyle is a far greater challenge! With no routine and permanent jet lag it’s sometimes difficult to maintain a healthy diet, work out and socialize. This also makes relationships tricky. And speaking of relationships, what I miss most about home is my family and friends – this will always be a challenge, as they can’t be replaced. Meeting new people every day from all over the world does make up for it though.
The strongest motivating factor is of course the layovers. It’s usually just a day or two, so I prefer long haul as this takes you to all the best places and gives you more time to explore! So far, my favorites are the places I’ve been to more than once like, Bali, Budapest, Prague and London. This is pure luck, as we don’t get to choose where we go.
On a second or third visit I make an effort to try and find something that I haven’t seen or done before. Because of limited time, I never cram too many things into one visit, so there’s always things to do next time. As much as I love the typical tourist stuff, I get the most value out of unexpected findings. I could walk from morning til noon and do absolutely nothing but take it all in. This is how I pick up on a city’s vibe – and to me that’s what a place is all about!
What’s also convenient about visiting the same destinations more than once is that you are more savvy with transport. Sometimes it takes as much as an hour to get from the hotel to city center, so it saves a lot of time if you’re familiar with the route and all the logistics that come with it.
PS: I’m terrible at this!
We don’t have trains/subways in South Africa so I’m usually a little out of sorts at train stations. Besides the fact I’ve been to London a dozen times, I find the public transport there pretty easy. Go to Germany or Hong Kong and it’s a complete different story! As a traveler, language is your best friend. From getting lost too many times, I learned that when you can’t speak the language, a confident smile and good judgement of strangers is your best friend – you can always ask for help!
From getting lost between train stations to being stuck in hotels, the effects of the pandemic hit the aviation industry slowly and then all at once. I was visiting my family at home for a few days in the beginning of March and we were excited to finalize their plans to come visit me in the Middle East at the end of March. Within that time half the world closed their borders, which instantly made travel impossible for most.
Reality hit me towards the end of March when I was walking through empty airports and arriving to quiet hotels.
But this was also when I had time to write again… on my last layover in London I started my blog. That was a month ago – I’ve been in my base city ever since.
We are not officially on lockdown. People work from home and everything except grocery stores, pharmacies and food delivery services are closed. Other than that we can still move freely, given we wear a mask and practice social distancing. This break is not ideal for many reasons, but personally I have found ways to do things I don’t have time for “in a day of the life as a flight attendant”. I read and write and do yoga and study teaching online. Best of all, thanks to WordPress, I still meet new people and make new friends from all over the world every day!
Thank you to Nadia for providing the first insight for my ‘Life in Lockdown’ series, aiming to provide a glimpse into the lives of people around the world during this pandemic.
All words are Nadia’s own and for more great stories, photo’s and travel experiences please visit her blog, Forevernads Abroad!
Featured photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash
‘Johannesburg‘ photo by Jacques Nel on Unsplash
‘Chihuly Glass & Garden‘ photo by Hannah Ray on Unsplash
‘Umbrella Man‘ photo by Anastasia Dulgier on Unsplash
‘Deserted Airport‘ photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
‘Friends overlooking the ocean‘ photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash
Other photos taken by Nadia herself