Yikes. 3 years is a long time to disappear. If you previously read my blog…“hi again. I’m still very much alive.” Hopefully, you follow me on the gram where I post fairly frequently. If you’re reading my blog for the first time “welcome.” I’ll reintroduce myself at the end of this post.
So where did we leave off? My last post found me still adjusting to the many changes that 2020 brought. Feels like old news now but truth be told I was a broken mess of a person for a long while. My Saudi break up and moving back to Canada during Covid were major life adjustments for me. I actually still have a hard time reading back the last post I wrote because it was so riddled with pain. For those of you who are going through major life upsets right now just know that little by little it does get easier and then one day you come out on the other side a stronger (and maybe slightly more jaded) version of yourself. Life is full of lessons and I fully learned this one.
So what have I been up to since I left the desert and glam ex-pat life of Saudi Arabia? I took a few months off pondering my options and licking my wounds while living in my moms basement. Yeah. It was a low point. When all your life plans fall apart at once it can be hella overwhelming to move forward, because then quite literally anything could be an option. I decided that I was really tired of working in my current role as a nurse and I found a hospital that was offering training opportunities to retrain into Emergency Room nursing. In hind sight deciding to become a critical care nurse during a pandemic might seem like a wild choice, but I was just trying to put one foot in front of the other. So I moved to a teeny tiny town in one of the most beautiful places in British Columbia and started to build a life. I’d never lived anywhere rural before so it was a bit of an adjustment. The community I live in is only accessible by ferry (boat) or plane. Turns out it was just what my soul and heart needed.
If you read my previous post you know that in addition to my relationship falling apart I also had to leave our rescue doggo as there was no option of getting him to Canada. Airlines weren’t flying animals and my ex was keen to keep him. Then through a wonderful series of events Moshen was reunited with me. He’s been here almost a year and a half after more than 20 months apart. He is pure joy. I’m giving him the very best life I can. I think every dog should be adopted by a 40 something woman who wanted kids. He wants for nothing (except for me to have a stay at home job). He and I are currently living in a stunning house in the woods that we rent from awesome landlords, and it’s hard to ever imagine leaving here. We are surrounded by woods on all sides, we get the odd bear and deer wandering through our yard. I cook, and garden and we have wood fires in the winter. It’s not a life I ever really saw for myself and yet I’ve just leaned into it. It feels good right now. Who knew there was a domestic goddess hiding inside of a girl who prior to Covid lived on boxed mac and cheese?!
The past couple years have been humbling. Learning new stuff in your 40’s is not the same as it was 10 years ago. My brain doesn’t retain things as well as it used to. Emergency nurses are really amazing humans. The knowledge base for this area of nursing is immense. It’s challenging and really rewarding. I’ve never as a nurse experienced teamwork like I do working in the ER. We’re all in it together, we all have each others backs.
While I’m not jetting off the Europe on the monthly like I was while living in Saudi, I’ve still been traveling. I’ve spend some time on Vancouver Island catching up with friends whom I met in Saudi. One of my kiwi sidekicks from Saudi visited me in the fall and we did a road trip (with Moshen) to Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off the west coast near Alaska. Later in the fall I returned to Spain to visit the southern cities of Granada, Cordoba and Seville. One of these days I’ll tell you about those tales.
My feet have been getting itchy and I’ve felt an adventure brewing for a while. This fall I’ll be returning to the Middle East. I’m flying to Lahore, Pakistan, then heading to Dubai for a couple nights before flying into Baghdad. I’m going on a tour of Iraq that starts in Baghdad and ends in Erbil in Kurdistan. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE. As with any travel to this region I know that my experiences will be vastly different than what western media tells us. For those of you reading this and yelling “is Iraq safe?” I’ll say what I always say. Safety is relative. Many people would think nothing of going to the US (who recently topped 400 mass shootings this year). I’m a smart traveler, who knows the region and speaks some of the language. I always have a back-up plan, and should the security situation change between now and then I’ll change plans. I lived in Saudi during Arab Spring, and when the Canadian Ambassador was expelled from Saudi Arabia, and while missiles were being shot into Riyadh on the regular. So why am I going to Iraq? I’m excited to visit the ancient city of Babylon, see the Iraqi marches, be surrounded by the call to prayer (which is a really magical experience), wander through souks, experience the culture in Kurdistan, and meet the locals. In anticipation of the trip I’ve been reading a lot about the past and present history and brushing up on what I call my “party trick Arabic.” Can’t wait to share that trip with ya’ll
As promised for those of you who are new here. I’m Kristine. I’m an adventurer and wanderer at heart. I’m a story teller and photo documentarian. Many of my happiest memories are being out there in the world detached and roaming. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited over 80 countries, at least 40 of them solo. I’ve walked across Spain. My claim to fame is that if there is an auto rickshaw (tuk tuk) within 50km I will drive it. I’ve driven one in a race 2500km across India, in Dhaka rush hour traffic and on Africa’s busiest highway in Djibouti (as well as in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Portugal). Soon to add Pakistan and Iraq to that list. I have a passion for the Middle East. It has always fascinated me and it is a region that holds a good chunk of my heart. I’m very comfortable being in uncomfortable situations. I’m a huge advocate of solo travel for women and hope to encourage more women to stop waiting on their friends and just buy the damn ticket already.
More posts soon…