Our expat life began in Thailand when my wife and I decided that we wanted to travel more. Living in well-connected destinations like Thailand and now in Qatar has allowed us to explore many countries while having a stable income. Not only did it open up so many travel opportunities, but it also really allowed us to get to know these countries deeply.
However, moving overseas came with many challenges, and having a kid in that process added another layer of things to consider.
Still, our experiences as a family were incredibly rich as each of us learnt about and adapted to a different culture and way of life.
Our Jetsetting Lifestyle
Travelling brought my wife and me together in the first place, so it was no wonder it continued to make up an essential part of our lives now that we were a family.
We are both originally from the Philippines—Cebu and Iligan—and we found the years we spent working and living in Thailand delightful.
We took advantage of cheap travel and weekend deals for flights from Thailand to Cambodia and other neighbouring countries like Laos and enjoyed exploring them together. We would also fly home at least once a year to the Philippines.
Our child eventually came along while we were living in Thailand, and we thought our travel days would soon be gone, but if anything, it had spurred us on to travel more! And thus, our journey in the State of Qatar began.
A Learning Curve
We moved to Qatar—our home away from home—in 2014, with our son and cat. Relocating to Qatar for work was surprisingly a smooth transition, and we quickly learnt that foreigners make up most of the population. And although Arabic was the official language, we could get by speaking English as it is commonly used in business settings.
Yet, working and living in Qatar was not without its challenges, and after a few years, we decided that we were heading back to the Philippines. But the salary packages were attractive, and tax-free living was tempting. We had fallen in love with the expat lifestyle and have now been here for many more years than we originally planned.
Our experiences in Qatar have led us to discover new foods, peoples, languages, cultures, places to visit, attitudes, and just living at a non-frantic pace.
Sometimes, the sweltering mid-summer temperatures make staying here frustrating. However, like many others, we now use the hottest months as an opportunity to get away for a while.
Local Adventures and Takeaways
For the rest of the months, we enjoy an outdoor lifestyle surrounded by friends and other families in parks, gardens, beaches, and other recreational, cultural, and historical places.
Over time, we started to explore locally and grew to appreciate the subtle beauty of the desert and places like the Inland Sea.
We spent our days and weekends marvelling at the natural and manmade wonders that Qatar offers. The Corniche, Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif, The Pearl-Qatar, museums, malls, metro stations, and stadiums are just the tip of the iceberg!
Moreover, living in Qatar opened our eyes to the beauty of cultural diversity. We also gained insight into how Islam shapes the country’s values and how strongly they’re preserved across the board.
With everything said, there are still so many things about this country we are yet to discover, and we can’t wait to learn all about them. We know that there’s so much more in store for us in our expat journey—and probably for everyone else living here—and we are excited to keep sharing our story as it unfolds.