It’s very easy to feel lonely in Abu Dhabi – although we are surrounded by over 100 different nationalities roaming the city. Many of us come here for work, alone, clueless about anything that’s really going on and our potential to thrive in this city; and that’s when the homesickness kicks in.

Jo Brett has been a shining light to the community for many years, blogging about the amazing places and experiences this city has to offer. I discovered her blog about 4 years ago when she reviewed a new restaurant we had just launched. I instantly fell in love with her writing style, and the ability to capture truth and life in every experience as if she was telling a story. Fast forward a few years, and I am now lucky to call Jo my friend, who has been there for me through laughs and times of trial. She is one of the strongest women I have met, and I’m so happy to introduce her as our leading lady for September!

Quick facts:

  • Name: Jo Brett
  • Profession: Blogger/Freelance Writer
  • Favourite destination: Bali and New York
  • Horoscope sign: Sagittarius
  • Loves: Travel and Marmite
  • Hates: Snakes and fake people

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
I am an expat blogger and freelance writer that has resided in Abu Dhabi for nearly ten years. I’m a mum of three grown up children so have had my fair share of the busy ‘mum’ years. I originate from the UK, where my daughter is currently studying Law at university, and I escape back there every summer.

2. How do you handle difficult times in your life? 
I tend to take things as they come and deal with them as and when. I’m not a worrier as a rule and prefer to deal with any problems once they actually arise rather than speculate if, what and when things might happen. As an expat you can experience times of uncertainty, homesickness and even loneliness so you have to learn to manage your emotions and expectations.

3. What is your secret to achieving the right balance between your career, family, friends and doing what you really love?
I’m lucky enough to work from home and as my own boss I control what and when I want to do things, every day brings different opportunities as you never know what might pop up in your inbox. I love the freedom that has allowed me to create my own blog that has given me many fantastic experiences that I have been fortunate to share with my family and friends too. My children were my top priority for many years, they had active childhoods that kept me extremely busy, so now they are older and more independent I have indulged in creating and developing something that’s mine.

4. What are your hobbies?
I love to travel and have had the opportunity to explore many countries since living in the UAE, I’m looking forward to more exciting adventures later this year. On a regular basis I enjoy yoga and reading with some retail therapy thrown in for good measure.

5. What are your tips for happiness?
Care less about what people think, sometimes easily said than done!

6. Who is your role model or someone you look up to?
I don’t actually have a specific role model as such but I do admire any woman who has lost their mother at a young age and forged ahead to have a family of their own without the support of such an important confidant and support network.

7. What have been the most exciting milestones in your life?
Having my three children, embracing the opportunity to experience living abroad and of course, creating my blog.

8. If you could change one thing in the world right now, what would it be?
I think that preventative medical solutions rather than reactive healthcare are now a necessity, along with managing our own individual impact on the environment.

9. There are still a lot of cultures and societies who frown upon successful women. Why do you think that is, and how can it change?
We do still live in a male dominated world where traditionally women were/are seen as homemakers and primary childcare providers. There’s been a significant shift in that thinking in my lifetime and while we still have a long way to go, women are definitely more successful and respected in their own right as they deserve to be. I believe that your country of birth undeniably affects your outlook and opinion on a women’s role in society, their degree of independence along with opportunities, roles in society and hierarchy within family.

10. What advice can you offer for men and women, trying to balance a career, family and personal life?
In a family having a supportive partner is essential to keeping ‘all the balls’ in the air, play to each other’s strengths and work as team. Time management is also key, as you get older you realise what is actually important in life and using your time to make memories with the people you love becomes your highest priority.

Follow Jo’s adventures through her blog “An Expat Abroad” and social media accounts:

Disclaimer: Thank you Jo for being a part of this post and for filling my life with positivity and laughter!