This month marks three years since we moved to Doha for a two year assignment. When we left Sydney, 2 years seemed like an eternity, but here we are, 3 years later and it has gone in the blink of an eye. I always get a bit reflective on anniversaries, and this one is no exception. While I miss home & family, it’s been a wonderful experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We’ve met amazing people, made long-lasting friendships, travelled even more than I had hoped to varied locations and learned so much about ourselves and the world we live in.

Uprooting yourself is not easy and it does require some sacrifices. But the rewards are so worth it! If you ever get the opportunity to live and work overseas, don’t let fear or inertia hold you back. For us the timing was perfect when the offer was made, and we both knew it was the right thing for us. Having never lived overseas, we really had no clue what to expect, but we figured we could endure it for 2 years even if we weren’t happy. I have to admit leaving was a challenge – packing up the house, tying off loose ends, saying goodbyes – we pretty much fell onto the plane with a huge sigh of relief and a big question mark over the future.

Looking back now I am still amazed at how quickly we settled in to our new life in Doha, how warmly we were welcomed by new friends who were new here themselves not so long before. I have mastered driving in Doha traffic, and negotiating 3 lane roundabouts (you close your eyes and go, basically). I can get around without a map most of the time – although navigating here is challenging, because they keep moving the roads, literally. There’s so much construction in this very young city, you can go out and find the road you used the day before has been redirected or closed, and a new road is in its place. Of course Google maps is no use there either, so it can be fun sometimes. I finally know my way around the traditional souq (market) which is a tangle of narrow alleyways & winding streets. I am even getting acclimatised to the summer heat (but not the humidity!!).

Not knowing how long we would be staying (and that is still a big unknown) I felt the need to document our lives here – the fun and travel and outings, but also the ordinary things – our friends (who are far from ordinary, but you know what I mean), where we live, shop & play, the weather, what we eat, random sights we come across. I started a blog when we first arrived but it has been sadly neglected. What I have really enjoyed using instead of my blog is my Day2Day project. One photo each day with a short caption is very manageable, and I have tried most days to take a photo which says something about where we are, photos that I will look back on in years to come and be transported back to this season of our life. Some of the photos are really nice, some are just ordinary, but all of them tell a story.

There are photos of stunning locations in Venice, Florence & London, of a goat market in Oman and refugees in Jordan, of mangroves in Sri Lanka and mosaics in Cyprus. But there are also photos of street signs and rain on the window, of visits to the dentist and the eye doc, of lunches and clouds and vegetables and camels and traffic and flowers. I even included a few selfies, but not very many!

Using the Forever Day2Day Pre-designed Books has been exactly what I needed to make the project as doable as possible. I pretty much take all the photos on my phone, upload them directly to my Forever account, then every few days I download them directly from my Forever account into Artisan, add a caption and I’m done. Then I upload the completed page to my Forever account for safe-keeping, and for sharing. I have kept up to date all this year, and I just ordered my 2016 book in the 40% off Summer Santa sale. Posting my completed page each week to the pixels2Pages Facebook page keeps me accountable, but to be honest I’m enjoying it so much that I don’t think I need any reminders now. The most fun is looking back over the pages and reminiscing. Also settling arguments with my husband about who did what when!

If you are interested, here are links to my completed 2016 book, and the first half of 2017.



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14 Responses to Blog: Reflections

  1. Lisa Purrington says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your Day2Day books. I have wanted so much to get into the habit as I think the idea of revisiting them later would be so much fun, but I never seem to get very far along. Absolutely delightful! I am going to keep trying and see where it takes me. Thanks so much!

  2. says:

    Love, love, Love your book!! You’re inspiring me.
    One question, what font did you use on the cover? I love it.
    Thanks, Lisa

  3. Barbara says:

    Incredible books Shelley! Thank you so much for sharing them with us – I feel like I’ve taken a trip around the world! And just so you know I was really paying attention, if you care there is a small typo on 16-22 April first half of 2017. On day 19 the ‘t’ is missing at the end of ‘bought’. No matter how many times I proof I always find typos after I print. I figure that’s what makes my books truly personal! (And if we ever go to Doha, we are definitely not driving.)

    • Shelley says:

      Thanks Barbara – and thanks for the proofing. I haven’t yet printed a book without at least one mistake! Luckily that one hasn’t printed yet 🙂

  4. Ann Marie says:

    Wonderful blog Shelley. When I click on the links to view your book I get “error 404” can you tell me what that means?

  5. Linda DeLaughter says:

    I don’t know if I could EVER master a 3-lane roundabout! Oh my goodness! Thanks for sharing your daily life and travels with us! I will probably never see Doha or some of the beautiful places you have been, so I live vicariously through the lens of your camera! Love you bunches!

  6. fbailey says:

    Yes, I can only imagine what it takes to leave one’s comfort zone to move to a new country. Good for you! You are truly enriching your life with all of your new experiences. Moreover, when you are old and sitting in the rocking chair you can relive those times as you look through your albums. You will be glad that you took so many pictures and accompanied them with journaling because your memory might not be as good as it used to be. Enjoy!

  7. sistersunshine says:

    LOL, Shelley of all days to have our main site down for maintenance…it had to be the day you post links to a couple of your fabulous books… I’ll come back and enjoy them later this week. LOL *U* Kathleen

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