Heather Duncan is founder of the popular blog The Duncan Adventures. Her blog has gone from being a way to process her experiences and share them with others, to a site that is widely read in the Sultanate. Her writing can also be found in Oman’s weekly Y magazine.
Heather lives in Muscat with her husband, son and numerous pets, but expat life came rather unexpectedly to her.
‘Moving abroad was never part of my life plan,’ Heather says. ‘Life in Scotland was all I ever knew and I was satisfied with that right up until the moment I met my future husband. I had a decent job, a routine, family close by and money of my own. Sometimes people come into your life and make you see the world in a new way. Fast forward four years and my life has flipped upside down in the most incredible way. I have found a way to make it work and I love it. Life is exciting, fun and unpredictable, everything that my old life wasn’t,’ she concludes.
Exciting and fun as life might be today; moving overseas, especially for the first time, is rarely smooth sailing.
‘My residence in Oman depends on my husband’s work in an oil company and as his official “plus one” I am not permitted to work. This was completely alien to me when I first arrived. Not having that routine in life, creative outlets and money of my own was a huge adjustment,’ says Heather.
‘That first year in Oman,’ she continues, ‘my husband was working late into the night and most weekends. I didn’t see much of him as he took on his new role. This created a situation that I hadn’t envisaged. I think this is where some expat partners stumble. It’s sink or swim. You can let it get you down, or you can adapt to your surroundings and make the most of it. I threw myself into different social situations, tried new sports and finally found my passions in life,’ she states.
The Duncan Adventures was created.
‘My main therapy in those first months of isolation was starting my own blog page to write down my thoughts and feelings about my new life,’ recalls Heather. ‘This also helped my creative side shine, as I began to plan new content to write in the blog and experiment with photography.’
Reflecting on her work and why it is important to her, Heather states that ‘for me, being classed as an “expat wife” brings a negative stigma of laziness and boredom. This will always be something that motivates me to keep pushing to be a trailblazer. Just because I am living abroad doesn’t mean that my life has lost its purpose. If anything, I have more purpose than I’ve ever had and I feel a responsibility to show other expat partners that yes, you may be on your spouse’s visa, but you can still follow your passions, wake up with a purpose and fall asleep with satisfaction.’
Heather attributes some of her success to her husband, who has always been supportive of her development.
‘Although my husband can’t always be present for birthdays, social functions and on the nights when you just need someone to talk to,’ she says, ‘he is always supportive of my dreams which keeps me focused on what is next. He encourages me to get out and experience everything I can. Perhaps he is just a wise man that understands that a happy wife means a happy life.’
‘If I was to give any advice to other people looking to embark on a scary new journey I would tell them what my husband told me all those years ago, she concludes. “What is the worst that can happen? You don’t like it and you move home.” Moving overseas is an opportunity for a fresh start and new experiences, so go out there and give it a try. You never know, it might just be the best decision you have ever made.’
Photo: Heather Duncan