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Growing up in Saudi Arabia


My love for travelling began when I was a few weeks old and me and my family moved out to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. I was born here in the UK but my sister was actually born out there. We ended up living there till I was around 5 years old and I enjoyed my childhood immensely!

I thank my father for giving me such an interesting start to life as it has really set me apart from other people in terms of the culture that I have experienced and it’s what initially sparked my love for travel.

People always ask me if I remember much from living in Saudi and the truth is I seem to remember more about my time out there than I do about the following years in the UK! I think this is because, in part, the countries are like polar opposites so I was able to notice the cultural differences even at a young age.

We used to come back to the UK for holidays to see family but these trips weren’t very regular so my parents decided to film our life out there and me and my sister growing up, as I’m sure most parents do, and send them home for family to watch. Consequentially, this means that lots of my childhood is on record for eternity; the good, the bad and the ugly. Much to our embarrassment when they get brought out for guests to watch!

As for life over there, we lived in a compound with other expatriates and families from all over the world. It was a nice little community and we had a shop, a pool and a tennis court. On occasion, living in the compound could be a bit boring and because we had so much time on our hands we became pretty good at swimming. I even taught my mother how to dive down to 3 metres at the age of 3! Not only did living in Saudi spark my love for travel it sparked my passion for swimming too and it’s something that I continue to enjoy doing.

I clearly remember the culture shock of moving back to the UK and going into primary school. There seemed to be so many different social rules and I found that I had a lot more experience of different cultures than other children did at that age due to the fact that I had gone to an international school.

All in all it was an amazing experience and I would recommend any parent who has the opportunity to work abroad when their child is young to do so as it is a once in a lifetime experience!


Profile photo of Ellen Attwood

Welcome to my Travel blog: ExploreMore.Blog: @exploremoreblogI am a 19 year old Marketing student from the UK.I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled to over 30 countries so far, spanning 4 continents including Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa. I use my blog to look back at my own experiences and inform and inspire others to explore more!

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