Hi, I’m Kristen.


Welcome! I’m the creator of The Shift UAE.

I’m a 30-something, Australian expat living in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

My husband is an airline pilot and together we have three kids – a 7 year old and 4 year old twins. (Excuse me while I go and search for my sanity…)

I have been an expat since 2001 and consider the UAE as my home (for now). As the UAE continues on its trajectory of rapid change, we’re presented with plenty of challenges and opportunities – mostly in the meeting and letting go of friends so quickly, but also in terms of managing our personal finances and keeping ourselves grounded in a very consumer-centric society.

We have established a wonderful life in Abu Dhabi and have a phenomenal community of friends-like-family who have made our life rich and full. We are also not-so-typical in that both my parents and my husband’s family live within driving distance from us. We are incredibly blessed.

I first moved to the UAE as a 19 year old university student to live with my parents and get an overseas experience. It seems the expat bug sunk its teeth in pretty deep. I met my husband in Dubai (a Papua New Guinean expat) and after we had completed our studies in Australia and done our time in the jungles of PNG, we headed back to the sandpit to establish our careers.

We didn’t have the typical lucrative expat experience as D.I.N.K.s (“Double Income No Kids”) from the outset as my husband was a hard working cadet on a very modest stipend for some time. But for a good 12 month period we had an exceptional joint income and no debt to speak of. We took advantage of the opportunities to travel, eat out, and be a little more frivolous with our spending than we had been able to afford at the beginning of our marriage.

After establishing a career in Communications and Strategy Development, I decided to stay at home with our then newborn son, sacrificing 50% of our joint income for the sake of a stable family life. Fast forward seven years, twins (!) and a move from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, and we are finding news ways to be more responsible with our money while still being able to be generous in sharing what we have with others.

I am passionate about my Christian faith, hospitality (not the fancy, catalogue-worthy type but the real, honest, meet-people-where-they’re-at type),  leading my children to grow into awesome people, responsible and sustainable living – and I also love a great bargain!

At The Shift UAE, I’m looking forward to sharing and discussing how we can live out this privilege of being in the UAE in such a way that we are changed for the better for having been given this opportunity.

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