I rarely used public transportation.  In the US, I drove cars 99% of my time.  On occasion, I road metro. So selling my car required a plan.  In the past few years I would dream of having a bike to move around Dubai. That dream would quickly shatter when I thought of the lack of respect some insane car drivers had for bikes and, oh yes, THE WEATHER in the summer months!

A year ago, a metro stop opened within two steps of my building. That happened the same time age began to show on my 7 year old car.  The car needed the garage often; I had the feeling I spent more time catering to the car than it catered for me.   I rationalized my decision:

  • my children are older and independent,
  • metro is across the street,
  • I need to walk more often,
  • many people live in Dubai without cars,
  • if I cannot stand the transition, I can always buy a car
  • I will have a lower carbon footprint and lessen my impact on the environment

The ad went on, and within a few weeks, I had someone asking for it at a reasonable price.  That was three months ago. Here’s how my life has changed:

  • I plan my trips and outings more carefully,
  • I spend less time in parking lots searching for an empty space, or searching for my car!
  • no more standing in lines at gas stations waiting to fill up and pay for SALIK
  • I read books on metro and in cabs
  • I enjoy zooming past heavy traffic in the morning and late afternoons
  • I became more efficient in grocery shopping. One trip a week, with a list!
  • during good weather, I walked from metro stations to my destination, enjoying the scenery and clearing my thoughts.
  • I no longer spend 30 minutes searching for my car keys,
  • I realized how many people ride metro and enjoy the occasional mental analysis of where they come from and what their life stories are.. I feel more connected to society than I had ever been.

From a cost perspective, I save on maintenance and SALIK fees.  I spend the equivalent of  the gas fees on taxis.

I am a realist.. I haven’t ruled out going back to a car, should circumstances dictate it.  However, for the time being, I’m enjoying a new found sense of freedom.


I am holding on to tapes I had since the 1980s! As time passes by they become collectors’ items and I feel an attachment to them. So, I ignored the tapes and focused on a newer collection of CDs. Accumulating those began in the 1990s.  Out of 300+ CDs, 44 are staying; and only until I can figure out a way to transfer them to my laptop.

Since the early 90’s, I’ve spent countless hours organizing and sorting my CD collection by alphabetical order, genre and CD cover color.  I’ve dusted them, bought CD racks to match the room they were displayed in, and worried about keeping them scratch proof.   I probably spent more time caring for them than listening to them.

With the advent of internet radio and music sites, I spend time appreciating music rather than cleaning CDs.  I spent an evening with a dear friend conducting a final sort into three categories: move to iTunes and give away, give away, hold on to for a bit longer.  The process took 3 hours, of listening, reminiscing and saying goodbye to my CD collection.

A few ended up at our office, on offer for any visitor.  If you happen to drop by, feel free to scan and take one you like.


This is where my TV stood for the past 9 years. A few months ago, I gave it away. My mother and aunt were coming to visit for a few weeks; both are delightful women who’s conversations are enlightening and entertaining. Both women keep their TVs on 24×7; the volume set to what they consider “background noise” and what I consider “airport announcement” level. The thought of having a TV running for two weeks confirmed my decision. It had to go. The first person I saw that day was the doorman. “Do you want a TV?” I asked. A few minutes later he brought a cart and hauled it out of the house.

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with TV. I loved my TV; I spent endless hours watching Jacques Cousteau’s undersea expeditions as a child, grew up on MTV and relaxed to images of Bali on the Travel Channel after coming home from a long day at work. l hated my TV; because I watched diving, dancing and traveling instead of actually diving, dancing and traveling!

I’m by no means a couch-potato! I spent an average of 30 minutes of TV per day in my life time. So the decision to get rid of the TV wasn’t a difficult one. I gained 1260 hours in the next chapter of my life. Today, the time I spent watching TV I’m spending reading books, lounging at the pool or running on the treadmill. Plus with internet and youTube, who needs a Tube at home?

DC to Dubai

9 years ago, I moved to the UAE from a six bedroom house in the US to a 2 bedroom flat in Dubai.  Before my “Stuff” arrived, I lived in the flat with two mattresses, a plant pot, a coffee pot, two mugs, a few toiletries, and one suitcase of clothing items. I survived like this for three weeks.

When my “Stuff” arrived, the movers stacked in 90 boxes and all the furniture items according to the color-coded labels I had meticulously placed on the boxes during the month-long packing process.

Eying my new kitchen that filled to the rim with boxes it inherited from a kitchen three times its size, I realized most of the boxes had no home! So I spent the next few days applying new labels to boxes I knew I could live without and placed them in storage.

The arrival of my “stuff” kept me busy for a few months.  Unpacking, sorting, arranging furniture and cleaning took up a lot of time.  By the time I finished, a storage and two hallways were filled to the rim with boxes I didn’t need immediately.

A few months passed and I came across a book I bought in the US “Simplify your life” by Elaine St. James  The book advised readers to get rid of unused stuff, and take a vow to buy nothing for a year.  Walking past my cluttered hallways, I realized I had lived without the content of those boxes for nearly a year.  “If I can live for a year without this stuff, do I need it?”.. the answer was “NO, I DON’T!”, and so, the purging began.  I had a goal, to empty the storage and hallways in a year.

The process took far less time, and felt much easier than I imagined.  Once I had taken the decision to let go, the boxes found their new owners. People and opportunities came out of nowhere to give away the items.  The more I gave away, the better I felt about the empty space it left behind in my house.

A lot was still left.  And while my vow to refrain from new purchases didn’t go beyond the first year, the practice of buying only the absolute necessities remained.