life as a creative

Creative Cities: Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Dubai was one of the cities that I initially thought about moving to when thinking of where next to take my creative career. It is the perfect city for those creatives that are financially minded and also want to have a really good time.

The beauty of Dubai is that it’s a place that dreams of developing itself further all the time so is always open to new ideas. Ideas that wouldn’t work anywhere else will work in Dubai and you’ll be paid handsomely for it.


People there are eager to network and over the past few years, they’ve introduced a freelancer visa that’s connected to workspaces that pretty much provide everything that a person wanting to pursue a Freelance/ startup career could want. Like I’ve mentioned many times many countries are acknowledging freelancers (except Canada, what’s wrong with you Canada I thought we were cool).

Creatives in Dubai tend to be very proactive and fun-loving and you won’t feel bad for expressing your need to make money from your artform because almost any foreigner that’s in Dubai went there to make bank. You’ll live a high end life with an income that is not taxed at all and if you stay within the law you can still have a good time. Also, Dubai is so safe according to most people that they feel comfortable walking by themselves at night.

The cons though is that Dubai has a very fake feeling about it. Being a new city it hasn’t developed a strong cultural and rich historical background which can make it feel soulless. The people there are always leaving so it can suck to constantly be getting new friends🙆🏾‍♀️. And while you’ll be earning a lot of money you’ll also be paying high prices for things. Many people get caught up in the glitz and glam forgetting that they initially went there with a plan. Living in Dubai for many people isn’t feasible but they know that it’ll open up numerous doors for them in the beginning so usually stay for a year or two.

Abu Dhabi

Also, it’s not LGBT-friendly so if you’re one of those out and proud people you’ll have to keep your relationship very very low-key. And they don’t yet recognize trans-people. One of the reasons that the crime is so low is because there are harsh punishments for breaking the law and God has mercy on you if you have issues sticking to rules.

An extra layer of caution for those coming from the third world because it’s been coming to light more and more that foreigners in the UAE coming from third world countries are often not treated with the same respect and dignity that first worlders are.

So you’re probably asking why I added Abu Dhabi even though I’m talking about Dubai mostly. Well, Abu Dhabi is a better city if you’re like me and like more calm. It’s not as busy and more family-friendly. But in essence, these cities are great for those who want to feel like they’re earning enough for the effort that they put into their work. There are no bullshit unpaid internships (*cough*slavery*cough*) and you’ll feel your career progress a lot more smoothly. Despite listing seemingly more cons the one perk of being able to earn enough and live a decent life makes up for most of its flaws…tax-free.

I would’ve moved to Abu Dhabi but realized that I’m at the stage of my life where I want to live in a city that will act as my base and where I can consider settling down and stuff, of which both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are not those cities for me. But if I want to work and boost my income for awhile they’re perfect and ill definitely be traveling there a few times.

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