I went traveling 12 years ago, promising my parents I would only be away for three months. I arrived as a tourist, and have now been working here for eleven years.

I was determined to stay, and came across a job I thought would be something fun until I got a proper one. I always had a curiosity about the desert and I’m still here at Guide Oman, leading self-drive desert safaris – I’m the Kiwi girl teaching people to drive across the desert.

We use Jeep Wranglers, it  is the king in the sand. I’ve been the ambassador for the brand here for eight years. I live, eat, dream and sleep, Jeep.

Muscat has a village feel, no building is taller than the tallest minaret on the grand Mosque. There is a beautiful coastline on one side of the city and a beautiful mountain range on the other. There is a huge amount of history, and fabulously welcoming people.

I live alone in a house that’s split into two. We have a huge backyard, the other part of the house is occupied by friends and their children.

In January, we lost our Sultan and there were forty days of mourning, now with the virus it’s been a double whammy for the country and our business. The airport closed on March 28th and we’ve been in lockdown since then.  They have just lifted lockdown for some areas, but it is compulsory to wear masks.

I was  born in the mighty Waikato, raised in the King Country and when Mum and Dad moved to Tauranga, I went to boarding school in Auckland. I stayed for university and worked in the fashion industry.  I have a brother in Auckland and my sister managed to find a husband in the UK – she’s still there.

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Image supplied by interviewee

This interview and the others in the series are an extension of my new book “This Is Us” it is in all good bookshops in New Zealand now. These interviews are slightly different from the ones in the book as they focus on New Zealanders living abroad in this time of isolation. If you can think of suitable interview subjects please let me know via pete@petecarter.nz .

Exisle have now released This Is Us as an e-book you can buy it here.

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Pete Carter is the author of This is Us. Due out in June 2020 it will be published by Exisle and tells the story of more than 200 New Zealanders in words and pictures. The book is really a portrait of the nation and how it is made up. Pete wrote Our Dog Benji a children’s book illustrated by his nephew, published by EK in 2017. He is also the author of two books of poetry. He has had magazine articles published and poetry in anthologies. As a photographer he has had two solo exhibitions and work included in group exhibitions in NZ and overseas and has sold work to and been commissioned by corporate clients.

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