Guest Post: Fitness is My Passport – by Fern Carver

Hi, I’m Fern! I’m a CrossFit instructor at LifeSpark CrossFit in Dubai, but I’m originally from England. I’ve been lucky enough to use fitness as my passport to travel to and live in different countries, from England to the Middle East and places in between. Finding the gym has taken me across the globe on active holidays and now as part of my career.


I began exercising in 2005, after turning sixteen. A few years later, I went on a summer work placement on the Island of Tenerife on the Canary Islands. I had originally been there to work in a bar as a shot girl, and after two months of partying decided enough was enough. I joined a gym and used the rest of my one and half months to train. At the time I hadn´t yet found CrossFit, so was dancing my way to a fitter self in the aerobics and core classes , while trying to understand the Spanish instructor.

Fast forward to a year later, and my summer lead me to Thailand for a Muay Thai camp. A far cry from the party girl a couple of years earlier, although I will admit there were a few full moon parties to be had. I trained for 2 weeks straight of Muay Thai at Rawai Muay Thai on the Island of Phuket. After this I was hooked. So much so that I visited Thailand again to train at Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket, 4 years later.

After training at Rawai Muay Thai, I began to assess my chosen career path and decided that I want to make a living doing this. I completed my personal training and gym instructor course at the end of 2009.

This led me to begin my fitness career in a hotel gym. After completing a year, I decided that I could do more for myself by setting up my own company and doing freelance group classes and PT. This is when I began teaching Zumba, and it wasn´t until a year later that I found CrossFit. Yes, that´s right folks, I found Zumba before CrossFit.


Through CrossFit have I not only found a career but also a sport. This has lead me to all parts of the world for different competitions to even just dropping in to a Crossfit box while on holiday.

In 2013 the opportunity came for me to move to Norway, the land of the Vikings. I jumped at the chance. Due to my long list of credentials and qualifications, I was given an opportunity from a studio coordinator in Trondheim. This was my first real taste of working abroad within the fitness industry. I learnt the language and was welcomed by the community, especially at CrossFit Trondheim.

The fjord #Norway #wintermorning #winter #cold #fresh #whataview #appreciate #nature #snow Monk island.

A post shared by Fern Carver (@serendipitysota) on

After living there for another two years, another opportunity came knocking at my door. This time from the Middle East, with the offer of a job at CrossFit Circuit Plus. What bigger difference than to go from the cold of Norway to the dry heat of the Middle East? I made the decision to give it a go anyway.


The countries couldn´t have been more of a contrast. I went from coaching people who have grown up outside and doing numerous sporting activities– I mean, the Vikings can ski before they can walk– to coaching only women, some of whom had never even stepped foot in a gym or on a playground before.


This gave me such valuable coaching experience and I have met some amazing people on the way. I throughly enjoyed my time in Kuwait and that is what lead me to getting the current job I am in, in Dubai.


Getting to Dubai wasn’t easy. For a while there were some issues about my entry papers, and I wound up stuck in the UK for longer than I expected. Also, the UAE is not the easiest place to get set up in. The job I originally came for let me go after a couple of weeks of employment, which at the time felt like the worst thing to happen.

However, with help from friends, I was lucky enough to be given another job opportunity pretty much immediately.  I am starting to feel like I am in a new home and community and if it’s taught me anything: it´s that if all is going wrong, perhaps it is leading you to something better. I finally feel like I’m settling down.

All in all through all the stress of the past couple of months, I am so glad I powered through. When I look back to when I first started in the fitness industry almost 7 years ago, I would never have thought I would be where I am today. Before moving to Norway and Kuwait I had never even thought of them as a place to visit. Dubai was a distant memory from a trip with a school friend when I was 14.

However, through the fitness community, and the CrossFit community in particular, it has offered me opportunities I would have never even thought of before. I feel lucky to be doing what I am : coaching, training, being close to a beach and all for money that I am able to live off.

So here is a big thank you to fitness for leading me where you have and I look forwards to many more adventures to come!

You can keep up with Fern’s adventures at her WordPress blog or find her on Twitter and Instagram as @serendipitysota.


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