Documentary on One

Saudi Dreams of a Camper Van

In 2013, Gráinne began recording her life in Saudi Arabia on her smartphone.This story is an insight into the life of an Irish emigrant but also about the difficulties of trying to find happiness and start life all over again in your 50s.

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3.5/5 (105 ratings)

Documentary-maker: Ronan Kelly

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Saudi Dreams of a Camper Van

In 2013, Gráinne McPolin wrote to the Documentary On One team. She was working as a nurse in Saudi Arabia and suggested that they make a documentary about life there for Irish nurses and for women in general. The Documentary On One team wrote back and asked her if she had a smartphone and would she do some recording herself.

So, Gráinne started recording her life in Saudi Arabia. She was working out there to try to earn some extra money while on a career break from a Galway hospital. Her dream was to make enough to clear her debts and for herself and her partner, Philip Bromley, to head off touring around Europe in a camper van.

She and Philip shared a house in Mayo. They had both found each other late in life having both been previously married.

However, Gráinne's smartphone soon became more than a device for recording life in Saudi Arabia. Gráinne used it to record her thoughts on her own life and what was happening in it. As the months went by, her relationship with Philip began to become strained. The Skype calls were difficult. Both were lonely and under strain. Gráinne returned to Ireland several times during her contract period to try to rescue the relationship.

Eventually, they parted. Philip took the camper van and the dog while Gráinne finished up in Saudi Arabia went on to nurse in the UK.

The documentary is an insight into the life of an Irish emigrant in Saudi Arabia but also about the difficulties of trying to find happiness and start life all over again in your 50s.

Produced by Ronan Kelly

First Broadcast, RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday September 26th 2015 @ 2pm

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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