Last week I celebrated my 33rd birthday. *gulp*
By celebrated, of course, I mean I ran a huge technical conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the key industries of Aerospace, Energy and Higher Education, in the UAE.
*sigh* I love my job.
The other fun thing that I got up to that day was ruminating on all the good stuff a 30+ brain usually regurgitates on the auspicious occasion of a birthday. You know, regular stuff like my purpose in life, how close (or far) am I from achieving major goals, career aspirations, how many children I was supposed to have by this age, my busted knee and the end of my running career = gaining weight.
Eventually, my all-time favorite question (which I thought was answered many birthdays ago) popped up. Where do I really want to be at this point of my life?
Here is the funny part; my answer to this particular question is never right here. Which is fine, because that’s just who I am, I always want to go go go…
Even more hilarious, whenever I demand a real answer from myself, I start naming actual places, cities, countries where I’d rather be in that particular moment, or dream of visiting one day.
I sometimes think that I have arrived at my own life way behind schedule.
Younger me never had serious hobbies, obvious interest, and most of the time the plan was to merely go with the flow. The “good girl does whatever she’s told role” was my safe house, until it wasn’t anymore.
I have become my current eager to live life to the fullest self through a tangled sequence of trial and error. Many valuable lessons were learnt in the process.
At the age of 27 I took my first solo trip to Europe. At that time my employment ticket allowance was specified in my contract as a return airfare to London. Why not? I thought, London it is!
I went there to celebrate that year’s birthday (I seem to expect too much of this day), and I fell in love with traveling and discovering new places.
I also met my husband on that trip. The two of us have ever since decided that getting lost in foreign lands in search of ourselves and other important things is our favorite cup of tea.
23 countries and many wonderful travel memories later, I am realizing that my biggest travel dreams have not been fully fulfilled yet. There are places that I have continuously imagined, some I even idealized for so long that I worry they won’t live up to my expectations when I get there.
I can only hope that I am destined to see them sooner than later. Though evidently good things usually happen to me a bit later.
So where does my hungry little wandering heart wants me to go?
If there is one place that I should call my dream destination, it must be Paris.I want to do it with all its clichés and stereotypes. Actually, I can’t think of any other way to do it!
I want to climb the Eiffel Tower, cruise down the Seine at dusk, eat macrons and drink cafe au lait at a Parisian cafe near the Champs Elysées, spend a whole morning marveling at fine art at the Louvre. When I am tired of romancing the city, I want to take a shopping break to rejuvenate at Chanel and LV and all those good French people.
Look, I like unique and different, but I am also all about covering the basics first. When it comes to traveling, I don’t shy from sampling the popular track before venturing off it, to seek something new.
Most of you know that I don’t do well in cold weather. The rest of you will not be that surprised by this information if you remember that I was born in the desert. Both groups can’t be blamed if you are wondering what in the world am I thinking dreaming of traveling to Antarctica?!
I don’t know yet what my strategy for handling such extreme weather is going to be, all I know is that I am dying to see the cute penguins in their natural habitat, touch them and follow their tiny footprints in the snow.
They’re touchable right?
The white continent is where the most surreal icy landscapes in the planet can be seen. The idea of me clicking away at miles of frozen desert, aqua blue glaciers and other dramatic formations is quite humbling.
Besides its bold nature and beautiful wildlife, not knowing how soon will it seize to exist is what’s motivating me to desire to descend to the bottom of the earth in the near future. Once global warming is done with it, all we might have left there is PLENTY of cold water everywhere. Not for me!
Casas Colgadas de Cuenca, Spain
Spain is now my second home. I go to visit family and friends there, and one day (inshallah) my children will do the same.
The rich culture, happy people, beautiful weather, and most importantly the lip-smacking food keeps me eagerly coming back. I would love to see and taste it all.
How will I not constantly look forward to my next visit to Spain, when we go home to the stunning big Canary Island, Gran Canaria? God, I love this place!
Now that I’ve had my first taste of India’s charm and mystique, I am certainly longing for more.
India is not the biggest, but it has to be the most diverse country in the world. You can’t really say you’ve seen it until you’ve travelled around it for a bit. It takes a serious effort to genuinely understand this place.
And of course, all that Indian food that must be eaten.
How will I ever lose weight?
Yemen is #1 one off the beaten track travel dream destination. I wish is to connect to the true essense of the place, experience its traditions, and meet its people.
If I am going to call myself from this region, I want to learn everything there is to know about its culture and history, and Yemen bags more of that than the rest of the Arabian peninsula all together.
This is the only Gulf country that I haven’t visited yet, because of obvious security concerns that makes it less accessable, though not incosiderable.
This one is Angel’s dream. I vowed to share my life with this man, including his hopes and dreams. I also promised to let him choose more holiday destinations in the future, which is why I am so thrilled he has such good taste in Travel.
PS. Angel hates sushi, and he isn’t such a big fan of the raw fish concept. I am sure they will have other things for him to eat there…
Your turn: What is your travel dream destination? Where will you go if you could go anywhere in the wolrd today?