This was probably the most daunting and most expensive of all my items on my list of 37 Things I Want to do Before I Turn 38. Obviously it was going to be expensive, but it was daunting because of scheduling and desires. Where do we want to go? I had really been leaning towards Argentina or Egypt but about 3 or so months ago my dad said he was going to visit my sister and her family in Dubai and how about we go along too? It was really too nice of an opportunity to pass up. The only thing I wish differently is that we could have been there a couple days longer.
It was my third trip to Dubai and fourth trip to the Middle East but my husband's first. I was excited to share with him the craziness and architecture and food and over the top opulence that is Dubai. You will never see another place like it.
Things I Realized on This Trip:
1) I want to travel more. Did you know that only 30% of Americans have passports? No wonder we seem to be a country of ignorant buffoons to the rest of the world. How can you respect and understand other people and cultures if you never get to see them up close? And don't tell me it's because everything is so far away or expensive. I went to Holland for a month when I was 23 and unemployed and completely broke. CNN has an excellent article on Why More Americans Don't Travel Abroad. I mean, seeing women in full abayas texting in a coffee shop with an indoor ski slope behind them is something you really need to see to believe.
2) I want to stay home more. I know this is contradictory, but whenever I get home from a trip I am happy to be around my cats and my space and yard and my friends and inspired to create new art. Leaving home makes me feel all the happier when I come back.
3) I am lucky in my choice of husband. OK, I know, a little cheesy. I usually try to avoid annoying people by gushing about my husband. But we travel together really well and are both open to new experiences and food and generally have the same outlook on life and compatible beliefs. 11 days together and not a single snit or disagreement and we never got sick of each other. He is also a good sport. Not too shabby.
4) My sister is an excellent cook. I already knew this, but this trip reminded me. (I think it is genetic.) I am used to being surrounded by good cooks and sometimes I think I take it for granted. I feel sorry for people that eat a lot of take away and frozen food. They are missing out on one of the most important things in life. Sharing food you have made with the people you love is really satisfying.
5) Discomfort is good for you. This goes hand in hand with number 1 and why Americans don't travel more. Travel is frequently uncomfortable. It is scary to go somewhere out of your comfort zone. Jet lag sucks. I miss my cats when on vacation. I would not in a second call our trip relaxing. But I would call it interesting, stimulating, and inspiring. Discomfort makes you appreciate what you have and learn from your experiences. Also, hearing about political unrest through out the Middle East and Africa made me really want to go home and be more politically active. I have already signed up to lobby for women's reproductive health in the state capitol next week.
6) I could never live in a desert. Coming home to crisp, cool air and surrounded by trees and plants makes me happy. I can never take the Pacific Northwest for granted. It is truly beautiful and comfortable here.
I hope you have enjoyed listening to my travel ramblings the last week. Thanks for reading my blog. I'll be posting soon photos of all the fabulous goodies I brought home!