When I first moved to Dubai, I was really excited to start living in a big vibrant city that never sleeps. Light, camera, action! I was ready to take on new opportunities and embrace the city’s culture and spirit, and I must admit that the move to here wasn’t as rosy as my social media claims it to be.
A few months have passed and I was almost there, almost settled in, almost prepared to start my new life in the new place, when suddenly all I heard around me was:
“So where have you been to recently?”
Followed by an instant reply by the same person “I just came back myself from Bali/Thailand/Italy. It’s a gorgeous place! You should go, it’s so beautiful!”. All of a sudden, everyone around seemed to be unable to enjoy living in Dubai. Their social media were full of the beach, and the desert, and the artsy coffee photos but their minds were away. Traveling seemed to be the only topic worth talking about. Well, traveling and food. Will probably talk about food obsession in my next op-ed. Whenever I went and whoever I met, people would tell me about their recent travels, without any detail though, just that the place they went to was great. That I, and everyone else, should definitely go visit. It felt very strange to me that people who got an opportunity to live in a fantastic city just want to leave it.
“Hey, darling, are you back from Singapore?”
My friend shouts out to some woman passing our table as we are having coffee and catching up at a trendy cafe. Catching up means talking about our recent travels. Well, of course the darling is back, she is walking right here before you. “I am going to the library after the coffee, you wanna come with?’ I am trying to talk to my friend about anything related to our current hometown. “Library? Is there a library here? I didn’t know that.” Of course you didn’t, you haven’t even tried exploring this place, since all you do is trying to get out of here as frequently as possible.
When was the last time you went for a really long walk? Now it’s the time to do it, a walk in the rain will be something you can’t often experience in Dubai so why not just do it? Do you know what karak is? Why not go to the Old Town and get a 2 dirham cup of freshly made karak chai? Do you even know the names of any local dishes? And what about trying to get out the bubble and learn some Arabic? Or, at least to just spell your name in Arabic? Being an expat doesn’t necessarily mean living in a bubble, so get out of that bubble you put yourself into and live the life!
Traveling is a unique way to open your eyes to the big wide world out there, but it only counts if your eyes are open for the wonders of your current world, otherwise it’s just a trendy way of spending money. Slow down and explore your current place before going out on new exciting adventures.