Landscapes – A Virtual Travel Adventure
“Adventures will change you. They’ll saturate you with a fresh view of life. They’ll take every foundation you ever stood on and shake them until they crack. Adventures will tear away layer after layer of you, and in the end, when it’s all over, you’ll step away from that pile of old skins and barely recognize the person you have become.”
– Shawn Smucker –
I’ve always been plagued by a deep longing to be somewhere else, and as a result have always been fascinated by geography. An atlas was one of the first books I recall returning to over and over again as a child, tracing the outlines of countries with my finger, trying to imagine what the landscapes looked like and what the people who lived there ate. I didn’t know then about the concept of travel, or how addictive it could be. I just knew that I was curious about the shapes and colours and names of the places on the maps.
I still am.
Only now I know exactly how addictive travel can be.
It has allowed me to explore different cultures in ways that have altered the way I look at the world and my place in it.
The person I am today is no longer the person who arrived in the United Arab Emirates eight and a half years ago. I didn’t know anything about the country then, but I knew from experience that the best way to learn about a place and a culture is to go live there. So when my husband was offered a job here, I didn’t have to think twice.
It is a country that is often misunderstood. Or understood only in terms of the image that is created to entice tourists to visit. This curated image is not the whole picture, though. It is only a tiny fragment. There is so much more than skyscrapers, restaurants owned by celebrity chefs, 5 star hotels, or an abunance of supercars. Oil has brought wealth to this part of the world and with it comforts and luxury punctuated with imaginative architecture shaping the skyline, but 50 years ago dwellings made from coral, stone, and palm fronds dotted the landscape. Hunger and hardship set the tone for life here, yet Bedouin hospitality permeated encounters with strangers. People lived close to the land and their neighbours. Falcons, camels, salukis, date palms and dhows weren’t symbols of the culture. They were the bedrock for survival in a harsh, but beautiful landscape.
Perhaps you’ve transited through the country on your way somewhere else. If you were lucky you stopped for a couple of days. Maybe you’ve always wanted to vist. Or perhaps you’ve never been drawn to this place.
Whatever your relationship with the UAE is, I would like to invite you to join me on a 14 day virtual journey. Through my eyes and voice I will introduce you to the physical, cultural and historical landscapes of the country I’ve been privileged to call home for the last eight and a half years.