I gotta be honest, I was thrilled to be leaving India. I was going to miss the rock bottom prices and the beauty of the country, but I couldn’t wait to get to Greece. Specifically, I was excited to wear shorts and drink wine. But before I entered Europe, I had 3 days to spend in Dubai!
I think my mindset had a huge part in why I had such a great time. I was just so happy to be in a different country, on my way to see my family and my best friend. And with all that positivity, how could I not enjoy myself? I learned a great travel lesson here – sometimes, your enjoyment of a destination is based completely on how you expect to find it, and that’s why I fell in love with Dubai. Here are some of the reasons why:
I pushed myself out of my introvert comfort zone
I felt quite lonely and isolated after India, so I mustered the energy to reach out to a girl who lived in Dubai – via a great Facebook group called Host a Sister where you can get in touch with travelers and locals. Willa was absolutely amazing – she drove me around, gave me a sightseeing tour, and we even visited the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi together. Spending this time WITH someone made me so much happier and I felt so positive. There is nothing wrong with alone time, but after a lot of forced solitude in India I was ready to make new friends.
I felt like I could be more myself
Yes, Dubai is in the Middle East, but it is very cosmopolitan and I felt comfortable walking around without my legs fully covered, for example. I have no problem with dressing conservatively to fit in somewhere, but after six weeks in India, and especially in the heat, I was extremely tired of constantly throwing a scarf over my shoulders. It was so nice to walk around without being stared at, and to be able to speak to Uber drivers or store staff without feeling like I was being undressed by their eyes.
After India, I needed a taste of luxury
Any tiny bit of luxury felt like absolute bliss after roughing it for quite a while. Any Uber that picked me up was a massive black Mercedes (or some other fancy car, who really knows) and the driver would get out in his fancy suit just to open the door for me. 10/10.
All of Dubai’s hostels were either sold out or seemed a bit weird/in the middle of nowhere, so in a very rare occurrence I actually booked a hotel. I had an amazing stay at the Reflections Hotel for roughly $70 a night. All of their rooms are travel-themed and mine was the Japan Room. I even had a view of the Burj Khalifa from my window, which was crazy cool.
My hotel front-desk agent spoke English, there was a pool on the roof, I could figure out what the breakfast foods were, and most importantly of all in the crazy desert heat, everything was air conditioned.
I saw one of the most beautiful buildings I had ever seen
The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi could have been quite hellish – it was horribly hot and I had to wear a giant polyester abaya that was definitely not washed. However, I was so excited to be in this amazing place that I got past all of the disadvantages. Willa and I marvelled at the stunning beauty of the mosque, stopping for photo shoots and sitting (for as long as we could in the heat) to really take it all in.
Dubai is a very controversial place, but I really enjoyed myself – mostly because I was really, so very ready to enjoy myself. It was a good lesson, and the fun would only increase as I flew to Greece to meet my friends and family!