I would argue one of the best things about Dubai, if not the best, is how much you can explore & simply see. Without having to pay anything or work very hard. Not without effort, Dubai sets records & created a visual piece of artwork. You can fill your entire trip just driving around exploring the different landscapes – for FREE. Sometimes paying for the view, isn’t as good as actually searching for it yourself.
I wanted to show you how to make a trip adventurous without spending a ton of money! I feel like I’m a master at going on budget friendly trips, including Dubai. Food & drink is expensive, but there’s SO much to do for free, or nearly free – if you can just get yourself there. You wouldn’t even be able to finish this list in one trip! And if you do, I can add to it 🙂
This is MY checklist when I go back – things to go stare at. And they never get old. Even when I lived there, going to stare at the items on this list was one of my favorite things to do. And a way to ensure I won’t waste my precious money.
1- Burj Khalifa
This twinkly building still takes my breathe away. Because it’s right outside the Dubai Mall there’s plenty of space to go walk around the building & look at it yourself – without paying a dime. Get yourself to the Dubai Mall & walk outside. You can eat near it, shop near it, walk near it, or just sit down & stare at it. The fountain show that plays outside the building at night will also take your breathe away. Go check it out during the day & at night for completely different views. Until Dubai builds their next world record setting building, this is the top spot for me. And you absolutely need a GoPro to fit the whole damn thing in a photo, OR spend $$$$ to have a tourey sales man take one measly photo for you…
I’m actively working on improving my social media! I may not be uber addicted to a phone, but let me start scrolling on a computer & I’ll end up browsing every crack of the internet. From people, to blogs, to etsy shops, to the ends of social media.
I love finding cool people, projects & knowledge! They motivate me to think uniquely, be creative, laugh, ask questions. I love people & their ambitions – what floats their boat.
…so lets C O N N E C T !! Find me in all the places below, currently working on keeping them active & ready for you! AND US!
For anyone that hasn’t had a chance to read my old posts, below are a few of my favorites from 2017! Enjoy!
Dating A Muslim Immigrant… During The “Muslim Ban”
Tis a sign of the times… I love this post because, Wafiq. What an interesting time it was. We happened to just be finishing our own immigration journey during this time & learned TONS of immigration info we never knew before. Which I think is why we were super comfortable. Even though people were freaking out. I remember we were happy, lucky & together 🙂
There are 3 questions I get asked all the time: how I was treated as a woman in the middle east, did I feel safe AND “did you have to cover up the whole time”.
I hope I’ve done a good job clarifying, go to this post to see my answers to all 3 of those questions if you haven’t already. (We went to the public beach on this trip & there were girls in thong bikinis & topless tanning, so I think people are comfortable doing whatever they please.)
For me, I wanted to fit in. I wanted to act like I’ve been there before & I know what the fuck I’m doing. There’s something powerful in that. Also, for any destination, isn’t it fun to fit in? Wear what they wear. I think it makes you appear well traveled, like you know what you’re doing in you life. So that was my goal this trip. I stuck to coverage. When I was living there, I pushed this boundary w my cut off shorts & dresses all the time, because I was bored of being covered & it was HOT AF. Being that I was just visiting, I had a different approach this time.
The theme: BLACK BLACK BLACK. If this is the color of your wardrobe, you’re in luck! I like bright colors, florals, sparkles, drama – so I had to go shopping. An abaya & burka are black, so that’s the colors you’ll see a lot of when you’re out. I asked someone why black? Why not beautiful colors + design on the abaya? I was told the original purpose of the abaya was to avoid attention. Bright florals & colors will do the opposite, drawing attention to the people wearing them. So black is the theme!
The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” is terrible & true isn’t it? I remember miserable days/years in different jobs, & man did time drag. But, of course, when you’re having fun & enjoying all the parts of your life, time goes quick! So, would you rather a boring yet long life or short yet exciting life? Ha! Nothing like that awful question to wake you up on a Thursday morning.
I’m back from Dubai! Long story short, it was fun & it went fast. Which in this case is better than the alternative.
Everyone that followed along on my Instagram Stories, thank you! That was fun to create. If you missed it, I left a lot of the stories in my “highlights” section. Click on my Instagram profile & right below the bio you’ll see the circle for Dubai & Bahrain with the stories while I was there.
If you’ve been reading for awhile you likely know this trip was a big step for me. Last time I was in Dubai I left in a rush & didn’t exactly leave every relationship in it’s best place. And that feeling strengthened even while I was back in the States, especially when Wafiq decided he was going to stay & begin the immigration process. Needless to say my relationships weren’t in tip top shape across the pond.
Last year, I decided to skip the trip Wafiq took home for that very reason, I wasn’t ready to walk back into my past OR the lions den.
This year I was ready. Wafiq & I are both comfortable & confident in the choices we’ve made in the past & knowing we’re in control of the choices were going to make in the future – I felt like there was nothing to fear anymore. No judgment or conversation or threat or whatever was going to hurt me. And I don’t mean to paint the picture as if everyone was going to do just that, but when you’re struggling & feeling weak & not confident with yourself – it’s hard to defend decisions in front of anyone. And we lived in that space for awhile so I had to protect myself. But this time I was ready.
Right when we arrived, I felt like I was living in Dubai yesterday, but better. And more comfortable. Everyone was excited to see us. The first days were filled with food. Family. Friends. Kids. And Food. I definitely did not have a chance to pick up my phone & document anything. But because those first days were easy, I immediately knew the rest of the trip would be too.
I thought a lot about this. The big, long-term beautiful (somewhat vague) end goal is always in sight, but all the others change. I love it! I welcome change, even though I fear it. As ideas & goals shift throughout the year, you create new agendas & updated accordingly. Which is why, now that it’s 2018 & resolutions are all the talk, you shouldn’t feel pressure to make them.
I’ve learned one of the worst things you can do to yourself is lose your own trust. Disappoint yourself. I know any goal I set on Jan 1, 2018 will end up changing, therefore I’ll end up disappointing myself & losing my trust. Which is a big no-no. So, fuck the 2018 goals.
You know the one part that sucks about holiday time that doesn’t exist around Thanksgiving… The torture of trying to find gifts, for everyone. And make cookies, and hang decorations, and go to holiday parties, and try to eat healthy. Adding gifts on top of all that jazz is what can easily make you freak the F out. I have a few ideas….
5 Ways To Finish Out The Holiday Season Stress Free
The Gift Of Being Stress-Free: Ok, think about the people you’re buying gifts for. Thinking of them? If most of those people knew you were stressed out, driving around like a maniac, spending more money than you had, buying their gift from the checkout line in Target because you can’t think of anything else – they wouldn’t want that from you! So don’t feel like you have to do it. Wait until the next day, by them a good book, or gift card, and let the pressure of other gifts go.
Essential Oils: This may or may not be a placebo, the essential oil trend, but I don’t give a fuck. If it works because my mind is telling me to believe it’s working, or the oils are truly relaxing me – I’ll fucking take it. Am I right? I met an essential oil doctor (jk she was selling her oil potions at the grocery store & I stopped to talk to her), and she gave me a combo she said would help me relax. (5 drops Lavender, 5 drops Jasmine, 5 drops Frankincense, 3 drops Ylang Ylang.) She put it in a tiny spray bottle (here) and said to spray it on my pillow at night, on my clothes, mid anxiety attack – whatever. I’ve become obsessed. It’s so easy to do too! Go to Whole Foods, get these essential oils, get a tiny spray bottle, and make your own secret Xanax potion.
I have some exciting news! Or at least I consider it exciting… I’m heading back to Dubai! This time, I’m not moving there & simply going for a visit – like a normal person.
Last time I was in Dubai, I remember literally telling Wafiq “I’m never ever. Never. Ever. Coming back to this fucking place.” Harsh, I know. And I told everyone that! I hated the thought of ever going back. Being able to say that out loud & having made it through the experience – felt amazing. I felt stuck when I was in Dubai, by my own stubbornness, for so long that when I finally got out of it, I felt like I made it! And there was no going back. Literally.
The experience was way harder on me than I expected & by the time I had my plane ticket in hand to come back to the States, I was extremely excited for America! But, two years later I can say I’m actually excited to go back. Mostly because so much has changed since then. Personally & professionally. Also, I’m not moving there so I know I’m not stuck, merely a tourist. And shiiiii, I lived there for almost 2 years! There are parts & memories I miss.
This is the only “Holiday Gift Guide” I had time to make this year! My goal for next year is to be more specific & give some super badass ideas for everyone you’re shopping for. To take the weight off your shoulders & have a stress free season. Holiday Gift Guides are my jam & I find them to be incredibly helpful. Hopefully this list will at least send you in the right direction…
Your Friends Businesses:
You know what’s freaking crazy, not supporting your friends small businesses or hobby’s. If you have a friend or know of someone that’s bravely trying to create their own business & fulfill a passion, you should be the one in line to support them! I feel like I’m always hearing the critique of what people are trying to do rather than the encouragement & support. SO, what a wonderful time to show support to these businesses by ordering gifts through them. Think of people you know that are trying to start a product, sell a product or service and figure out who you can gift that to. That way, you’re giving an awesome gift to the receiver and another gift to the person you’re purchasing from. If you don’t have any friends doing this, check out Etsy. Tons of businesses & hobby’s on that website are small (& you can consider those people friends). Love this idea!