A leap of faith to travel
The start of 2019 I set myself three goals which I was determined to achieve:
- Career change
- Personal weight loss goal
- Three long haul flights (ensuring work life balance)
2019 was a big year in terms of change and growth, both these can be painful in their own way but is essentially needed in order to develop and grow ourselves. I know what I was needed to do to get to where I wanted to be, not easy but change was necessary, and I felt ready to take on what was to come.
Determination and drive helped to ensure I accomplished more than I ever expected in 2019 I wanted to end the year on a high. As the end of 2019 was drawing near and I wanted to celebrate in my own way, so I made a decision to spend Christmas abroad. I always find most people feel the need to spend Christmas following British traditions spending the same way they have done for the past decade, usually consisting of a lot of alcohol, the day spent in your parents living room with family you hardly communicate with throughout the year, and the flat feeling afterwards and everyone feeling skint and overweight. Call me mental but I find this boring.
In 2018 I was fortunate to spend Christmas in the Bahamas which was an amazing experience, swimming in the Caribbean sea on Christmas is something I will never forget. Highlighting to me how special Christmas abroad could be. It was very different to any Christmas experienced previously and I was hooked. The trip gave me a taste for some winter sun and an eye opener for a new annual winter sun adventure.
In early December 2019 I decided to book a trip, I booked a holiday to the middle east, Dubai.
This was a solo mission and one I planned very last minute. I set off with no expectations, no plan, just a clear mindset of what I wanted from this trip – head space and time to reflect on what had been a huge year in my life. I find switching off easier 9000 miles away from home in the sun with little concept of time. At home I find everything feels so rushed and routine, it almost feels impossible to ever fully switch off.
I find solo missions daunting, but safe to say I wasn’t alone very long, I find whenever I travel independently, I attract a lot of people in a friendship way. My first night in Dubai I spent with people from all different parts of world. I find this is another beauty of travel, you never know who your going to meet or where you will end up. I find travel is always a good idea, even though when you set off you may feel terrified at the thought of what may come, however it always ends well and you get more the trip you could ever imagine both mentally and emotionally. The experience changes you. My first night was amazing and reassured me I made the right choice and I was exactly where I was meant to, with people I was meant to be with. It was crazy to think that 24 hours earlier I was at home with the heating on, packing my bags and sending some last-minute Christmas cards. I now sat in the beautiful marina bar drinking ice cold drinks and sharing travel stories. I felt completely switched off from life in England.
The next five days reached fare beyond my expectations in every way shape and form. Thinking of England and Christmas was one thing not entering my mind. It was still Christmas in Dubai but not Christmas as we would know it. People of the middle east still exercised, ate well, worked, maintained healthy lifestyles and there wasn’t a boxing day sale in sight. I felt more energised as the days went on and soon adapted in life of the middle east, tasting new foods, speaking with new people, sampling new drinks and visiting brand new places. My idea of what a holiday should consist of, escaping the English Christmas culture of ‘everyday drinking as we are off work and there isn’t much else to do’. I feel expectations about Christmas and I’m always left feeling disappointed.
I often ask myself this, do we adapt to life or does life adapt to us? After a hard and difficult year with a huge career change. Whenever I feel low I find I revert back in my mind to my traveling experiences and how I overcame situations and survived. I have learnt there is a big wide world out there and we only see a small part in the world which we live in and the world which we know. I often feel I need to re- engage with this traveling life to fuel myself to come back to this life in England. I feel this helps to ensure whatever path we go down next, we are adaptable and will always survive, its just change and no one likes to change but we must learn to embrace it in order to grow.
As a result of this adventure I landed in 2020 with a clear mindset. A festive break consisting of eating great food, walking lots, swimming daily and feeling great I can’t remember the last time I felt that good from spending Christmas in England. I can’t recommend enough what winter sun can do for us. It had helped energise me and I feel I couldn’t be happier going in to the first few months of 2020. What a great end to one year and amazing start to a new year.
I have kept in contact with the friends I made in Dubai, we all come from different corners of the world and different walks of life. A month ago, I didn’t know these people and now I am fortunate to have new friends from across the globe. I have also started plans to visit India and potentially the Maldives as I now have friends in those parts of the world. Stepping out in to that big world seems hard but the rewards can be amazing, giving you experiences and friends you would never imagine meeting.
Depending on the year you have had may depend on how you wish to spend your Christmas, spending it abroad may not be for everyone, but I would strongly recommend experiencing this, at least just once. I had such a busy year with so many highs and lows – some of these lows not been in my control with very little I could do about it, I wanted to ensure that the end of year was in my control I would be doing something for me, to excite me and bring me to life again through adventures and what I know travel can do to you.
My advice to anyone for 2020 is to change anything in your life you aren’t happy with, there’s always a better option. As scary and impossible as it may seem, trust yourself and your surroundings, it will always work out.
Written by Alysha Cook