“Travel while you are young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.”

 

Dubai. People here come from an array of backgrounds, ethnicities and each have their own story to tell. It is a melting pot of ideas, nationalities and journeys. I have always considered myself lucky to live in one of the newer cities that is determined to make its mark on this planet.  A few years ago what may have been a short journey from Hard Rock Café on one side to the Diera City Center on the other, is now much much longer and inclusive of record breaking features that make your jaw drop. This is the new Dubai. Full of promise, full of glitz and glamour. While this may be an incredibly exciting time to be young and living in this city, I still, hand on heart, urge you to go.

Go where, you may be wondering. The answer is simple – anywhere and everywhere. Just go!

Dubai is well and truly on the map now and a global hub for foreign investments, property boom’s and an increasing amount of tourists flock here every year. With the weather being perfect here almost all-year round, the multitude of shopping malls, waterparks, nightclubs and Michelin star restaurants you can’t really go wrong.  Moreover, the large population of expats now residing here has created a demand for an increase in niche restaurants and a market for western style amenities. The upcoming tram will boast a Californian flair, while the bikes for rent in Marina remind you of the likes of London.

Still, I urge you to go.

We live in a place that is located perfectly for exploring the world. We have continents on our doorstep! I can personally vouch for this when I say you cannot substitute island beaches, that authentic smell of street food,  the drive down scenic windy roads and the freshness in the air with the latest Dubai restaurant claiming to provide the ‘ultimate authentic’ experience. Don’t get me wrong, they translate into fun-filled evenings that take you back there for while, but the real thing is what will stay with you for a much longer time, if not forever. I have never been on a trip that I have forgotten. I have been lucky enough to see many parts of this world, yet my thirst has not been quenched at all. My inbox is filled with travel abroad ideas, weekend getaways, boutique hotel offers, and day trip camping, safari and resort escapes. Travelling and exploring off the beaten track has given me some of the best memories (and stories to tell!) and I urge everyone to take time out, pack a bag and go.

While I know it’s not always easy to get away from work or responsibilities but I do know it is always worth it to start planning ahead. Some trips will be spontaneous and some you will be counting down the months, weeks and days for! My friends and I suddenly decided we needed a break and headed to the airport with both winter and summer clothes packed and bought our ticket on the spot to Mauritius. As the plane took off into the air I hit the ‘book this room’ button on bookings.com for a hotel we had only been discussing for five minutes. The result – one of the best trips of our lives, one we cannot stop talking about. While we are young, healthy and free from some of the bigger responsibilities in life we should not second-guess our instinct to travel. My colleagues from the States have told me how they thought Europe to be a far off world for them to visit before they moved to Dubai. Now it is less than half their journey time and they have never regretted taking their days off work to pack a bag, hop on a plane and come back with endless stories and a new found love for Europe!

Everybody is on their own journey, but nothing will broaden that journey or your mind the way travelling will. I am so lucky to have added such timeless moments into mine from whitewater rafting in Sri Lanka to mountain biking in Kathmandu, night-fishing in the Maldives, hiking through the wadis in Jordan to camping in the Jungle in Yala, smoking shisha at sunrise by the Mediterranean, wandering through the bazaars of Istanbul, staying overnight on a river and cruising down the twisty roads of Mahe Island. I have used my time in Dubai to visit some of Asia, Europe, the rest of the Middle East and Indian Ocean islands. On coming back I have realized my future list has just got bigger. I have already booked my next holiday and am already looking out for the one after that. I will worry about the technicalities later, because the first step is to visualize. When I meet people and I tell them about my adventures in their country, we automatically build so much more rapport than if I were to know nothing about them and vice versa because we have something to share. So again, my advice to all of you would be to take a second to close your eyes and visualize where you would like to see yourself truly embracing an authentic, adrenaline-filled or an off the beaten track experience next. The rest will follow.

On a final note – what better place to come back and tell your stories than here in Dubai where there’s just so many of us from so many places with so much to share and learn from.

Bon voyage!

Nuriyah Khan
I’m in my early 20’s and looking to kick-start my career in global social development, particularly economic development for emerging markets. I have a love for public speaking and learning languages. I am an avid traveller who living in Dubai has the opportunity to regularly frequent some of the most exciting destinations in Asia and across the Middle East. My bucket list is endless! I truly am passionate about exploring different and new cultures, living off the beaten track and indulging in the finest gastronomic experiences. Having grown up in a multicultural environment that has shaped me in a large way, I would love to share my thoughts with like-minded and non like-minded people alike.