Last Updated on March 29, 2017 by Natasha Amar
Don’t miss the video at the end of this post.
Almost half of 2016 has already gone by, can you believe it? It feels like it was just yesterday that I couldn’t get enough of the magical snowy landscapes of Iceland in winter, or of walking around in downtown Reykjavik thinking about how the city is perfect for writers looking for inspiration. While I still have a few posts and videos to go live from that trip, the past three months back home in Dubai have hardly been slow. I’ve stayed put working on the blog and on my freelance writing assignments, and while I wasn’t looking, the Universe went on and planned my summer travels for me. And I couldn’t be happier.
A year ago, if you talked to me about how things magically fall into place because you want it badly enough, I’d probably have dismissed it as a poor and overused cliché. To be honest, I have always been impatient. If I want things to change, I want to see that happen immediately. I tend to think of the whole waiting and hoping for the best as inactivity. I’m the kind of person who thinks, “Sure, you’re waiting and hoping and believing, but are you doing enough about it?” And I’ve always been hard on myself, beating myself up over the stuff that I still need to do, never stopping, never taking this life for granted even for a single day.
But I’m not sure that’s a wise or healthy thing to do. It’s who I am and so it works for me and makes me happy. But lately I have to admit that things have been falling into place like they haven’t in a long time and I can’t believe that it’s just all because of my hard work. May be it is true- this whole thing about being in the right place at the right time and I’m happy to say that professionally, everything feels just right. I’m so grateful for all the magic or law of attraction or whatever it is that is happening in my life right now.
And everyone knows what that means- more travel.
In the last week of May, I had the chance to go on an epic road trip across Jordan with Ford Middle East and Visit Jordan. I’ve always maintained that I need to see more of the Middle East and when this opportunity presented itself, I had to take it.
And this wasn’t just any ordinary road trip.
Exactly a hundred years after Emir Faisal I bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashimi and British soldier T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia shaped the future of the Middle East during the WWI march to Aqaba, we followed the same course through the magnificent moonscape of Wadi Rum. As a bonus, we also visited the ancient city of Petra, an official wonder of the world and truly a sight to behold.
Unlike Lawrence, who rode on horseback, we did it in style in Ford’s incredible line up of SUVs and Trucks including the all new 2016 Ford Edge. I also stole a few quiet moments for myself to float in the Dead Sea, shortly after sunrise and was lucky to have the private beach of the Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea all to myself.
My Summer Travels
Just as I’ve finished editing the photos and videos from my trip, I’m heading off to my next destination- Italy. In fact, I’m writing this post just as I’m about to leave for the airport to board my flight to Bologna. This week, I’ll be visiting Emilia Romagna as part of the Blogville 2016 campaign with Emilia Romagna Tourism and a whole lot of exciting adventures, both of the literal and culinary type, are in store. Among other things, I’ll explore Bologna’s musical traditions and visit a flute-making laboratory, learn how to make pasta and gelato (because Italy), take in the natural wonders of the Po Delta, hike a part of the Alta Via trail, and probably eat my weight in the delicious cuisine of the region. I’d love for you to join me on my Italy travels on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat (thebohochica).
After that, I’ll be spending a few days each in the cultural hub of Florence and the medieval city of Siena, and my final days in the Tuscan countryside will see me drinking a lot of wine (also in the famous Chianti region) and exploring Tuscan villages such as Montepulciano and Monticchiello. What is really exciting is that I’ll be staying in rural accommodations or agriturismos– I think I’m going to love every minute of that because I really do try to keep away from the big cities when I travel.
My final week in Italy will see me hiking the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre and I’ll end up with three days in the fashion capital of Milan. If you’ve got any suggestions of what to do on any of my Italy stops, please leave me a comment. I have had no time to plan my independent travels after Emilia Romagna and I really do want to make the most of my time in these places.
In the last week of June, I’ll head to Stockholm and stay put catching up on work and preparing for TBEX Europe 2016 in the second week of July. I still remember the anxiety and excitement I had before attending my first TBEX last year and I came away with valuable lessons and new friends, which is why I knew I wanted to attend my second one this year. I might try to get out of the city and explore close to Stockholm but as far as planning goes, so far I have nothing. For now, it looks like I will be in the country until the end of July, but plans can and do change quickly. So, I’m not making plans right now and I’ll see how it goes. If you plan on attending TBEX Europe or will be in Stockholm around the same time, please let me know and I would love to meet up.
This year is going by pretty quickly and there is so much I’m looking forward to. By the time I return to Dubai, it will be after the holy month of Ramadan and hopefully the warmest days of summer. Towards the end of the year, I’ll travel to Asia twice and both will be personal trips to see my siblings embark on the biggest adventure of them all- marriage! I haven’t been to the region in a very long time and I can’t wait to return to the land of tropical beaches, bustling cities, and Sriracha.
Tell me, how has your year been and what are your plans for the summer?