Oh, The places you’ll go

I will start doing a weekly or bi-weekly column for a small community newspaper which I am very excited about!  My column will be called “oh, the places you go”. I have been lucky enough to travel a lot and have learned a lot about how to find good travel deals, what to see and do as well as what to eat – there is a whole world of travel to explore. Everything from Hotels to Restaurants to Airplanes and Airports.

I have put my first column below which will be published next week – Enjoy!

Mk

Oh, the places you’ll go
Life is full of beautiful adventures and I have been able to experience my fair share!  Over the past 9 years of doing International business and managing a global sales network, I have been lucky enough to travel to more than 44 countries or 17% of the world. I have been blessed to experience many cultures and see some amazing sights. Traveling more than 100,000 Miles each year does take its toll, but travel is my ultimate adventure in life. Travel does something amazing to people; it opens up your eyes, gives you a heart, helps you understand people and moves you to your inner-core.
There are many things to consider when preparing for travel. Everything from where you book your flights and hotels to the ultimate decision of whether to do it yourself or to go through a travel agent. Yes, travel agents are not extinct and if you have a really good one, it could be worth your time.  The world is a BIG place; there are so many places to visit, but at the same time it is so small. Did you know that within less than 12 hours time you could be in Europe or Asia? You can be almost anywhere in the world in less than 18 hours. (From Regina!) – 18 hours sounds like a long time, but after a few glasses of wine and a couple melatonin tablets, you are set and ready for your adventure.
My next adventure will be this upcoming week, doing a quick stop in Frankfurt, Germany; followed by a few nights in Bahrain and then a few nights in Milan to eat some pasta…and then back home.  Of course, there will be work involved but there is always great pleasure when exploring different unusual cultures and learning about the people. The one or two trips that I make to the Middle East each year are always the ones I look forward to most. The Arab culture is very mysterious to me and seems very much like Aladdin, taking you on a magic carpet ride. The Middle-Eastern culture is warm, friendly, kind and they really appreciate the fact that you have made and effort to visit their country.
A couple years back, I visited Cairo and Alexandria to attend the Cairo Book Fair. I spent one of my free days visiting the Giza pyramids; which are astounding by the way! While I was there, I met a kid named Ebrahim who wanted me to come visit his cousin’s bazaar which was about a five minutes walk. It is quite common to be asked to come to people’s shops when traveling. But many times I am hesitant to go. This time, I had a good feeling and stopped to talk to him for a few minutes. While we were relaxing at his cousin’s shop and enjoying a cup of tea, I talked to him about his family, his life (he was currently on his way to join the military), culture and food.  Food is always my favorite thing to explore when I travel! In many cases, food makes the country (we will explore that another week!) I asked Ebrahim about Camel and if they eat it? He said, “Yes, Absolutely!” Next thing I know he was on the phone with his mother and had invited me to his house for lunch. I kindly rejected, However, he convinced me to come. It was absolutely the most rewarding experience in terms of interacting with people of another culture.  On the 10-15 minute journey to his house, it was apparent that we were not going for 5* dining, in fact, the adventure there included walking through what I thought was nearly a garbage dump.  Arriving at their apartment, his family kindly welcomed and greeted us. They invited me into their living area where we sat on pillows and visited for a few minutes having tea.  About 20 minutes later, his mother came with a huge silver platter of Camel Stew, rice and a tomato dish. To date, it has been one of the most delicious, memorable, heartfelt and unique dining experiences I have ever had.
My new friend Ebrahim and his family
Every time I hear the media trash-talk the mid-east region, it makes me feel disappointed.  If only they could personally experience the culture and the people, they would never say such.  Most countries, except a few,  are extremely safe (in fact, more safe than many of our Canadian cities).  Take a chance and be different; jump into the unknown; have faith and trust others. Next time you want a real adventure and something magical, consider the mid-east or gulf region, you will not be disappointed – Places like Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and UAE will give you luxury and adventure!  Don’t forget, having an open heart and an open mind will take you far in life – oh, the places you’ll go
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