Good Vibes Only at Area 01 (Alserkal Avenue)

I walked into Alserkal Avenue for Area 01 and the first things that caught my attention were the vibrant colours and the strain of really eclectic beats. Even though I had just walked in, this already seemed like the perfect creative and cultural experience of Dubai, from music to market to food.

15440504_396922620639479_1747005469997157695_o

A hidden treasure trove of creative talents encompassing everything from theatre and performance arts, to live acoustic and electronic music, and culinary experiences. How could anyone not love it?

8.jpg

I walked past so many original stores set up all over the place that by the time I reached the DJ console my jaw was hanging so low, it nearly touched the ground. I quickly set up and started my set. I have seen a lot of events marketed with a dose of “good vibes” but this was so different. From the moment the first song began people were dancing, smiling, and filling the entire space with so much of good vibes it was contagious. Everyone from tiny tots to even the pets were infected by this air of good cheer.

dj sara.jpg

Five hours passed by in a flash, and before I knew it it was time to pack up. But the day wasn’t done yet. I headed down to the main stage area with my friends and we all plonked down on the comfy tires and grass padded seats, wolfed down our food and enjoyed the live music. Will I be back again next year? For sure! Will I see you there too?

15590687_10153937196967251_3274958859983339708_o.jpg

Advertisements

Waves and Visions

My love affair with the beach started from as way back as I can remember. When I close my eyes, I fondly recall family outings where we would all go to the beach and everything that worried us would just melt away as the smell of salt in the air filled our nostrils. It was almost like being hypnotised into being instantly happy.

beachIt’s no wonder then, that as an adult, the beach is my favourite retreat. It’s ironic that I live in a desert but it is the water here that makes me the most happy. I can vividly recall the first time I set foot on the beach in Dubai. Everyone else was excited to see the iconic Burj Al Arab in the distance but for me I just jumped through the waves like an excited dolphin.

ba

The ocean reflects my essence – beautiful, mysterious, wild and free and that’s why I enjoy solo travel with the ocean as my companion. Thailand holds some beautiful memories because I finally shed all my inhibitions and tried Scuba Diving in Phuket recently. I can still feel my palms turning cold as I struggled to put on my scuba diving gear. As I gripped the mouthpiece and let go of all my fear I never felt more free in my life!

raccoon_butterflyfish_underwater_maui_hawaii_20121107

As the water surrounded me from all directions, I entered a parallel universe where my senses were overwhelmed by the underwater beauty! I reached out and gently touched the underwater plants and rocks as a school of brightly coloured fish swam by me like I was a part of their natural habitat. That feeling of being one with nature is something I will never forget.

water-sports

My next water adventure was in Ibiza where I finally worked up the courage to try fly-boarding. I had seen a couple of people try it in Dubai but didn’t even know what it was called. In Ibiza, it called out to me and I answered that call by facing my fear head on. The feeling of the water surging under you and propelling you higher and higher is unforgettable. It reminded me of this game I used to play as a kid, called Dangerous Dave, where the hero had a jetpack.

dave 2.jpg

Every time I visit the ocean, I learn something new. Sometimes it is a simple lesson and sometimes it is a profound one. The one quote that stirs within me every time I hear crashing waves is this one: The strongest waves crash at the coast and go back to the sea and reform all over again…stronger.

Smoking Isn’t Injurious!

Smoking isn’t injurious especially when it’s Smokingroove. So this is a story all about how…wait, rewind, different story. Let’s start with a little show and tell first.

yes no smoking.jpg

I first met Safe Smokingroove at a random party. After that we kept bumping into each other all across Dubai and that’s how we became friends. There’s something about Safe that just inspires you to walk your own path so one day I asked him about his story.

yes thinkin cap.jpg

It started with this expression and an explanation that went something like this. “I was living a regular life but it slowly felt like just black and white so I decided to add a little colour to my life. I did the whole 8-6 corporate life in the day, went home in rush hour, ate and went to the clubs, meetings or studio after that. I made a decent bit of money but like those actors working as waiters we always see in shows like Entourage, it was purely so I could function and actually eat. When you start out, there’s not much money involved and rent & food needs to be paid for. That was a decade ago. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I got a lot of business experience from those days and insight into how big business actually works.”

yes colorful.jpg

Curiosity got the better of me and I blurted out, “But weren’t you scared of making any mistakes?”

He smiled and replied, “You’re always going to make mistakes. I’ve made so many that I’ve lost count and some were quite large ones. When you start, you have all the hunger in the world but time and failures have a habit of eating away at that hunger-stash. I’m a natural stubborn asshole so I stuck at it for a long time (over 20yrs) but I have built a global following of friends and fans by being honest with myself and my goals. Play hard but work harder.”

hug dealer.jpg“So when you are not being a ‘hug dealer’ (check out the picture above) how do you actually manage to juggle your finances and your passion for music?” I quipped.

“My biggest mistake has been not hanging onto as much cash as I should have. That Rock’n’Roll lifestyle will catch up with you so get your finances in order. Save as much as possible as this thing does not last forever. Get clued up on investments, savings and tax breaks. It all counts!”, he replied.

1450328_10153431837800004_139379424_n.jpg

“What has gotten you this far with your dreams? What’s given you the courage to never quit halfway?” I asked feeling quite inspired.

“Honesty with yourself is the important thing but as for others, this IS the music business so I’ve learned to take what some people say with a grain of salt,” he answered without losing a beat.

If you want to learn more about building a smoking hot music empire and about what Safe and his brother  Marko have achieved over the last 20 years, you can check out Smokingroove HQ.

Pig&Dan Debut in Dubai

Pig&Dan, aka Dan Duncan and Igor Tchkotoua, have been producing and performing together for more than a decade. You might have heard of Snakes on a Plane but this story starts with DJs on a Plane. The pair first met on a flight to Mallorca way back in 1999, but it wasn’t until three years later that they partnered with each other as Pig&Dan.

12654548_712265605577394_1522490408334264619_n

Pig&Dan’s style is distinctive and makes a lasting impact. What’s their music style? In their own words: “Dynamic, Euphoric, Uplifting and Nonlinear. Pumping yet melodic. Smiley face music that girls like too, even though it has a dark edge.”

12650805_712265188910769_8020229730811579201_n.jpg

They have been in the industry for over a decade now but have never lost their passion for music! The spirit and energy is still alive in their music and a short DJ set is just not their thing! They usually take about an hour to really get into the groove of things. Why? They believe in longer sets because they love telling stories with their music!

12642686_712264608910827_4268044968957219411_n.jpg

Their brand of storytelling certainly worked wonders in Dubai when they recently played at a massive event organised by Plus Minus. The crowd followed their story very closely. Rising with the tempo and then losing themselves in oblivion at Level 41!

12631468_712266428910645_8610373007746653504_n.jpg

This might have been Pig&Dan’s first time behind the decks at Level 41 but it certainly won’t be their last! They’ve played at Ultra, Tomorrowland and Awakenings and graced the decks at legendary clubs like Amnesia Ibiza, Crobar Buenos Aires, and Womb Tokyo. Its clear that their euphoric-pumping sound has lifted the roof on a global level! To continue your techno journey in Dubai click here12650819_712264432244178_7559519278022395044_n.jpg

New Year’s Travel Resolutions

Travelling gets the adrenaline pumping through your veins like nothing else can. Sometimes it’s exactly what you need to break the monotony. Sometimes it’s just what you need to feel alive.

tblisi.pngSo this year, instead of making resolutions about losing weight or making piles of money, why don’t you make some travel resolutions? Step out of your comfort zone, save up for that trip you have had your heart set on for years. Stop making excuses about why you can’t go and instead just pack your bags and go where your heart leads you.
nyIt might be a short trip in the same country that you live in or it might be a life changing decision like quitting your job to go globe trotting like This Guy On His Own Trip.

neeraj cropped.jpg

Take the plunge before you get a chance to second guess yourself. I promise you that you won’t regret it! I have done it myself. I have travelled to Georgia without having a penny in my pocket thanks to a friend who gifted me an adventure when all I had was a dream.

tblisi georgia

I have also travelled to Thailand on my first solo trip, without any hotel reservations and without doing loads of research and enjoyed myself thoroughly just going by the recommendations of the locals. I made it…not once or twice but every single time and so can you.

thailand.jpgIf your travel dreams are backed by enough fire you will find your oasis even in the middle of any desert! Happy New Year fellow travellers!
Road Trip UAE | lifeisanopenroad

Krysalis: Awaken Your Inner Beauty

Anybody who knows me, knows that I love to travel. Through all my adventures, I have realised that some special journeys don’t involve physically moving from one place to another but involve a journey within yourself.  When I was little, I remember trailing along behind my mother to the beauty salon and being fascinated by all the things that happened there.  To a kid, what happened in there was almost magical. I would walk in, clutching the hand of my tired mother and watch her undergo a marvelous transformation. As the staff in the salon started working on her, I would watch the stress just melt away.  She would forget all her worries and a smile would spread across her face and wrap her in a cloak of warmth and positive energy.

Krysalis Salon | lifeisanopenroad

I have always been quite a tom boy but as the years rolled by, I have enjoyed my fair share of visits to the salon. I would rush in, do whatever I had to do and rush out. I never had the time to waste at a salon, I had better things to do. All that changed the day I stepped into Krysalis. I fell in love with it instantly. It was not just the look of the place that grabbed my attention but the warmth that filled the entire salon.

Krysalis | lifeisanopenroad

I have watched not just one or two but dozens of people I know undergo massive transformations at Krysalis.

Krysalis Salon | lifeisanopenroad

People step in, dragging their feet, tired because of what life has thrown their way but after a few hours at Krysalis, I have seen the same people walk out with a bounce in their step.

Krysalis Salon | lifeisanopenroad

So what is so different about this salon? Honestly all I can say is that they are specialists at awakening inner beauty. At every other salon I have visited, you are just another customer, another source of business but at Krysalis, they believe in investing in people’s lives. So if you live in the UAE, drop by if you want to undergo a metamorphosis and feel renewed from within. What better way to celebrate the New Year than to get a completely new look?

Krysalis Salon | lifeisanopenroad

Camping At Um Al Quwain

It is very easy to get absorbed in city life and forget about the beautiful outdoors. It is even easier to drown in a sea of skyscrapers if you live in Dubai. That is why I always surround myself with friends who love to travel and appreciate nature. That way I stay connected to what I love the most. It is the secret to how I manage to constantly dream up new adventures!

Jellyfish at Dubai Mall| life is an open road

As the Eid break fast approached, my friends all made plans to leave the country. Unfortunately, I could not leave the UAE as I was required to stay connected to office work. But I found a way around that as I was meandering through Dubai Mall. As I wandered through the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, staring at the exotic marine life on display, a plan began to form in my mind!

Dubai Mall Marine Life| life is an open roadI quickly called up a few close friends and we made a plan. We decided to go camping in Um Al Quwain. The plan involved leaving Dubai by 6pm but we eventually headed out only by 10:30pm. Nothing was going to stop us! We headed out in our trusty Pathfinder and reached Um Al Quwain by midnight. The weather was heavenly and we quickly set up our tent. The smell of barbecued meat slowly began to fill the air and I could not tear my eyes away from the grill. I took up the role of BBQ Assistant, just so I could snatch the first piece of meat that came off the grill. A few hours later, once our tummies were full, we grabbed spears and walked along the shoreline looking for crabs. We shone our torches into every little crevice and spent a long time perfecting the art of crabbing. Finally, our bag began to fill up. None of the crabs were as gigantic as the ones I had seen at the Dubai Mall Aquarium but they were certainly large enough to eat!

Spider Crab at Dubai Mall | life is an open road

Once our bag was full, we headed back to the tent and exchanged our spears for fishing gear. As we made our way out along the rocks, I slipped and injured myself. I decided to rest for a bit and was rewarded with a huge catch when I woke up. I had missed out on learning how to fish but still had quite an adventure in Um Al Quwain. Our new tent had been inaugurated and had also helped transport half the sand from Um Al Quwain to our apartment. A good reminder of a wonderful holiday!

Beach at Um Al Quwain | life is an open road