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.
It’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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
I 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!
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!