A friend recently left a comment asking if I had visited anywhere I would not ever want to return to. The answer is No. That has been one of the things I hadn’t expected. Every place I have been has been somewhere I could see myself living in for a significant amount of time (> 1 year). Recent cities have been Lisbon, Opatija, Zagreb, Oslo, Amsterdam (well, I live here now), Brussels, Utrecht. All of these are very livable cities where I would love to spend more time. I have no idea what to expect of Dubai in a couple of weeks, but from what I have heard it may be another city to return to.
In fact, looking back on all the cities I have ever been to for any amount of time, the only ones I would prefer not to return to for more than a vacation would be any in Florida or the US South. I grew up in Miami and went to college in Tallahassee (FSU) and I don’t think I will ever return for more than a week at a time. Now that my parents are selling the house in Miami and moving to Seattle, my visits to Miami will go down even further.
One of the highlights of my job right now is the amount of time I spend in cities around the world. Luckily my job requires that I stay in each city for at least 4 or 5 days and usually more like a week. Although much of that time is spent in a hotel or office, there are still plenty of opportunities to experience how people live in the area. My parents recently got back from a vacation in Australia. Every time they finish a long trip they vow never to get on a long distance plane again because it drains them so much. Every time I finish a trip I can’t wait for the next one. I cherish the time I spend in each of these countries and almost feel guilty that I don’t take more advantage of my time there.
I plan to make better use of my time in the United Arab Emirates. In fact, I stopped off at the American Book Company near where I live to pick up a “Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic” CD/Book. I don’t expect to become fluent, but as long as I can get a few key phrases, greet the class each morning, and get directions from the people on the street, I will be happy. If anyone has any recommendations for places to go while I am there, I would love to hear them.
For me, traveling is what I love to do most. Only downside is that I don’t get much time to see very much of the country I live in. But for now, that’s OK.