I went to Dubai for the Burj Khalifa, the desert, and to meet a person.
I booked tickets to Dubai rather a whim. It’s not exactly a place I’ve always wanted to visit. In fact, it was hardly even on my travel wishlist. I didn’t do any planning at all. I just found the most reasonably priced tickets and accommodation, booked them, and went.
I went to Dubai because Andrea lived there but was going to be leaving soon. My favorite thing about blogging is making real friendships around the world. Andrea and I had been reading each other’s blogs for over 2 years and had bonded over our similar experiences (both starting out as part of a couple and then needing to figure things out solo). She’s been an incredible support source to me over the past few months, when the 2nd breakup left me as disoriented as ever. We’d chat for hours about relationships, travel, and life in general. It was time to finally bring those conversations to real life.
Since I had done no planning, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I ended up having an AMAZING time. I’m going to be writing a lot about Dubai in the coming weeks (I did too many cool things not to share!), but for now, I want to give you a highlight reel. So here are little snippets of my trip by the numbers:
– 13 nights total in Dubai
– 34 hours to get there from Beijing > Ürümqi > Dubai
– 1 night & day missed because of a canceled flight in Ürümqi due to snow and fog. A bit of a rocky start, but it all ended up being good.
– 125 floors up (456 meters above the ground) on the Burj Khalifa
– 6 amazing, delicious hours of brunch with endless wine, cocktails, and good company
– 1 day spent doing nothing but Netflixing in bed to recover
– 1 hour on an camel during sunrise in the desert. 1 bucketlist item fulfilled
– 1 man who tried to kiss me at the souks in Old Dubai (story soon)
– 1 expensive cocktail at The Vault on the 70th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis, the tallest hotel in the world
– 1 pair of Ray Bans lost there and then found
– 3 times to the Dubai Mall, probably a million steps walked in there, and only $47 spent shopping
– 1048 columns total in the courtyard of the Grand Mosque (in Abu Dhabi), all made of marbel and inlaid with semi-precious stones.
– 7 star hotel visit to the golden Emirates Palace
– 2 blueberry pies at Paul
– 4 meetups with Andrea. Many hours spent talking about life, heartbreaks, and the future
– 1 new friend made in my Airbnb (basically when I convinced him to go on the desert safari with me)
– 2 evening strolls along the marina and the beach walk
– 1 week of rain and 1 week of sunshine
– $6 total spent on food on the cheapest days (in order to balance out the expensive days). Who said you can’t do Dubai on a budget!
– 5 pounds gained (probably). Many (but not enough) delicious Indian food meals. Dreaming about the curries, naans, and dosas!
– $612 spent in 2 weeks (not including flights and accommodation). Budget breakdown coming!
– So many good memories to last me a lifetime
Dubai was my first real solo trip to a new destination. I was a little bit nervous about how I’d like it. But it was incredible. I walked away with great memories and a larger sense of confidence.
One of the most memorable moments was when I stood across the Dubai fountain looking at the Burj Khalifa for the first time. I felt one of those moments sweeping over me. It was gratitude and amazement and wonder and happiness. I was there, standing in the shadow of the tallest building in the world. And for the first time, I can say that I did it all by myself.
I took myself there. I hopped on a plane alone and got myself to Dubai. Not only physically, but more the fact that I created this location independent life for myself. Emotionally, I pushed through the fear of traveling alone and being alone.
I think Dubai is going to be the start of something new. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I can feel it. :)
Have you been to Dubai? What did you do and how did you like it?