THE DE­BATE

Should you save blowout travel ex­pe­ri­ences for spe­cial oc­ca­sions?

Condé Nast Traveller Middle East - - Contents -

Should you save blowout travel ex­pe­ri­ences for spe­cial oc­ca­sions? Ur­sula Winzel and Dr Reem El Mut­walli go head to head

“Grow­ing up in post-Apartheid South Africa, the econ­omy was weak. As a young girl, I re­mem­ber my par­ents fiercely sav­ing to be able to af­ford fly­ing to Ger­many to visit my fa­ther’s side of the fam­ily. Our South African rand was much weaker than the Deutsche mark, which meant that hol­i­days were lim­ited to large Euro­pean fam­ily trips ev­ery two to three years. To­day I con­sider my­self priv­i­leged to run a sta­ble busi­ness in Dubai, which means I’m for­tu­nate to travel of­ten – and I don’t think any travel ex­pe­ri­ence, blowout or oth­er­wise, should be put off. Why wait? That honey­moon or an­niver­sary, or what­ever else it is you’re wait­ing for, may prove to be elu­sive – life has a way of throw­ing un­ex­pected curve balls – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t in­dulge in a muchan­tic­i­pated hol­i­day. At my of­fice I en­cour­age staff to take fre­quent breaks to check off bucket-list des­ti­na­tions around the globe, as op­posed to a sin­gle lengthy an­nual trip. Pro­fes­sional life in this day and age can be all-con­sum­ing and in­tense, and when the team takes reg­u­lar breaks to achieve their travel dreams they also en­joy a healthy work/life bal­ance. Im­mers­ing your­self in ex­otic des­ti­na­tions also means that, cul­tur­ally, you are con­stantly be­ing ex­posed to new things. Af­ter ex­plor­ing, you’ve en­riched not only your­self but can come back and share trends and in­sights with those around you. Case in point: one of our di­rec­tors re­cently went to In­done­sia and re­turned with tales of in­ter­est­ing din­ing con­cepts and new food dis­cov­er­ies, which in­spired the whole agency.” “Trav­el­ling the world is one of the great­est gifts. Un­der­stand­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fer­ent coun­tries and cul­tures is ed­u­ca­tional, en­rich­ing and re­ward­ing – even more so when you fi­nally reach that long-dreamt-about des­ti­na­tion that’s been call­ing to you from your bucket list. While it’s tempt­ing to make your wildest travel dreams a re­al­ity on a whim (that ex­pe­di­tion cruise to Antarc­tica, a pri­vateis­land stay in Poly­ne­sia), I think they’re best saved for spe­cial oc­ca­sions, a mile­stone that you want to mark with some­thing equally mem­o­rable and unique – that way each ex­pe­ri­ence will en­hance the other. That doesn’t mean you need to fill an­nual hol­i­days in be­tween with mid­dling ex­cur­sions – here in the GCC we’ve got enough to make our home a spe­cial-oc­ca­sion des­ti­na­tion in it­self. The di­ver­sity of the land­scape and marine world is won­der­ful — vis­it­ing Fu­jairah’s moun­tains and the Gulf of Oman are beau­ti­ful con­trasts to the re­gion’s desertscape. The UAE is in­creas­ingly cul­tur­ally rich, and ex­cit­ingly so. A trip to Abu Dhabi to visit the Lou­vre re­places a jour­ney once solely re­served for Paris. The art scene in Dubai’s Al Serkal Av­enue is en­er­getic, and the Al Fahidi His­tor­i­cal Neigh­bour­hood is fast be­com­ing a her­itage hub. In Shar­jah, its Rain Room is the most re­cent ex­am­ple of an In­sta­grammable phe­nom­e­non. What’s more, we have Burj Al Arab and Burj Khal­ifa in our sights most days, and let’s be hon­est, th­ese are just two of the rea­sons that make Dubai a spe­cial-oc­ca­sion des­ti­na­tion in its own right.”

YES Dr Reem El Mut­walli ARTS AND CUL­TURE EX­PERT, AU­THOROF SULTANI, TRA­DI­TIONS RE­NEWED

NOUr­sula Winzel FOUNDER & CEO,BALCONY8

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