Just a few months ago, never would I have imagined that I would be sitting right here on a balcony overlooking the Arabian desert in Abu Dhabi. I came across pictures of this picturesque hotel months ago and had them saved on my Pinterest thinking maybe, someday. I did not expect that someday would have happened so soon.
Traveling during a pandemic goes hand in hand with tons of risks and I had expected for the unexpected right until the very moment the airplane started taxing on the runway of Dubai’s International Airport. Naturally, my mind would conjure up the worst-case scenarios that could have just instantly put an end to this thing that I would call a dream. I reckon, that is how I have always coped with reality, by conjuring up the worst just so I could be “prepared” and anything bad that falls short is just “luck”. But I am just beyond grateful that things have gone rather swimmingly and that I get to do the thing I love the most again after two long years.
As I sat at the corner of the arrival hall, killing some time before we could check into our hotel, I saw many wondrous moments. Teary children reunited with their parents, spouses exchanging long warm embraces, and their joy was so palpable that it brought tears to my eyes. It is heart wrenching to think that some of us had and still have to be separated from our loved ones for so long and it is more painful to think about how some of us don’t get to see our loved ones ever again. Two years is a long a time. With everything that is happening, I guess some would call it selfish to travel at this time. But honestly, I am just glad that there is a sense of normalcy that is gradually resurfacing.
Sitting here, it does feel like a dream. Occasionally, I would close my eyes and hope to god that this is real and imagine my utter relief knowing that it isn’t just like another dream with a shitty ending.
This time, I am here.