OH, THE PLACES I'VE BEEN!
Who doesn't love a good trip? The excitement while heading to the airport, planning your outfit for each day, settling into a hotel, seeing all of the different lifestyles, eating yummy local foods, exploring a new city, shopping in a new city (hehe)... it's all just so refreshing and exhilarating! To be honest, traveling has been a norm for me my entire life due to my dad's career! As a kid, I would travel like 6 weeks straight in the summer and most weekends during school. That stopped when I got into middle school and actually had priorities back at home, but even then we set a couple of weeks aside in the summer for traveling. Soooooo, now that summer's here I am like dying to go on another adventure & experience a new culture. I've discussed many of my bucket-list vacay spots with my parents in hopes that one sparks their interest... however, nothing has been set in stone😕. My family and I have been lucky enough to travel overseas and I just wanted to share with you some of the amazing places which DEFINITELY need to be on your bucket list.
Apparently I've been to Europe before for a golf tournament as a baby, but I don't really count that because I don't remember it. I've also been to Canada a couple of times, but I was younger then as well and I don't really count Canada as a huge out of the country experience either. So, what I consider my first out-of-the-country experience was Sun City, South Africa. I want to say we went three times in total, but it might've only been two. Whatever it was, it's the only place out of the country I've been to more than once and hands down the most amazing place I've ever been. The intriguing culture, kind hospitality, extravagant hotels/huts we stayed in, outrageous wild-life experiences, & the too-out-of-the-norm food for an eight year old to eat is just something you can't beat. My boyfriend's family is actually all from over there so it's super cool to be able to both have ties to South Africa!! Definitely somewhere I see myself visiting again... and again and again and again, haha! My experience in Sun City through pictures:
On our first trip, we stayed in this beyond beautiful hotel called The Palace. From what I can remember, it was amazing. It had an unbelievable pool and below it there was a walkway to an entire water park. I can vividly remember eating grilled cheese by the pool & being grossed out by the ketchup because it wasn't Heinz, oops!
On the second trip, we stayed in this amazing little hut and I cannot tell you how jaw dropping it was. You walked in and the entire house was open; there was no back wall. Instead, it continued out to the porch where there was a pool. Behind the pool and below our hut, was a waterhole where Zebras and other animals would come to drink! It was just such an amazing place to be.
On both trips, we took safari rides where we would wake up at the crack of dawn and get back to our places in the evening time. This was like the zoo on steroids. Except the zoo on steroids would probably be more hectic and congested and this was the complete opposite, so that made no sense. What I meant was that out there, you see all of the different and wild animals that you don't get to see at the zoo that are roaming around an open and free plain: zebra, giraffes, lions, wild dogs, wildebeest, rhinos, etc. We would stop in specific locations, hop out, and go to the bathroom in the middle of the wild, the adults would drink and have snacks while us kids had hot chocolate, and we would all take pictures with one another!
Not only did we get to see many wild animals, but we even got to pet, feed, and ride some!!!
The golf tournament held this dinner party and there were african dancers, people in animal costumes, face painters, a buffet, and long tables to eat with a fire pit in the middle! I could not resist from the face paint and people in animal suits as you can tell, lol.
Moving onto the next country I've been to, the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)! This trip was a much more recent one; in fact, I went in January of this year. A couple years back, my dad actually won this tournament with my mom caddying for him so, the directors invited him back to play again this year! My brother unfortunately couldn't make it with us because he had his own golf priorities; however, my sister and I went and had an unbelievable time. We stayed at the wonderful St. Regis hotel in Saadiyat Island and experienced the amazing culture of the U.A.E. Even though we stayed in Abu Dhabi, we drove to Dubai one of the days and did a bunch of cool things. Seeing how different their culture is than mine was unreal and such an amazing thing to observe. Seeing all the Sheikh's with their headdresses, the women wearing burkas, and learning about the polygamy the men in their culture are entitled to was so interesting! You might be thinking, isn't it sort of dangerous in the middle east? Not where I was, I never for a second felt unsafe over in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Another amazing thing about Abu Dhabi was their weather in January... it was like 75 every day. Here's some pictures to show you what my experience was like:
We stayed at the St. Regis and had an amazing suite. The view off of our balcony was unreal and the beach was breathtaking! Like I said, the weather was awesome, seriously like California weather.
One of the days, we drove over to Dubai and spent the entire day at the Dubai mall. We even went zip lining in the famous indoor ski mountain! Most of the city in Abu Dhabi and Dubai were under construction, but the buildings that were done were so modern looking and amazing!
So, we also experienced some more outdoorsy activities such as kayaking through mangroves, off-roading over sand dunes, camel riding, and belly dancing in a traditional village!
Another very traditional and jaw-dropping experience we did was tour the Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It was honestly one of the most detailed, extravagant, and all around magnificently beautiful things I've ever seen in my life.
I've truly been blessed to already have gone to a couple of amazing places outside of the country and experience different cultures and lifestyles. I am definitely such a travel seeker and hope for a future full of new adventures! I hope you all enjoyed the pictures and reading the things I did while I was over there! I also hope I've influenced you to add one of these intriguing places to your bucket-list! All these pictures make me miss my trips, haha!!