Well, kind of.
I went into 2020 with a handful of goals and changes set for myself. And boy did change happen. But like, you know, everyone else, I did not expect the monumental hit that was barreling our way.
Working on a travel magazine, as soon COVID-19 started to spread and flights started getting canceled and borders started snapping shut, I knew with near-certainty my job would not survive this pandemic. So at least I was mentally prepared when that shoe finally did drop. Not to say I did not feel devastated by the loss, but it was no shock. Even so, back then — the pandemic’s early days when Dubai had just begun its soon-to-be month-long lockdown, wherein residents could not even leave their homes for necessities without a permit — I was buoyed by a (naive?) sort of optimism and excitement about what was next in store for me. Remember, I had big plans for change this year even before the world as we knew it came to a screeching halt. And now my hand was forced. Change had to happen. It was sink or swim.
What I knew was that I did not want to leave the UAE. And yadda yadda yadda, six months later, I now live down the (Sheikh Zayed) road in Abu Dhabi — the UAE’s capital. I’m no longer in media/publishing, which aligned with my pre-pandemic goals, but I absolutely plan on continuing writing about the places I travel — and my discoveries and experiences in my new city (plug: I’m available for writing commissions!).
Despite living in neighboring Dubai for 12 years (and two months!), I’ve spent little time in the capital (and even less time beyond the doors of its hotels and resorts), and I’m looking forward to properly getting to know the place. The mangroves, the low-key eateries peppering Markaziyah, the jogs (more like walks) along the Corniche… Stay tuned for more on that to come in this space.
Dubai, we’ve had some relationship since 2008. You’ve alternately offered me some of the best experiences, opportunities and friendships and driven me absolutely mad. It’s been a blast watching you grow and evolve and celebrating your openings (oh so many champagne-soaked hotel, restaurant and everything-else launch parties). It’s also been exhausting. I’ll miss you, but I’m cautiously optimistic about enjoying the more laid-back pace of Abu Dhabi — while still being able to pop over to Dubai for an OTT weekend whenever the fancy strikes. Sounds like the perfect medium.
Damnit I am going to miss my DIFC view though…