As I wrote it on 23 June 2014.
It felt like the longest 7 months of working, planning and working some more, non-stop.
There were days I cried, I fell ill or just felt like I pushed myself too far. There were days when I got cranky as hell or seriously depressed just for being tired and hungry. I was overworked and was skipping meals to either work some more (job) or work on the plans
But as the saying goes, never give up. So, I didn't.
I pushed myself until I feel like I reached my breaking point. I rest to recover from the tension and then I resume working on it again.
The idea hatched in November 2013, one fine (boring) and very eventful (NOT!) day. I thought of how our lives in Dubai have been and what explorations have we done so far. Almost 15 years and I realised we have not really ventured out as a family. In general, we have not really seen much of what the world has to offer and this world is so beautifully created!
The only reason we consider seeing a place was if it's on the way to Philippines, because of work or because we have to visit in-laws. The only place we visited as a couple when we were very young was Turkey. But that's for another story. In a nutshell, we were virgin travelers who ended up eating junk food at food chains and pretty much stuck to conventional set tour and did not wander far from where our hotel was. Go figure! We sure need to go back and give it the explorer's respect it deserves.
I thought, where is the closest place to visit? Somewhere different, somewhere where we are purposely visiting and exploring for the sake of culture, food and adventure. Somewhere where my kids (mostly I) will be just in awe because it is something they only see in movies.
I thought of Europe. Lots of places where it looks like time stood still,,, then the idea hatched! Prague, Czech Republic! It's Europe, it's relatively affordable and relatively close. Hubby's ex-boss loves it and it sounded like a lot of people rave about it.
Suffice to say, I was bitten by the travel bug and it was a serious one. 7 months from the time I thought about traveling, I don't think I'll ever be cured.
By January, 2014, the first trip's ticket and accommodation were paid for. Every month, I enjoyed seeing my personal account full to the brim, just like a full figured woman. Then like having a food disorder, the same account gets massively depleted without mercy as I secure bookings.
I enjoyed ticking boxes and colouring cells as I settled scores. Seeing my "to pay for" cell gets smaller and smaller? What joy!
I planned for 2 months, non-stop. I studied how much I'll earn from my regular work and my part-time jobs. What's the maximum plausible amount per month. Where can we splurge and where can be smart. I ended up having a colourful spreadsheet that compared each route, transportation, connections, travel date options, it was so detailed, some days I have to stop because it gave me real bad headaches. 7 months after, the trip to Prague became a trip to 9 different cities spanning across Europe and America (the last destination got cancelled by the way, we found out we were pregnant! - that's for another story).
I am super proud to say that although it was tough, it will be worth it. The toughest month was when I worked 26 days straight with no weekend breaks. I needed every Dirham I could earn. I want it to be the trip that will be the most memorable for all of us. I did not want my husband to know the gravity of this trip and so he will only find out when we start applying for visas.
For now, four days to go and we will get to see Czech Republic and its old world beauty. I am beyond excited!
We used to flip through the pages of glossy magazines or colourful webpages, drool and gawk at gorgeous places we only dreamed of seeing. We used to daydream over the idea of food we might never get to taste. Wondered how each destination feels.