Monthly Review: November 2018

This month initiated my last trip of 2018! After an incredible year of seeing the world, I am so grateful to be wrapping it up with some time in three new countries (Norway, United Arab Emirates, and Oman) and then an old favorite — India! I am half-way through this trip, so a lot of it will spill over into December’s recap; but, all I am going to say is that I envision spending a lot more time in the Middle East in the not-so-distant-future. The hospitality is unlike anything I have experienced before, the lifestyle is incredibly relaxed, the weather is perfect (at this time of year), the food is delicious and (the countries I have been in) are actually ranked the safest places in the world. Anyway, all these things will be written about in more detail once my trip is over, so let’s get into reflecting on the month of November!

Destinations Visited

Cleveland, Ohio

Boston, Massachusetts

Oslo, Norway

Dubai, UAE

Favourite Destination

I love Scandinavia (Copenhagen and Stockholm are two of my favorite places in Europe) and I especially loved being in Oslo during the holiday season because it was such a winter wonderland and certainly got me in the festive mood. Plus, as my sister came to meet me, we were able to explore together which made it even more special!

Highlights & Challenges

Elton John Concert. I had always thought of Elton John as someone that my parents listened to and while I knew his Lion King songs and a couple of classics like “Your Song”, I had never taken the time to listen to him on my own. When my boyfriend had tickets for Fleetwood Mac and Elton John, I was far more excited for the former; but, to my surprise, Elton John was on another level. Wow, that man is talented. I had an out-of-body experience when he and his drummer did a 20-minute improv jam session — I had never seen anything like it.

Back on the Road Again. As I mentioned, October was a serious reset month for me and a time that helped me rebalance and regain some resemblance of an idea of how I want to live going forward (which I wrote about more in this post). This resulted in me being raring to go for my current travels which have me zigzagging across the globe from Boston to Oslo, Dubai, Oman and then Mumbai before heading back to Cleveland for Christmas. I am half-way through this trip and am still feeling full of energy, excited and interested in each and every day and overall really happy. It feels so good to be traveling again, so I know that my life and mindset changes are leading me in the right direction.

A Thanksgiving Feast in Boston’s Chinatown. The night of Thanksgiving I flew from Boston to Oslo, so I spent the day completely on my own with no loved ones in sight! It isn’t all bad because the evening before I had an epic dim sum feast in Boston’s Chinatown. I didn’t limit myself and went all out, ordering four dishes and eating 95%. The food was incredible and I enjoyed taking some time to reflect on the things I am thankful for and drink lots of tea to warm me up after a full day of exploring Boston.

Oslo’s Nobel Peace Center. Undoubtedly my favorite stop in Oslo was the incredible Nobel Peace Center which features temporary exhibits based on last year’s Nobel Prize winners. To be honest, my sister and I weren’t prepared for how heavy the displays were going to be and we walked around with our mouths wide open in disbelief. Currently, the exhibits are Tell The World About Us and Ban The Bomb. The former shows photos from around the world of those who are kept in strictly guarded prisons and other similarly restrictive environments for a variety of reasons. My sister and I had no idea, for example, that women in El Salvador get imprisoned for having an abortion or a miscarriage. The latter is a tribute to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, ICAN, that is working to ban all nuclear weapons and featured striking photos of North Korea and the US next to each other for viewers to see the similarities between nuclear sites. I can’t recommend this museum enough and I foresee myself making many trips back to Oslo merely to see the new exhibits. Next year’s The Body As A Battlefield looks incredible!

Challenges? I miss my boyfriend! And there are the usual challenges — I too often sleep through my alarm, I can’t seem to get on top of an editorial calendar and when I changed over my blog most of the photos didn’t transfer so you may notice that a lot of posts are image-less (I am going to try to deal with that in the new year); but, apart from that, life is pretty good.

Favorite Posts and Videos

How to Cultivate a Traveller’s Mindset (At Home) – Not only did I finally get to post some long-forgotten Cuba photos but I wrote a piece about something I feel passionately about — how you can cultivate a traveler’s mindset at home. I truly believe that being a traveler is a mindset and that you don’t have to fly half-way around the world to hone those skills. I never understand people who dream of what they would do in faraway places while never being interested in their own backyard.

On Changing The Way I Travel – The result of what I have been thinking about for the past few months. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about changing the way I travel in 2019, but I know deep down it is essential for me to be able to sustain the travel lifestyle and to be happier in more areas of my life.

Pack With Me For A Month of Travel – Showing you everything I packed for this current month of travel from my toiletries to my backpack, all my clothes, and a few random extras. I hope that this is helpful for other females who are looking to minimize how much they pack while still having the necessities and ways to feel stylish!

What I Have Loved This Month

  • Fashion – Just before I left on this trip, SheIn sent me this faux fur teddy jacket and it has been my warm companion ever since. I went a size up to ensure that I could layer it with a sweater, a turtleneck and some Uniqlo heattech (another winter favorite) and that was my armor to stay toasty in Boston and Oslo.
  • Beauty – In my travel skincare bag I always have a pack of Peach Slices Acne Patches because these work so well when I feel a spot emerging from too much movement and not enough sleep. Every time I use them I am blown away by how well they work — you just stick one on the blemish area, sleep with it on and in the morning it is gone. Incredible!
  • Books – To help me further understand the history of the Middle East, I am currently reading Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger. The book details Thesiger’s travels through the “Empty Quarter” of Arabia prior to the discovery of oil which changed the whole region.
  • MusicElton John on repeat, over and over and over (particularly “Someone Saved My Life Tonight“, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues“, and “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me“). I should probably make a new playlist for my upcoming Oman road-trip…
  • Food – Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Café was my favorite find in Dubai. Located in the old area of the city, the menu has a wide variety of Emirati offerings which you can enjoy in their beautiful garden patio. I went there once for Arabic coffee and then returned the next day for dinner because the food looked too good to miss!

Plans for December 2018

I am currently in Muscat, Oman. A couple of days ago I took the bus from Dubai to Muscat, Oman and am planning on doing a week-long road-trip around the northern part of this country — with plenty of stops in wadis (the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley), long drives along the coastal roads, and hopefully an overnight stay in the desert! I am so excited to be here because this is one of the least-visited countries in the world yet it is overflowing with natural beauty. And, so far, I have been blown away by the kindness of everyone I have interacted with. Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see daily updates!

Next, Mumbai! After my week in Oman, I will be heading to Mumbai for 10 days to reunite with my boyfriend and return to a city that played an integral role in the early days of my travels. Although I have been to India 4 times before, I haven’t been since I was 19 and I haven’t been in Mumbai since I was 17 in 2010 — 8 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!

Christmas in Cleveland. I will be back in Cleveland for Christmas to celebrate the holidays with my family and prepare for 2019!

How was your November? Let me know in the comments below!


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