Two Sides To Every Travel Coin

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Traveling is a little piece of perfection, isn’t it?

We dream and plan and finally go.  We execute said plan and everything falls into place.  It’s memorable.  It’s moving.  We bond with our traveling companions.  We soak up each experience and document it with perfect photos.  Later we slowly flip through beautiful scrapbooks of our trips and remember those sacred glimpses of the world and reflect with gratitude.

Seriously.  I think we actually kind of hope for that.

And then, shockingly, things don’t go this way.  Ever.  Or maybe it’s just me.  Because in my experience, travel always goes a little bit awry.  If you’ve known me for any length of time, you can probably conjure up an image or two or perhaps a story of travel hilarity that didn’t seem so hilarious at the time.  Lost passports, snow storms, tow trucks, fallen trees, night time alarms, breaking into car lots, or catching some shut eye in a cemetery.  These things happen.  This is real life travel.

So we find ourselves on a new side of the world and anxious to explore.  It’s one of the rewards for the difficulties we’ve been wading through.  And I want to post pictures of our travels on this blog, partly because people have asked to see them, but mostly for my own personal benefit – a travel log of sorts.  But, if I’m going to post pictures of the beautiful places we have the privilege of visiting, I must insist on sharing the flip side of the coin.  Because one side of every travel coin is shiny and gorgeous, but the other side is not always pretty.

The flip side had mistakes and misses.  It has delays and detours.  It has miscommunication, overreaction, weariness, and low blood sugar.

burj fullThis weekend we went on our first trip to Dubai.  And it had a very shiny happy side.  We had a great time and saw amazing sites.  I will never forget stepping out the doors from the Dubai mall into the warm night air, just as the fountains started spraying and the music started playing and I looked up at the tallest building in the world lit up in it’s spectacular beauty.  Breathtaking.  Or our first swim in the hot, crystal blue waters of the gulf, staring back at the white sand of the Dubai shoreline.  I was so grateful to be right where I was in that moment.  And my personal favorite moment, sitting at the Cheesecake Factory with my little family celebrating my birthday and feeling so blessed by the three people at my table.

The trip was not without it’s flip side, of course.  It began when we couldn’t check into our hotel because we had forgotten to bring our passports with us.  If they invent a way to have your passport bar code inserted under your skin, I’m gonna be first in line, people.  Seriously!  Passports are nothing but stress in my life!  If it has to go in my groin, I’m okay with that.  If I can never be in a room with a microwave again, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.  Friggin’ passports!!  Aaaanyway, we diverted that disaster.  Deep breath.  Then Dwayne and I faced the challenge of navigating a large and busy city in our rental car with nothing but a tourist map that made every attraction cartoonishly big and left out minor details like road names.  Our marriage is already a little bruised after a month of relocation stress, so you can probably imagine how well some of that went.  In between the lines of these pretty pictures is a number of arguments, meltdowns, and dehydration headaches.

But, the dark side of our first Dubai travel coin was pretty minor.  The fleeting moments of “I want to jump off this bridge just to get away from my family” were overruled by more than a few “wow – this is beautiful” and “you guys are the best” moments.  (PS. If you don’t ever experience these kinds of terrible, fleeting thoughts about your loved ones, you’re probably not gonna appreciate this blog on a regular basis.  Just a heads up.)

So, with no further ado, for there has been much ado already, here are some photo highlights of Dubai 1.0.

The drive from Al Ain to Dubai.  Ninety minutes of smooth sailing.

drive to dubai

The pond and pool at the Courtyard Marriott, where we won a free night’s stay.

poolsidepool nightThe aquarium at the Dubai Mall.  The sharks are over, beside and under.  It’s impressive.  And distracting during photos.

outside aquarium


You can pay to swim with and feed the fish.  That guy looked a little too smothered for my liking.

fish feedingmanta ray

Two peeks at the Burj Khalifa- through the ceiling of the Dubai Mall and through the walkway outside.

burj peekburj through

On the beach at the marina.  The water felt like a hot bath.

beachgulf stepsAtlantis Dubai on Palm Jumeirah.  Spectacular.


There’s a little glimpse of the shiny side of the coin.  Beautiful.


5 thoughts on “Two Sides To Every Travel Coin

    Haley Campbell said:
    September 28, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing the shiny and the not-so much 🙂 On a huge plus for Dubai, I’m assuming that you didn’t destroy or scale any parking compounds 😉

      jendhansen responded:
      September 29, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      True Haley! No compound was illegally entered or even banged upon in anger during this trip. 😉

    joshandbeckee said:
    September 29, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    You are funny! I laughed out loud at parts. I am glad I get something good out of your misery 😉

      jendhansen responded:
      September 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      I am also glad you get something good. But, it’s not misery. It’s “adventure.” 😉

    Amanda said:
    October 3, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Thanks for the update. Trusting where our faith is without borders is so little about location! The pics and commentary were great, but your PS- I’ll be back on a regular basis. 😉 Warmest wishes as you settle in to this adventure.

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