I don't love traveling--I enjoy visiting foreign countries, but I detest the process of getting to the destination. That's why, when a friend selected me to join a small group of teachers on a study tour to Oman, I nearly said no. One part of me wanted to go on the trip, knowing full-well that the instant I got there, I would be happy I came--but a much bigger part of me just wanted to enjoy my winter break at home. Of course, the adventurous side of me won, and I went to Oman in December. I am so glad I did.
Oman was a revelation.
As a seasoned traveler, it is easy to become complacent and think you "know it all." My trip to Oman was the fifth time I'd traveled to the Middle East, and I was confident that Oman would feel like the other countries I'd visited.
I've never experienced love at first sight, but I think I understand the concept better because, after one day in Oman, I was in love. The country is a beautiful juxtaposition of tradition and modernity. They fully embrace globalization and outsiders, while still managing to retain the cultural elements that make them unique. Coupled with the fact that they won the geographic jackpot for the region--gorgeous mountains and lots of water--making it a picturesque location.
As a Humanities / World History teacher, I love to see how countries blend their history and culture. Oman set the bar high. Almost everywhere you can find the blending of Islamic Art and Architectural styles from throughout Afro-Eurasia. Nothing was left to chance--even doors and lampposts showed a thoughtful display of design.
Instead of talking about Oman, I will just show you.
Seriously, don't even hesitate -- go to Oman. It is safe, beautiful, and so far, short on tourists--you can thank me later.
If you take a 14-hour direct flight from Dallas to Dubai, here is a tip. During the long haul (i.e., the time between meal service) if you head to the farthest galley, you will discover a bouquet of treats and snacks. After watching, Greg, one of my traveling companions ask for and receive two chocolate bars from a flight attendant; I began to realize that there were some secrets to international flights of which I was unaware. Marci (another traveling companion) confirmed that she enjoyed some chocolates as well. It makes me a tad bit ashamed to have only learned this after we landed. I have taken more than 20 international flights, and yet this was news to me. Never fear, I didn't make the same mistake on the return flight.