I am standing in front of the Emirates Towers in Dubai finishing a cup of Starbucks before getting on the Metro. My work in this city is done and it’s about 11 hours until my flight takes off. Why my flight leaves at 2am, I do not know.
I counted the Rolls Royces passing down Sheikh Zayed Road, a street as ostentatious as the words, “I am standing in front of the Emirates Towers in Dubai finishing a cup of Starbucks“. I found myself visualizing my tiny spot on the Earth at this moment. I am in a time zone +4 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, or crudely half-way between favorite hangouts, Shanghai and London. I am 9 times zones away from New York another favorite hangout. Finally, I am 12 time zones or half-way around the world, from my wife and daughter, who I am looking forward to seeing in 40+ hours.
At the age of 10, I started traveling unaccompanied to London to visit family. I remember following the crowd through Heathrow Airport to passport control and then on to see my grandmother on the other side of security. Over my life, I’ve lost track of the visits to Europe. Heck, in the past 5 years I’ve lost track of my trips to Europe. I have become blasé about travel, both domestic and international.
But in this moment, I am humbled to be standing so far from away from home.The words Vive La Différence come to mind. I think I had to be so much further away than normal and so far out of my comfort zone to have the appreciation of the opportunities that I have been given me (or earned as the case could be). I see places and things that this little boy from Long Beach, New York never would have dreamed he would. I also get to share them, to a certain extent with friends back home, through pictures and stories.
Maybe it’s because this morning I showered in water that probably came from the Persian Gulf? Maybe it’s idea of being in the middle of the desert, so close to Iraq? Who knows, but for today, I am feeling appreciative, blessed…. and jet lagged.