#TravelDiary: 2015 On a high in Dubai

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Call me weird, but I seem to believe that odd years have been the most fruitful for me oppose to even years. Since I entered the world in 1991, your girl has thrived in every odd year since lol. Aunty Lorna (my mum) says that it is down to the seasons of life but I just believe it is down to the year. To have a better understanding of my trip to Dubai, I need to give you insight into where I was in my life during that time.

It was the year 2015 and my mindset was so focused on experiencing a turnaround. After a turbulent end to 2014, I was keen to see things do a swift 360 and they did. I landed my first graduate job as a Research Assistant at Kings College London University. Following a sudden illness, I made some lifestyle changes that resulted in me overcoming some major health challenges. Blessings were flowing and everyone was receiving something. I played in the Notting Hill carnival that year and I was so high on life. Things were finally looking up after being upside down for so long.  So a trip to Dubai at the end of the summer (September 2015) was literally the cherry on top of all the goodness that I was experiencing.

I had been fascinated with Dubai for many years and I always wanted to go. I am not sure why, but Dubai was the place on everybody’s lips. If you had been to Dubai, you were saying a lot. When I uploaded my first batch of Dubai pics, I was sure to drop my location and let everybody know that your girl was in town. However, going to Dubai for me was much more than just showing off on the socials with bigger than life captions.

A year before my trip to Dubai, I was in a place of turmoil. I was drowning in Postgraduate depression, something that is so common but sadly not spoken about enough. In addition to this I recovering from an unexpected illness and questioning whether God was real or fake. Now those are just some of the things that I was going through that I am now willing to open up and talk about. To the outsiders looking in, me flying to Dubai and posting all over the gram, I just looked like an over the top show off.  However, that was far from the case. If you have ever been through a storm in life and you make it out on the other side, alive, you just shine differently.

My trip to Dubai will always remind me of how God miraculously made a way for me. I don’t know how but he did it. My Dubai trip felt like a gift that I received after passing all of those obstacles and challenges. Have you ever had so many doors close in your face, that when the right door finally opens it makes sense why the others didn’t? Yeah, that’s just how I feel about that whole experience.

Dubai was so long ago, so with what I can remember I broke my trip down in different categories, enjoy.

The Hotel

I stayed in the 5-star hotel chain the Sofitelon Jumeirah beach on a half board basis. One thing I didn’t know prior to checking in was the 20 dirham a day tourist tax. I was young in the travel game back then, so things like that didn’t even cross my mind to check before travelling. If you plan to visit Dubai, spend some time doing some travel planning and research, visitdubai.com is a great place to start, so do check it out.

The Sofitel did not disappoint, as you know I am such a sucker for a luxurious, nice, clean hotel with all of the trimmings and it served me just that. The location of my hotel was so ideal and I couldn’t have been happier. It had absolutely everything within walking distance. I would highly recommend staying by Jumeirah Beach as it closely connected to most things.

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The food

I ate a lot of junk food in Dubai, it wasn’t intentional but fast food was very convenient. On my first night, I had KFC and it was nothing to write home about because we all know that Jamaica has the best KFC in the world. People have told me that Trinidad KFC could give Jamaica a run for its money, but I am yet to try it, so Jamaica still stands at number one, lol.

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Panda Express was my go-to for lunch because the food was tasty and cheap lol. Chinese food is always a good idea and I rinsed this place out on a daily basis. However, for me, The Cheesecake Factory was hands down the best food that I had in Dubai on my trip. From the main meals right down to the desserts, The Cheesecake Factory was truly about that life. Please, please please it is not possible to visit Dubai without giving this place a try.

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The Mall

The Dubai mall felt like an adventure playground, with lots to see and even much more to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any major shopping. I was more focused on booking activities and making sure that I had money to eat and pay my share for taxi trips. I loved the mall, but I was super conscious about what I wore and how I conducted myself. I was not interested in getting arrested abroad for my family to be making sad appeals on Good morning Britain. I was on my best behaviour because I really didn’t want any problems. I am not sure how much things have changed now, but whenever I go away I make it my duty to adhere to the customs of that particular culture.

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The Transport

Dubai is not an easy place to travel around like London. It is filled with too many highways and one way systems that make short journeys 10 x longer. The taxi system was a bump back then. I disliked using the taxis because most drivers were rude and obnoxious. Especially to us Black women. It was just a complete nightmare. Hopefully, they now have Uber, but I wouldn’t even trust that either. The trains ran a much better service. It was efficient, clean and very easy to use. Although men, women and children were required to go into separate carriages or be at risk of getting a fine. I always recommend for travellers to use the local transport systems, as it allows you to get a real feel of the country that you are visiting.

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The Nightlife 

The Nightlife in Dubai was pretty decent. Most of the clubs were situated in fancy hotels. Everything was plush, boujee and proper, just how I like it. Raving in Dubai never gave me that trashy feeling, everything felt expensive, lol. The clubs were strict, Ladies don’t think you can take your heels off and leave them in one corner, security will put you in check.

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I found that there were more men than women in the clubs, but I kind of expected that. Men of all ages who made sure their money did all the talking, without any introductions. I received a few offers in Dubai, all of which I nicely declined. I didn’t fancy being pumped out for a few labels as it has never really been my thing, lol. The only downside to the Dubai nightlife is that ravers were allowed to smoke in the clubs. It was the worst thing ever, we had to wash our bundles daily just to get rid of the stench. YUCK.

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My best clubbing experience in Dubai was at Cirque Le Soir. A boujee, circus theme nightclub, filled with burlesque dancers, fire eaters, an indoor funfair and multiple DJs. I had never experienced anything like it prior, but I would definitely recommend it if you want an unusual raving experience. The Dubai nightlife was pure fun, I even unexpectedly bumped into my sis @Mybreakingviews. We both went to secondary school together and it is amazing to now see where God is taking us on this Travel & Lifestyle blogging journey. Check out my sis, she has some great content out and even much more to come.

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How did I forget to mention that I had a dance-clash with one of the local dancer girls at one Dancehall/Reggae party? I couldn’t believe she actually challenged me, lol the poor thing didn’t stand a chance. I wiped the floor with her but I felt so bad after so we ended up hugging it out. If you have ever seen the film Dancehall queen you will know exactly what I am talking about. If not, click here lol

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The Activities

I did the Dubai Bus tour and I hated it. I felt like we wasted a day driving around getting fried in the sun. It is a great way to learn about the history of Dubai and do some sightseeing, but it just wasn’t for me.

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One activity I did enjoy was the Desert safari  it was so sick and I am pissed that I lost most of my Dubai footage. The Desert safari package was definitely worth it, I did so many activities in one go. I got a chance to ride a camel again, see belly dancers, try on a burka and hijab and have dinner in the middle of the Desert. This activity comes highly recommended as it was great value for money, which I would like to experience do again.

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I am not sure if I had mentioned this before, but I do not know how to swim. The time that I have been worried about being 26 & never been on a Bae-cation… I need to learn how to swim, lol. I will eventually, but whilst I was in Dubai your girl was clueless about swimming. It didn’t stop me from going on the Jet skis though. Sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway and I did just that.

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On my last night in town, I went to visit The Burj Khalifa and it was nothing short of amazing. How can you visit Dubai and not go to see one of the world’s largest skyscrapers? Once I got to the top, I watched a lovely firework display and it truly was a sight to remember. What a good way to end such an amazing trip. I felt so proud that I was able to take myself to Dubai and be able to see such a major landmark. Below is my favourite picture from this trip, I was sitting inside of the Burj Khalifa admiring the view. I uploaded this on Instagram with a caption saying “Hello Burj Khalifa, I am just a little black girl coming from Myatt’s field estate, now as a Young Woman, I am exploring different parts of the world”.

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One thing for sure, I have stayed true to that statement and I won’t stop travelling. I pray that God will spare my life to allow me to go out into the world and see much more of it.

DUBAI is an amazing place and if you haven’t already book a trip and get out there ASAP.  I can’t wait to go back to explore and see all of the new developments since my last visit. Dubai will always be a yes for me and it is one of those places that I will always be up for going back to again and again.

My Next Travel blog post will be about my 2016 trip to Miami and you really don’t want to miss that.

Anyways my Loves, you can find me on all the socials @Jennasworldview

Please keep reading, liking and sharing.

Stay Blessed

Lots of love

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Jenna

xoxo

#TravelDiary:Like 2pac in 93, I get around

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When I launched JWV last month (March 2018), I kicked it off with a blog post about my recent trip to Rome (You can read about it here). I basically took my readers to Rome through a descriptive recap of how it all went down and it was a VIBE, if I do say so myself.

But, as I have said before I haven’t just been to Rome. Your girl has made a couple of trips here and there. Although it might not be as much as the average travel blogger, I have made some movements. I could be wrong but I don’t think there is a minimum amount of countries you are required to visit yearly to qualify as a travel blogger. If you love to travel, do it frequently and have the capacity to put out content, then BOOM you are good to go.

The most countries that I have visited in one year is three (2013 & 2017). Some people have the capacity to travel much more than that and that too is amazing. Whether you travel once a year or more, be grateful. As there are loads of people who would love to do it but just don’t have the time or resources.

So here is part one of my travel diary. I don’t have any pictures of my travel trips as a baby though. Issa long story, but have a read below, enjoy and stay tuned for part two coming soon.

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2002 – Miami

Daddy took his baby girl to Miami…

When my Dad told me he was taking me to Miami, Florida back in 2002. I was gassed. Super excited. Right up until I arrived in Miami, I kept singing “All night, on the beach till the break of dawn. Welcome to Miami, Bienvenidos a Miami”.  Hella cheesy but I was only 10 years old, so give me a break lol.

It was not all fun and games though because the real reason for this trip was my Grans funeral. If you ever had a death in the family you will know that it is usually filled with tears, sadness and “ole leap ah drama”. My Pups did a good job to keep me out of that though. I spent most of my time out shopping, recreating the Destiny’s Child “I’m a survivor” beach scenes at the beach, eating and of course a trip to Disneyland. I remember it like it was yesterday. I felt like one of those celebrity kids,anything I wanted or needed, my Daddy made it happen.

This was my first trip to the USA and if you read my (Is Sisterhood dying out here in these streets?) blog post last month, I shared how much I followed Black American Culture growing up. So you can just imagine how much of a field day I had out there. I was fascinated with everything because everything was literally 10 x larger than the stuff in the UK, especially the junk food.

I loved my time spent in Miami because it allowed me to reconnect with my Dads family on another level. I learned a bit more about my Fathers foundation and the type of family that I was born into.  I listened to him and his siblings share their childhood stories and looked through 100s of old photos. It really helped me piece together elements of my identity and of course understand a bit more about my Jamaican heritage.

2007 – Italy

Learning a thing or two in Florence…

My first school trip abroad and it didnt disappoint, I had so much fun. We didn’t fly though, we made our way to Dover got on the ferry and drove the entire way into Florence. It was everything I imagined a school trip to be plus more. I can remember sitting on the Coach with my Song Ericsson W810 listening to “Seany B ft Gemma Fox – Us against the world” (CHANNEL U classic) and thinking about my first boyfriend, who sadly was in jail at the time (sigh lol).  Anyway, the trip was eventful, educational and fun. I climbed the leaning tower of Piasa all the top to the top. Tossed coins in Trevi fountain, I made a promise to return & I did (click here to read about it). I also visited ‘La Specola Anatomical Collection, the largest and most famous wax anatomical collection anywhere in the world. After this trip, I vowed to myself that when I got a little bit older I would travel around the world as much as I could. It is safe to say that self- fulfilling prophecy is currently manifesting.

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2010 – New York

Big dreams in the concrete jungle…

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If you don’t know by now, I love Black America. I always have and I probably always will. When the opportunity presented itself for me to go to NEW YORKKKKK, I was all over that like Bees on honey. I had started my 2nd Job in ALLSAINTS head office the December of 2009 (shout out to my God sister for the hook up) and when I tell you I put in work for every bit of GBP that I earned to make that trip to New York possible.

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I don’t think no one truly understands just how much my heart bleeds for America, especially New York. I used to dream about living and working out there for yearssssss. It was a dream come true when I finally stepped on NYC soil. As soon as I checked into my hotel, I dropped my bags off and ran out onto Times Square. Those brights lights penetrated right through me and I couldn’t hold back my excitement. To dream about this place as a child and to finally be there many years later, confirmed to me that anything in life is possible. If you really want it!

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New York, has a piece of my heart. In some weird way, I feel like God has something patterned out there for me. I am not sure what that may be, but if the opportunity presents itself I will surely be ready.  I spent most of this trip shopping as sightseeing was kept to a minimal. I even declined to visit Ground Zero because I felt overwhelmed being quite close to the grounds. The shopping in NYC was top notch, I felt like a kid in a candy store and came home with two suitcases packed to capacity. I also got a chance to visit the Maury show, I was a big fan back then, so it was such a vibe to go down there and see everything up close and personal. I even got a chance to visit HARLEM and my oh my, it truly felt like being back home in BRIXTON. The multi-culture of the people and the vibes of the community felt oh so familiar. New York needs to see me again, as I have so much to see and much more to do.

2012 – Dominican Republic

Scared straight in the DR…

This trip to the Dominican Republic came about after a random convo one night on BBM. DR has got to be one of the safest holidays that I have ever been on. Reading those government safety warnings before travelling really made us take extra care. We were so scared on this holiday to the point where we only left the hotel complex, to go to the beach. Looking back now, I feel very dumb. Like a pie slapped in my face kinda dumb, lol. We were under the impression we would get kidnapped by our neighbours in Haiti or even some pirates. Lord forgive us for that high level of ignorance.

We stayed at the Ifa villas Bravo all-inclusive resort, which included spa facilities of course lol. The food wasn’t that great but the beach and spa made up for it. If you ever get a chance to experience a full chocolate body massage, do it. The pictures from this trip are hilarious. My weave was about 26 INCHES (see below) and my travel case was filled with maxi dresses and sandals.

Relaxing, taking pictures for Instagram (it was the new thing back then) and recording videos of ourselves rapping to Rick Ross & Drake was mainly what this trip consisted of. I do regret not exploring as much, but I was a novice in the Travel game back then. Its safe to say that the Dominican Republic needs a do-over, Baecation maybe? lol

2013 – Turkey

Young & not so carefree in Turkey…

I believe my whole trip cost me about £389 for a one week all-inclusive trip to Marmaris. I didn’t really know what to expect but it actually turned out to be better than I could of imagined. I enjoyed a photo shoot on a boat, I got dipped in Marmaris Jesus beach and I went snorkelling for the first time. I even survived Quad biking through the forest and experienced my first EVER Turkish bath.

My mum went into a crazy frenzy when she saw the picture of me blowing out the Shisha smoke, lol. Black Mothers & their theatrics never cease to amaze me, lol. Even when you become a legal adult your parents still don’t know how to let go of you. If my mum knew how many takes it took to get this one picture, she would not have wasted her time cussing me out.

This was my first holiday as a 21-year-old woman. It was during one of the best times in my life. My friendship circle, social life and education were truly buzzing. Life was good, life was really good and this trip was like a cherry on top of all the great things that were happening in my life.

2013 – Jamaica

Likkle miss, Likkle miss ah gwan like she big in Jamaica…

Going to Jamaica as a 21-year-old adult is much different than when you go there as a child with adult supervision. I need you to understand that when it came to leaving Jamaica, I cried like a big baby at the airport. I didn’t want to go home. My spirit was so peaceful and I felt free. I literally had no cares in the world, the only thing that was on my mind was my motives for each day.

Jamaica was everything plus more.  I was on such a high as I had played in the London Nottinghill carnival two weeks before flying out . So you know my head was still on a high from the moment I got on that plane. My Jamaica antics were plain and simple. I went to a dance every night, strolled back to the hotel at 7 am most mornings, I felt shame every single time and did it again the next day, LOL. I stayed at the Sunset Grande which has now been renovated and renamed Moon Palace.

I visited Dolphin Cove, Dunn’s Rivers Falls, Bob Marley’s Mausoleum. I ate KFC, juicy patties, box food and slurped bag juice on a daily basis. I even went to the infamous adult entertainment nightclub SHADES. I was truly horrified,because what I saw in that nightclub traumatized me for life. Google that if you are bad, but do it at your own risk, lool.

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In all honesty though you can never go to Jamaica and hate it, it’s just not possible.

2013 – Morocco 

Weekend antics in Morocco…

This was the first time that I ever took a flight by myself. Things were going well until I had to stop off in Casa Blanca for my connecting flight to Marrakesh. How was I supposed to know that my luggage would be transferred onto the next flight, without me having to go through bag drop again? Please believe I was crying frantically all through that airport. If you read ‘When in Rome, do shows‘ you will know that I am not fluent in any other language apart from English. I didn’t understand a word of Arabic and I am sure the airport staff couldn’t understand my English through snot & tears lol.

To cut a long story short, I managed to get my luggage once on the other side. I spent the weekend in a private 4 bedroom villa, which included individual bathrooms, wifi, an outdoor pool, private chef with a chauffeur.

Nikki Beach, Camel rides and fine dining at the Four Seasons hotel, were just some of the great memories that I made in Morocco. It truly deserves a do-over, but it will probably be somewhere I will go with my Husband for one of our getaways or anniversary trips. I am not married just yet guys, but my Husband will soon find me, so watch this space, lol.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my Travel diary, look out for Part 2 coming soon. Also let me know if we have been to any of the same places or if you plan to visit some of the places that I have.

If you are flying out this year and need help with your Travel Wardrobe, check out the first edition of #JWV TravelGlam Lookbook for some style tips & inspiration.

Need help packing your travel case? I got you, check out  #JWV Top 10 Travel essentials to help you get things in order.

As always my boo, thank you for reading.

If you enjoyed this blog post or any others, please re-post on your socials.

Stay blessed Peeps

Lots of Love

Jenna

xoxox