This month I’ve hopped over to Bahrain a few times for writing projects, dinners with new friends, breakfasts with old friends, and a touch of birthday festivities. The setting was, as always, spectacular, even if there were a few challenges…
One of my favorite parts of being a writer is doing research. To write confidently and to fully inhabit the world you are creating for your characters, you have to do the groundwork which can mean reading books, interviewing people, eating certain foods, listening to certain music, anything and everything that might help to paint a fully realized fictional world.
Do you want to know the secret to a perfect weekend getaway in Bahrain? For me, it all comes down to three things:
Want to know a hotel that gets gold stars for all three…?
Some of my earliest memories are of toddling around the back alleys of Khobar, peeking into dusty shops, clambering up stacks of carpets, meeting laughing shopkeepers who always insisted on giving me little gifts, and, of course, eating all the delicious street food I could convince my parents to buy for me. Those days in the souqs and markets always felt like a grand adventure; I remember feeling that there was another surprise or treasure or tiny shop packed with magic trinkets just waiting around every corner, all I had to do was keeping walking and I would be sure to discover it.
Well, I have to admit, that feeling is still there. It’s one of the reasons why I still love to explore a good souq, especially the souqs in Bahrain. So, last Saturday, that is exactly what we did.
Last week I received an invitation that made my heart skip a beat – Four Seasons Bahrain Bay and Wolfgang Puck, what a magical combination!
I started across the causeway late and checked into my hotel with just enough time to have a quick bite to eat and enjoy the always spectacular view from my room. I always request to stay in this same room because even on an overcast day I never get tired of the view.
Then it was time to hop in the car and head to Amwaj island…for the first time that weekend. The very lovely people at Art Rotana invited me to the opening of their new wine bar, Cellar 59. I was impressed from the start.
I’m a 3rd generation expat, born in Saudi Arabia to expat parents. They also grew up as globetrotters and spent most of their childhoods in Arabia. Wanderlust can be hereditary, it seems. Before my 2nd birthday my parents took me around the world more than once; in those two years we visited Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China, Rome, Hawaii, Texas, Egypt, France, and, of course, Disney World. I’m exhausted just typing that sentence, I can’t even comprehend how my parents did it with a baby in tow. Dubious parental sanity aside, it’s clear that traveling was part of my DNA from the start.
For someone who is a dedicated homebody I’ve racked up a lot of miles over the years; by 18 I had traveled to more than 40 countries and lived on 4 continents. At this point I can’t imagine a life that doesn’t involve over-stamped passports, battered luggage, and frequent flier miles on half a dozen airlines. The funny thing is, (or perhaps it’s predictable, given my rootless upbringing) as much as I love to travel, I’m simultaneously loathe to leave home, so over the years I’ve perfected the art of making myself at home on the road. Here are my top 5 tips for my fellow globetrotting homebodies: