Updated: Oct 19, 2018
by Nina Sabin - Travel
I can't believe it has been over a month since our last post. I bet you were wondering where we disappeared to. Well, after our move from Saudi in December, John saw an opportunity to do a 22 day cruise through the Panama Canal. We prayed about the opportunity and in January after a lot of prayer and discussion with my in-laws, we decided to take the plunge and sign up for our next adventure. The cruise was from April 14 - May 6 and then we stayed four more days in Vancouver. This is the perks of our blessed freedom of not having a "normal" nine - five job. I will go into more detail about the cruise in future blogs. Our goal has been to take you through our journey chronologically as we moved to Saudi and the countries we had the amazing opportunities to visit.
As we mentioned with the Egypt trip, we were able to have the time off because of the Eid Holiday. Before I continue, let me share how many times we were able to travel per year. To begin with, there are two official holidays in Islam: Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan (a month of fasting during daylight hours), and Muslims usually give zakat (charity) on the occasion. Eid Al-Adha is celebrated on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days, during which Muslims usually slaughter a sheep and distribute its meat in three parts: among family, friends, and the poor. With that being said, each Eid holiday as an expat meant we had two, nine-to-ten day trips available to travel every year. Plus a repat (repatriate – going back to your home country) trip that was around 40 days to travel for vacation. Most expats would go back to their home country for about one or two weeks, so that gave more time to visit the rest of the world. That explains how we were able to travel to over 90 countries in 16 years.
After Egypt, we couldn’t wait for our next excursion. Egypt was in December, the next Eid holiday fell that year in February. So, two months after Egypt, we were on our way to see Europe. Everyone who has ever wanted to travel wants to see Paris, the City of Love. Since we had 11 days to travel, we could do more than one country. So our personal vacation planner, my husband, was busy at work planning our next once-in-a life-time trip to three countries: France, Belgium, and Germany.
Arriving in Paris, was much more civilized than arriving in Egypt. Since this was a more western society and not a third world, we received our luggage in a more civilized way - it stayed on the conveyer belt until each person picked up their own luggage. In the Middle East, the airport workers immediately take the luggage off and leave it in a big pile for people to try to sort through to find their luggage. it was so illogical and inefficient, which we came to find out that was the norm in the Middle East.
At this point our children were now four and six years old - still young but a little easier to travel with. Unfortunately, I was traveling with a sprained ankle from an incident that happened while teaching gymnastics. This slowed us down a little, but nothing could keep us from the traveling bug. My in-laws also met up with us in France. This was their first overseas trip. After this trip, they caught the traveling bug as well; they have just completed their 13th round –the- world trip.
There is not enough time to get into all the details of this trip in this blog. Stay tuned for my next blog where I share the details of visiting the Eiffel Tower, seeing Pis Mannequin, and driving through the snow in Germany.