Yemen. Maybe it was the last thing that came to my mind and even may be for you. But when dreams are planted in your mind and heart, no matter how long it is or you forgot about this, one day it will come back to you to remind you or worse to confront you.
Socotra Island. Some might say it is one of the last island on earth. Another planet. Weird trees. And worst? Never… ever… go there…
Chasing Dreams. Of the many failures I did, it seems that I am numb already or I am not thinking anymore. I don’t know how to perceive fear unless I am already on that situation.
The recent “planned” trip to Socotra Island was really tough for me. I mean, it was very easy to decide. I will go. I even discovered that it is OneStep4Ward’s secret destination as he will complete his travel to 197 sovereign countries and Yemen will be his 195th. As a fan and follower, it just added excitement to go.
(I didn’t decide to go because of somebody’s dream. It is my dream same with other 80+ people mostly expats in UAE, Oman and world travelers. Isn’t it a wonderful dream to go camping and trekking for 3 nights and 4 days (Nov 30- Dec 3, 2016) to a place without a touch of modern world?)
But it doesn’t end there. I have to think of the budget. I have to consider the duty schedule.
Step by step. I begged to my colleagues to cover me for duty. I plead to my manager to let me go on annual leave. Settled. Thank you so much.
Money. It is the most expensive trip I’ve ever done. Credit card? Yes. (But it is not ideal, don’t follow this.) Thanks to friends who consoled me that it is only money. Important thing is I will be happy. Hope you have supportive friends like them.
I am all set. Paid to the organizer. Travel insurance secured. Entry Visa to Yemen received. Chartered planes arranged.
But sometimes chasing dreams isn’t a smooth road to follow. I can’t get Oman visa as my UAE residence visa is only valid for 5 months. We need to enter the Sultanate of Oman as another chartered plane will take off from Salalah Airport to Socotra Island.
I can do visa on arrival but the main problem is that Dubai immigration might not allow me to leave the country.
I went crazy for awhile. Really. I bothered lot of friends asking for help, I even had a visit to Oman Embassy in Abu Dhabi. The advises were divided. You can go. You can’t go. What hurts most is “it is a hopeless situation.” It was a dagger in a dreamer’s heart.
It was difficult to go to sleep. Thanks to that small pill.
I can’t just give up.
I’ll take the risk.
I still packed my things, set aside the chartered plane from Dubai. Booked my own ticket from Abu Dhabi to Muscat to Salalah, Oman
From 10 hours work, I went home. Had dinner. Took my things and left home at 2am to Abu Dhabi Airport.
Things went on smoothly. Boarding pass checked. Dropped my baggage at the counter. Passed through E-Gate and boarded the plane to Muscat.
I got my Oman Visa at Muscat Airport with no problem at all. Transferred plane and welcome to Salalah.
After all the mental stress, the atmosphere in Samharam Tourist Village where we will stay for one night is very relaxing to a tired mind and body.
I had a deep sleep for 2 hours and waited the group from Dubai.
Did we manage to visit Yemen?
Beyond chasing dreams are unexpected events. We need to be flexible and set aside disappointment.
After the buffet dinner, t-shirts were distributed. Breakfast was announced to be at 4am then we will fly to Socotra. Everybody is excited and ready. We retired to our own rooms.
2330H. I was trying to go to sleep when the phone rang. It was the organizer saying to have our breakfast at 8am and sorry for the delay.
Breakfast. Everybody was happy as we had enough sleep. What we don’t know was announced after.
We can’t fly to Socotra Island yet. We’ll wait for further announcement at 1200H.
At 1155H, lunch was announced. No assurance that we can fly to the island. No one was happy and it is acceptable. We only knew part of the problem. It is all about the civil aviation between two countries not allowing us to fly in spite of contracts and permits. The organizers still tried. Some were desperate of taking a boat to go to Socotra.
We let the time pass by, tried to entertain ourselves. Chatting. Swimming. Walking along the beach. Reading a book. Looked for a place to enjoy solitude. Some went back to sleep.
Afternoon came. Many are bored already. Some planned of going outside. Others went to bar. Those who stayed felt boredom also. They followed the guys who went for a drink passing through the seashore.
Over a drink, we shared our hopes to be able to reach the island. Shared stories, sharing cultures, talking in different accents and that was really a fun night and moment to let go of our frustrations in Salalah.
We head back to the hotel for dinner with still no assurance of what will happen next day. And went to sleep.
Another day came and we call it off. We’re heading back to Dubai earlier as planned. Socotra is still a dream. One day, the failures beyond chasing dreams will pass through.
We tried, I took risk and that is enough. I feel better to take the pain of failure rather than the pain of regrets. Everything comes with a reason and purpose. And only God knows.