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Round Trip to Dubai: Flyin’ Solo

I still pinch myself almost two month after my trip to Dubai. With most experiences, time diminishes the excitement. For me, time has yielded introspection, reflection and a deeper understanding of how I want to move forward.  I look back on my trip with a sense of awe and amazement at myself for traveling alone, the experiences and the people I had the honor to meet. I cannot believe this girl from Medford, MA was the keynote speaker at The Global Nursing Conference in Dubai, UAE.

I want to share what I learned from my trip as a human being and as a speaker. Let me get this out right now: Americans need to learn to make coffee. I am sorry Starbucks and DD, even the decaf coffee on the KLM flight from Amsterdam to Dubai superseded your brews. I was in hummus heaven and loved all of the food I tried.  This meatball eating Sicilian girl stepped way out and tried all kinds of new bites.

As an American woman, traveling to the Middle East alone, I had concerns, to say the least. I was telling my kids where the folder was with my savings information, if that tells you something. However, I found quite the opposite of what I had been told. Americans are treated better than other foreign visitors, and I felt safe as a woman.

The dates of my trip coincided with the Muslim New Year. I found it ironic that Americans celebrate New Year’s drinking themselves silly. There was no alcohol served or sold anywhere for twenty-four hours during their holiday.  It is solemn, a chance to reflect on the past and humbly move into the next year. It is a sacred time for them. How do we think about the past year? Are we grateful for what we have and the chance to move forward? Interesting, right?

Everyone I encountered held high family values and traditions. There is a sense of reverence toward their elders and respect for authority. I look at the current situations in the US. Kids hitting teachers and disrespecting their parents. We have an attitude of entitlement and no longer look to people in authority with high regard.

As a speaker, I realized that people are people wherever you go. While I was getting introduced, EventsOcean played my Just Steph Radio theme. Everyone was clapping, even the ladies in their burkhas and native garb. Fun is fun. They were all excited to hear an upbeat talk.

I also learned that it is all ok. What do I mean? I skipped a slide that I originally thought was important. My pauses, looking down at my computer to keep on track, were ok. Everyone enjoyed my talk regardless of my self-perceived mix ups.

Most importantly I came to understand that as humans we all have a common bond. Everyone has a story. We all have fears and we all want to be happy. As a speaker, if I can tap into the emotions of one or all of these during my talks, I have bonded with my audience on a real, heartfelt, human level which supersedes the intellectual.

I look forward to my upcoming speaking events. If you would like me to help get your audiences Feeling Groovy, feel free to contact me here.

Tell me what’s going on in your life. I want to hear from you.

Wishing you love, balance & peace!

Amore & Baci,

Just Steph