Most of us pass through different stages in our lives wondering who we are, what we are doing, what is our purpose in life. You will never have one definitive answer, and no one person will jump up and say I have a revelation and this is my calling.
Over time, your environment, your community, and you especially will change. It is a part of growing but sometimes, you wonder, when do I ever have the time or the place to sit and reflect on the last year or five years. Do you not ask yourself how did I really feel about that person or that situation? Where will I go from now? Am I doing the right thing?
If someone was to ask me my inner most feelings, I would probably frown and change the subject or lie. I know it is a bit strange being a public figure. But most public figures want to hold on to that one element of privacy, our deepest thoughts and feelings. I think I get scared or shun away asking myself questions too and so I pile up the work and social calendar to justify that yes, my existence does mean something and I am here to show it to the world.
Of course answering questions relating to your emotions is hard and there are countless ways to do it from exercising, to visiting a counselor and so on, but I had the pleasure and honor of discovering Journey through Change (JTC). A company launched by Hala Kazim (known as mama Hala to many), a renowned female Emirati who has committed herself to social work and helping the community through her book club, her counseling, and through adventure. She has got her hands full with being a wife, mother to five boys, a grandma, but through her social calling, Emirati women found a way to discover new things through the adventure club.
That is where my inspiration to find myself came about. You see, our culture is not one where you can self discover. You may sit and reflect, but society, family; peers are always reigning on your parade, telling you what is right and wrong for you.
The adventure part is not only travelling, which I love, but it was travelling the unconventional way for most Khaleeji women. This is not your bring your high heels and make up kit type of trip. It is getting you out of your comfort zone from your air conditioned rooms and fancy cars to hike.
The trips test your physical and mental capacity, and you begin thinking about things that were never in your radar. I know you are wondering how is that possible. Well, when you work in the city or in my case commute, you think about work, the commute, which one of your friends you forgot to call, what to have for lunch. They all seem important, but take yourself out of that environment and place yourself in one where the only things surrounding you are trees and more trees.
The trails are easy at times but muddy and slippery at others. The only voices you hear are the ones of members of your hiking group and at times they are silent too, pondering on things that are important to them.
Till date, I have attended both of the trips organized by JTC; both covered two different countries, trails and even people. My first one was challenging because I thought so hard what I wanted to think about so I came out of it with two very good friends, toner body, and a new country I had conquered experiencing.
My second trip was more soul enriching, I went with an open mind. I did not go in with my troubles, instead, I went in with the knowledge of my first trip and waiting to see what are the things I had not paid attention to.
Many a times, I take on more than I can handle but I always tell myself, I am young today, free, I have so much to offer and I forget that the world wants to give back to me in appreciation. I found my solace in my once a year trips. And I do recommend trying it out if you do have the will and financial means. Remember it is never too late to ask questions or get the answers, as long as you get it.
Aida has more than a decade experience in the communications, and mastering ceremonies field, she worked in private and public sectors, and now heads the Stakeholder Communications in Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing in Dubai. Aida was a columnist in few of the local newspapers, a TV co-host of a community talk show, and cofounded with friends a community platform: “Promise Of A Generation”.
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