Nineteen years after my repatriation, I am finally able to return to Riyadh. I’ve got someone who is able to secure my visa, I’ve got a place to stay, I’ve got the time and the money, and even my health is still good enough to make this trip to the other side of the world, to the place I called home, to the place of the most eventful, romantic, dramatic and emotional periods of my life. I’ve pined after Riyadh for all these years, I’ve written about it in this blog, I’ve voiced my intention to go back someday, and that day is now this day.
Instead of planning a trip to Riyadh, I am planning a trip to the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon? I’ve never felt any particular affinity for the Grand Canyon or for any other landmarks here in the Unites States. How did I get so sidetracked?
Well, I’m getting fussy in my old age. I fly business class for international trips. That’s expensive, even with discounts. I have arthritis, and I’m fat, though I go to the gym and might even quit overeating one of these days. I no longer jump on a plane with little preparation, like I did in my traveling years. I no longer even wish to jump on a plane without preparation. I’m also fussy about destinations, these days, no longer interested in countries that are cheapest to visit simply because they are cheapest. Italy and Saudi Arabia are the only international destinations that get my attention now, though I’d love to see Thailand again.
The United States has many lovely places to see. I’ll enjoy a photography tour of the Grand Canyon. I might even enjoy it enough to plan more trips to US destinations. Flights are short and cheap to anywhere in the US (compared to international travel). There aren’t many time zones to navigate, so jet lag isn’t such an issue. As a senior citizen, I think I’ll enjoy seeing more of my own country, but I still plan to see Riyadh again.
Now that I can go back to Riyadh, after years of not being able to do so, I’m specifying that I want to go back for Ramadan, not the chilly winter or blazing hot summer or even the Haj season. Ramadan is the month to be in any Middle Eastern country, especially if one is Muslim. Yes, I still intend to go back to Riyadh, but I want to go next Ramadan, inshaAllah. Next Ramadan…2018…and I’m planning for it. InshaAllah.