Travel

Driving? Is it really necessary?

I’ve been driving in the Middle East for about a week now, and I can testify that it is not what I remember the driving in Europe to be like in the late 80s. In a word, its awful.

I would say that it’s been almost 30 years since I have driven in a country other than the USA. I have driven in Canada several times, but growing up in a border town, I don’t view that to be a different experience from American driving. Sorry Canada.

I do remember it taking a while to find a comfort level with driving when I started driving around Germany. Getting used to the traffic on the Autobahn as a teenager took a few days. Everything in Germany either moved fast or slow. But, as all things do, soon enough it was old hat. I was driving everyday just said it was home. 

That being said, I’m pretty sure the same thing will come of the hellish traffic over here in the Middle East. They say, if you can drive in NYC or L.A. you can drive anywhere. I’d say that’s about half right. Having driven in both cities, I would put the difficulty factor at about 2x NYC. Its either okay or its REALLY not okay. 

Which I guess, brings me to my question of the day. Do you feel that you need to drive when you’re traveling or do you use local means of transport? How do you get around?

Personally, I normally use local transport to get from A to B. I have found that it is usually not difficult to get where you’re going without driving. 

In Europe its particularly easy to get around without a car. Trains and taxis will get you almost anywhere you want. Those to are supported by the occasional bus trip to get to the very few places the trains don’t go. Its really super easy. 

In Central American I have used a car service to get off the beaten track. Trust me, there’s not much beaten track in Central America. In South American, planes, trains, and taxi cabs got me anywhere I wanted to go. That included all the way up to Macchu Picchu. Getting to the mountain city was as simple as a train ride and a short bus ride. It was a harrowing bus ride on a switchback dirt road straight up the side of a mountain, but it was short. 

I did resort to renting a bicycle in Ireland so I could get around the site on the southern side of Galway Bay, but that’s probably as extreme as my travel needs have been. The train and the bus got my across Ireland in fine fashion, and the bike ride through the countryside was actually very nice. 

My current need to drive is promoted by my work. Having a vehicle is necessary. That being said, there does seem to be a reasonable bus system in place, and countless taxis cruising the streets. Movement options are available in the area. The closer I get to a city, the more numerous the transport options become. There doesn’t seem to be a commuter train system in the Middle East, or at least not in the area that I am in. Still, if one wanted to venture out into the dunes, I’m sure local guide services are available for day trip options. I haven’t been in the area long enough to seek those out, but I may later on. I spent enough time in traffic now.

So do you feel the need to drive when you’re traveling? Most American naturally answer yes. Its just part of our culture. But, when abroad to you search out easier or alternate means to get around? I definitely do. Local transport options can be useful, and can save you money. European rental prices are a lot if you don’t use the vehicle every day. And many cities require that you pay to park as well. 

Whichever way you choose to get around, it should be enjoyable and as easy as possible. I’m hoping that I get used to the awful traffic soon, and things become a little more enjoyable. And wherever you travel, be safe when doing so. It can be a mad, mad world at times.

Enjoy, and get out there!


Sunrise over the Persian Gulf. Taken today. 

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Travel

Off on the road again. 

Since the theme of this blog was supposed to be about travel. And, travel by adults. I decided, once again, to try and take my own advice. I always think this is a good idea, until it actually happens. Then, I think twice about it.

This time, I decided to embrace the expat lifestyle and go abroad for work. Its been something that I’ve been considering for some time. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to go do something that I knew most other people wouldn’t consider doing. I guess I also wanted an adventure of a sort. 

So, I boxed it all up and headed for the Middle East. Now, I work as an Environmental Specialist, in a non-disclosed country in the Middle East. It is an absolute change from Texas, USA. 

I was thinking when I left to come here that this was the travel destination. What I learned when I go here was that I had it all wrong. Everyone uses this location as a place to travel from. 

I hadn’t considered it before, but the Middle East is in the middle of a whole new section of the globe. Semi-cheap flights to Thailand and Africa, or Europe and India are now possible. Exotic places are no longer on the opposite side of the globe. They are, quite literally, just over there. Even the illusive Madagascar is a possibility. 

Work has a lot of long hours, but I will continue to post on any exciting new travel as it comes along. The interesting information I stumble upon will also be put out there, just as it has been. This is just the start of a whole new adventure! 

Now go on. Get out there!


Me. On the plane headed east. Approximately 2 weeks ago. 

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