Saturday, August 20, 2022 | Muharram 21, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Rejuvenation in desert sands

‘Too happy to be homesick,’ is a travel blog of a young Italian woman with a zest for life and all things travelling and writing. This tourist from Torino steadfastly follows her passions and is quite never homesick. She loves living abroad and immersing herself in different cultures.


That is Elisabetta Borda who is obsessed with Oman and for whom every situation can become a meditation and a journey to Oman relaxes her. “The hospitality of Omani people helped me to feel at home,” she says.


Initially a primary school teacher she took her time off in December 2012 to visit the Sultanate and after 8 years of being resident heads a travel company in Salalah.


It was a tough choice for her either to accept a teaching job in Iran or working as a tour guide in Oman. She chose the latter and is quite content residing in Salalah since 2017. After travelling extensively all over the Sultanate, three places hold a special place in her heart: Dhofar, Rimal Al Sharqiya and the Empty Quarter.


A few years later, Bakhit al Mahri, a Dhofari friend and owner of Arabian Step, whom she met during a tour, offered her the opportunity to manage his travel company from Salalah which she gladly accepted.


Says Elisabetta, “Dhofar is a different world for me with its different language, different pace, which I find much slower and calmer than in the north, and I can say that Dhofar life taught me many lessons. Among others, how to be patient, and the importance of helping others, specially if they are of your own tribe.”


When the pandemic hit the world last spring she stayed on in Salalah alone during the lockdown until July and decided to fly back to Italy.


“Meditation helped to gain a new perspective in that difficult situation, to focus on the present and reduce negative emotions,” says Elisabetta,


She strongly recommends Oman for those who need to feel overwhelmed, stressed out or needing a break.


“Indulge in long walks on the white and solitary beaches in the company of seagulls flying amidst gentle winds through the palm leaves. Enjoy Al Dahariz beach along with some horses galloping slowly on the shoreline, illuminated by the golden morning sunlight,” she suggests.


No Oman experience can be considered complete without spending a few nights camping in the desert. She spent over a week in Rimal Al Sharqiya, in a tiny camp and in the house of a Bedouin family. Being alone in the desert one can enjoy the solitude and experience and real freedom where she climbed a nearby sand dune and meditated, feeling like a new person.


One of the first things that impressed her was the strong perfumes, colourful hijab and the black, elegant abaya and the frankincense perfume emanating from it. The Omani way of helping others when in need also impressed her and no one is left alone in Oman.


“I have never felt in danger of being unsafe as a solo female traveller: to me, Oman is the most quiet and safest place in the world,” she adds gleefully.


Whenever someone asks her about the secret of being happy, she suggests doing what makes your eyes sparkle, take risks, cultivate self-discipline and take inspiration from the people you admire. “We all have skills and expertise that make us unique. Sharing them is the best gift we can make to the world,” she says.


At present Elisabetta (@Toohappytobehomesick) is backpacking in Albania which she calls a ‘country of contradictions.’


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