‘As-salaam-alaikum,’ answers a 9 am phone call from Muscat to Miami in the US. David Hoffmann replies to the call and starts the conversation in his typical Arabic accent. This outlandish world traveller who was recently in Oman begins to recollect his love for Omanis and the local food he tasted.
“Mishkak, shawarma, camel meat and halwa were some of the best dishes I had ever eaten, and shuwa and Zarubian rice were another level'', says David, who is addicted to exploring new cultures, diving into a new food and often ventures the off-the-beaten-path, with one-of-a-kind local experiences.
An entrepreneur and travel addict, David explored non-stop to create video guides about unique destinations in Oman. He has over a million followers on YouTube @davidsbeenhere.
The Sultanate of Oman was one of his top places to visit in the Middle East and he first started talking to Ahmed bin Ali bin Habib al Lawati, his Omani friend back in 2019 and finally made it this year after the pandemic. Since launching David’s Been Here in 2008, he has travelled to over 1,300 cities across 88 countries on six continents.
A trusted voice in the world of travel, David documents his adventures on his website and web shows inspiring others to explore beyond their backyards and leave their mark on the world.
He spent 10 days in Oman which blew his mind. “Each day was amazing. I was really blown away by how diverse the country is'', says David.
Starting out from Muscat he headed out to Rimal al Sharqiya for 24 hours, which he says was an ‘incredible experience.’ He then finished his trip to Nizwa, Sur and Salalah. “Each one was so unique, it’s hard to pick a favourite. But I loved getting to experience the culture and learn about the history of these places, as well as enjoy the local food. I would love to go back to Oman and explore more someday'', he recollects.
Ahmed who arranged the trip says he expects the videos will always remain a source of knowledge about Oman. “They (videos) help reach out to a specific group of people to educate them on Oman as a beautiful country and attract further tourism interest.”
David’s first impression of Oman was its beauty and the incredible people.
“It is a beautiful place and the cuisine is off the charts amazing, but the thing that makes Oman truly special is the people. They’re so humble and welcoming, treating me like a king, and made me truly fall in love with the country'', he explains.
“Omani people were some of the friendliest and most welcoming'', he says. “The culture is absolutely beautiful, and the cuisines outstanding. I also got my first taste of Zanzibari food, which had my mouth watering all day. The mix of Arabian, African, and South Asian cultures is truly unique which I never really experienced. There was always something new to explore. It feels like I barely scratched the surface of what Oman is all about that makes me want to go back'', explains David.
Getting to the Bedouin camp in Rimal al Sharqiya sands was an amazing experience for him.
“The Bedouins cooked some mouthwatering food for us, which I loved. I got to see the camels that they raise for beauty, meat, racing and milk, and then we went dune bashing, which is always a thrill. I also liked walking around the desert, but I didn’t realise how scorching the sand would be. Of course, sleeping under the stars was unreal and peaceful.”
It was the most welcoming country he ever visited. Presently visiting Iran and Shiraz, David is very excited as it has been on his list for many years. He has plans to visit Guyana later this year, as well as possibly some Caribbean islands, Egypt, and a good chance of exploring Vietnam with Max McFarlin, his friend, in September.
Travel and family are a huge part of his life, but outside of them, he is a big movie fan. He loves anything to do with Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe being his favourites.
He also loves working out with his trainer and buddy Julian, and learning new languages. Arabic is one of the languages he wants to learn, so the next time he travels to Oman, he hopes to be able to use it.
“My goal is to inspire others to get out, out of their small world to see, feel and to know what this world has to offer — new faces, new memories, new foods and of course tonnes of life lessons'', concludes David.