Visiting Family in Lebanon

My father was the first one in his family to emigrate to the US from Lebanon, and most of his family still lives there, so since I was little I've spent many wonderful vacations there and even became a Lebanese citizen!

Our family lives in a wonderful little village in the north called Fih, which is about 45 miles north of Beirut, 10 minutes from the Mediterranean and about 1500 ft above sea level. The village is only about 1 mile long and 1 mile wide and has some of the warmest and kindest people in the world. The residents there are highly educated and unbelievably driven, with most of the students going on to earn their masters degree or doctorate and then going to work in various countries in the Gulf and becoming very successful.

There's something so special about the village, and about the country in general, and my vacations there are something I look forward to and cherish. When I go, I stay at my family's house where my grandparents and aunt live.  There are always people coming by the house, whether it's for a casual brunch or late night coffee on the veranda.

I have an incredible group of friends there and when I'm there during the summer (which is when I usually go), I spend my days at the beach.  The beach there, however, is unlike any beach I've ever been to.  We go to a resort on the water called Las Salenas where they have three levels of pools that reach down to an area where you can swim in the sea or rent a jet ski. It's a see and be seen place, and can be a place to relax and enjoy the scenery, or hang near one of the bars that plays upbeat music while you swim and waiters bring you not only drinks, but your own personal hookah as well!

After a day at the beach, I go back to the house, relax with family and visitors, have a delicious dinner since the food there is phenomenal and my grandmother and aunts could probably be professional chefs, then get ready for a night of fun. We are never at a loss for something to do on any given night. The nightclubs near the city are literally some of the best nightclubs I've ever been to in my entire life. Then there's the many outdoor restaurants where you can eat and drink until the late hours of the morning. And of course if we feel like staying local, we just make our
own parties in the village where everyone is always invited..   I've even seen my grandmother dancing and having fun on more than one occasion at one of our many little village get togethers.


Iceland Getaway!

One of my most recent vacations was to Reykjavik in Iceland. While I was only there for 4 days, it was still absolutely wonderful.  I chose Reykjavik because I've always wanted to go, it wasn't super expensive, not too too far, and I had some vacation time to use up at my work :)

I arrived early Thursday morning and had signed up for an excursion to do a viking horse back riding tour and then a trip to one of Iceland's most famous natural, outdoor geothermal spas.  So as soon as I arrived at my hotel, I had about 10 minutes to grab my stuff and make it to the bus that was picking me up.  First we went horseback riding which was awesome, especially because I've never done it before and have always wanted to.

Our next stop was The Blue Lagoon. The steamy waters at The Blue Lagoon are actually part of a lava formation and are around 98–102 °F, which definitely felt really nice after horseback riding for the first time! 
I spent the rest of my vacation in Reykjavik exploring the city, eating some great food and going to some really cool bars. The nightlife there is actually really cool, except people don't start going out until after midnight.. and then they just go until the morning!

All in all it was a great place to go for a few days. There's only so much to do there and it is a small city so I felt like it was the perfect short getaway.


A Little About My Travels and Experiences

Growing up in a suburb outside of Boston, I was lucky enough to have parents that loved to travel and experiencing other cultures and wanted me to experience other cultures as much as possible. Because of this, I was able to spend vacations in countries such as Greece, Italy, Germany, Cypress, Lebanon, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, The Carribean, France, England, Iceland and many more.

Since a lot of my family lives in Lebanon, where my father is from, I spent almost every other summer there. Additionally, I was fortunate enough to be able to do many study abroad programs including one to Australia and New Zealand when I was 12, one to France when I was 16 and then two more trips to France when I was 17 and again when I was 24.

While living in Boston is great, I do get the urge to travel every now and then.. I call it the travel bug..   so periodically I'll do everything I can to get away for at least a weekend, even if it's just to Maine for skiing or to Montreal for a long weekend of fun with some friends.