Freedom is not something we take for granted. We asked some of the most incredible women we know where they’d like to escape to this summer and what they’ve learned during the time in lockdown.

H.E. Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Ali Al Sabah 

Co-founder of Prismologie, @intisaralsabah

Where would you like to escape to and why?

I love escaping to a small boutique hotel in a different city or town every time. I am really fond of exploring new places, people watching, discovering new tastes in food.

What do you always pack when travelling?

I always pack the Prismologie Citrine and Bergamot shower gel and the Ruby and Cedarwood dry body oils. I love using body oil just after the shower. I always pack my walking shoes, and I make sure all my clothes are on a hanger and in a suit carrier so when I arrive it’s super easy to unpack and everything is wrinkle-free. I am very picky with my packing, everything is in the right place and I always make sure I pack something for the evening no matter where I am going so that I am fully prepared for any occasion.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

 

I have learnt many positive things during the lockdown but I think the most important one is that I don’t need a lot. So, my needs have drastically reduced. I have also learnt to unwind and take time off and one of the biggest things I have realised is not to continue running around and keeping myself constantly busy because when I stop, I realise that I can actually do more with less effort. So, I’ve started focusing on the big picture and everything else falls into place.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

My most treasured travel memory was in Yemen. The people are so nice, so generous, so kind and with no rules. I particularly loved the fact that the local people showed so much trust in us which is extraordinary in today’s day and age.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

I love reading about marketing and books about the psychology of people and how to get the most out of the people around you. One of my favourite books is Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath about why some ideas stick and others fail to succeed.

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HRH Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan

Founder of MKS Jewellery, @mksjewellery

Where would you like to escape to and why?

There are so many places I am yet to discover and I’m feeling really open to escaping. I think that what matters most is what comes with the escape; the travelling, the experience, the new cultures – these things are what I love regardless of where it may be and that’s what I look forward to the most.

What do you always pack when travelling?

Other than the usual necessities, I make sure my comfiest walking shoes are with me. There’s nothing worse than the soreness from a new pair of shoes after a full day of exploration!

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

The importance of taking time for yourself. This pandemic gave me the time to reflect and work on myself more than I have ever been able to. Confronting questions and actually sitting down with myself has been extremely rewarding personally. Everyone has gone through different forms of self-reflection during lockdown, it really has been a time of growth and evolution and for that I am grateful.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

The most recent treasured memory is my first ever trip to Morocco with my family. The sense of togetherness and the dynamics of spending time with each other in a natural habitat, combined with the excitement of the adventure and learning something new surrounded by a new culture was something that will stay in my heart forever.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

I’m currently reading The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. The book has been on my bookshelf for a very long time and I finally got around to reading it! I’m loving it so far.

Alanoud Badr

Fashion Designer and TV Anchor, @fozaza

Where would you like to escape to and why? 

South of France, it’s just my second home. 

What do you always pack when travelling?

My face creams and hair care products. I also always pack my favourite snacks.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

To be extremely grateful, to be patient and most of all to live every day to its fullest.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

Exploring Greece from island to island.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell.

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Ola Farahat

Influencer and entrepreneur, @olafarahat

Where would you like to escape to and why?

The Maldives – I want to be on an island.

What do you always pack when travelling?

The best pair of jeans I own. A black blazer and mostly neutrals.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

To slow down and appreciate moments more.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

My honeymoon in the Seychelles.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

Personally, I prefer to unwind by playing music.

Latifa Al Gurg

Founder of Twisted Roots, @twisted_roots

Where would you like to escape to and why?

We spent some time last summer in Carmel in California, and I’ve been wanting to go back. The nature is breathtaking and there are so many things to do and see.

What do you always pack when travelling?

I always pack at least one pair of jeans, a white shirt, lots of scarves and a steamer.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

It has really given me the gift of time to reflect, try new things and most importantly spend special moments with my family.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

It’s hard to choose just one, there are so many! My most recent was visiting my grandfather in Denmark just before the flights stopped.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

My latest read was The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. It’s a family drama that spans five decades and I couldn’t put it down.

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Nada Baeshen

Entrepreneur and owner of The Huntress, @nadabaeshen

Where would you like to escape to and why?

I wish I could be in Greece right now, I love the sea the people the food and culture. It makes me happy.

What do you always pack when travelling?

I pack almost all my wardrobe since I simply love dressing up in the summer my dresses, sunglasses and hats mainly.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

I slowed down, spent time with my son and started meditating. I discovered that I love the interview process of lives on Instagram and sharing knowledge and insightful topics on my platform.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

My first trip to Italy with my husband.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

To be honest, I am too busy dancing on the beach to read.

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Emon Shakoor, Founder & CEO

Blossom Accelerator Nursery, @emonshakoor

Where would you like to escape to and why?

I would love to escape to a tropical island with clear blue waters, beautiful sunshine, enjoy the waterfalls around me and the glory of nature.

What do you always pack when travelling?

Portable speakers, portable charger, noise-cancelling headset, hand sanitiser, sunglasses, workout gear, books, laptop and business cards because even on vacation there is always room for networking.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

Sometimes in life things do not happen exactly how you foresaw them and accepting that while still being happy takes a beautiful level of bravery, courage, strength and resilience.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

My senior year of college I completed a study abroad program in Granada, Spain to learn and explore the heritage of the Moorish empire. The south of Spain is enchanting and marvellous.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

Ingie Chalhoub

The President & Managing Director of the Etoile Group and Creative Director of INGIE Paris, @ingieparis

Where would you like to escape to and why?

The first country I would think to go to is France. The sudden lockdown left us all separated from family members and friends and I’m very eager to see them again. I’m looking forward as well to reconnecting with my INGIE Paris team and work in my atelier in Paris. Following all that I would like to visit south of France for a much-needed vacation.

What do you always pack when travelling?

I always pack full looks to take me from day to evening. Casualwear, cocktail dresses, gowns, shoes and matching bags in addition to my toiletry kit. Of course, the main new items to pack nowadays would be the masks, sanitisation gels and gloves for safety during travel and daily protection. 

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

One of the most positive things I have learned is how important it is to make time for connecting with friends and loved ones. Sometimes we are too busy with our lives, jobs, professional and social life, that we miss on reconnecting and spending quality time with them. I definitely communicated more with people via phone calls, asked them about their health and wellbeing and it filled me with happiness.

What is your most treasured travel memory?

The Carnival of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil two years ago. Brazilians know how to enjoy their lives and it was amazing to experience their positive energy with people from all backgrounds, walks of life sharing love, joy and fun while dancing. There is nothing like it.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

111 Places on the French Riviera That You Must Not Miss by Ralph Nestmeyer.

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Parvané Barret

Creative consultant and DJ, @parvbar

Where would you like to escape to and why?

I would honestly love to go to London right now, to be with my friends who I miss a lot! What I love about London is that you can really be whoever you want, dress however way you want, and you will still be accepted no matter what. Other than that, I would love to escape to somewhere in the Caribbean, like Cuba, Jamaica, or Trinidad. I have never visited any of these places and it is a real dream of mine.

What do you always pack when travelling?

I always love packing a lot of clothes that I can shoot with and create content. I love shooting in another country, especially when the architecture is a lot different than in Dubai.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

I’ve learnt that even with some limitations around you, you can still be super creative and express yourself through what you create. I have been shooting a lot more at home, collaborating with some brands that have sent me things to shoot. I made a few orders of equipment and background to build my own mini studio and I feel super great to have found the time to do what I love the most. I’ve also been doing a lot of live DJ sets for a few brands as well for myself on my page, also recording sets and posting them on my Soundcloud page for people to have a listen while at home.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

I would say my first trip to Hong Kong, with Kenzo for the Kenzo Tali bag campaign. Nobody from the Middle East team was on the trip so I was pretty much on my own and it was honestly one of the best experiences ever. I met some amazing people from the brand, and some really cool local creatives with whom I shot videos and pictures with. I was only there for a day as well.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

In all honesty, I am not much of a reader, but I do love listening to some podcasts here and there. I don’t have a specific one in mind, but I always manage to stumble across ones that are really interesting, like The Joe Rogan Experience.

Hjayceelyn M. Quintana

Ambassador of the Philippines to the UAE, @philippine_ambassador_to_uae

Where would you like to escape to and why?

My concept of a getaway is a nice spa resort.

What do you always pack when travelling?

My adaptor and phone charger since my work requires me to be accessible 24/7.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

We only need love to be happy.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

Spending a birthday in two cities and countries – Ljubljana, Slovenia and Split, Croatia on the way to the final destination of Dubrovnik in the Adriatic Coast.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

Captivating: Unveiling The Mystery Of A Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge.

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Zeynab El-Helw

Model and Influencer, @fashion_pirate

Where would you like to escape to and why?

I would love to teleport to a dreamy deserted island with my husband and baby Luca.

What do you always pack when travelling?

I always pack my coconut oil, swimsuit and shorts if I’m heading to a warm climate. If it involved a lot of walking then I’d always have my sneakers to hand. The coconut oil I use is now more than a hair ointment and is useful for sunburns and pre-bath massages for Luca.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

Slowing down during this lockdown has really allowed me to appreciate real time for family, friends and even work, allowing me to create and think rather than always rushing to reach deadlines. Even though I live away from my family, we’re now communicating on a daily basis via video cameras which has given us more freedom with time. It gives us that patience to remain positive and cherish these moments, looking ahead for better days when we will be reunited and spend quality time together more than ever. 

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

The moment I found out I was pregnant in Thailand on January 1, hands down that was the most treasured moments.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

Authors such as Charles Dickens, Paul Coelho are a few of my favourites as I grew up reading them. To Kill A Mockingbird and Great Expectations are my top picks. As for podcasts, I really enjoy listening to BoF – Business of Fashion.

Tamara Al Gabbani

Influencer, @tamaraalgabbani

Where would you like to escape to and why?

Sardinia – every year I plan to go but then get sidetracked. on other destinations. 

What do you always pack when travelling?

A pair of sandals, right now Dior are my favourite, I also love Fendi sunglasses. As for beauty, I always have with me the Heliocare sunblock, Zauria 24 karat face oil (from my Boutiqaat store) as well as La Mer moisturising lotion, Too Faced Born This Way Concealer and Fenty Beauty shine lipstick.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown? 

Family is everything. Be gentle with yourself.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

I have a few. Family vacations in Marbella; girls summer holidays on Greek islands; Amalfi coast; South of France; and skiing in Courchevel with my dearest friends.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

The podcast I’d recommend is GaryVee Audio Experience with Gary Vaynerchuk.

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Zahra Lyla Khalil

Founder of The Other Agency, @zahralyla

Where would you like to escape to and why?

Right before COVID-19 hit, I had plans to finally go to the Maldives as it has been high on my bucket list. I am lucky to have travelled around the world for work but I wanted to keep the Maldives for a special occasion. Once we have the all-clear, that is definitely where I will be heading.

What do you always pack when travelling?

I wish I was a light traveller but I am not. I always make sure I have all my equipment to produce content (work never stops) and my own little first aid kit that includes everything from medicine and sanitisers to hairpins and a sewing kit (that’s the stylist in me). 

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

I have learned to slow down and to spend my time on things that really matter like family and real friends. I have also learned that I need to take care of my mind just as much as I need to with my body. I have crippling anxiety so this has been a good time to work on controlling it as much as I can.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

Every trip I have been on has been an amazing experience in its own way. London is like my second home as I moved there for my Master’s degree but one of the trips to London is extra special as that was when I met my husband.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

When it comes to podcasts, I tend to listen to self-empowering and business topics and I prefer autobiographers for books. If I am by the beach, I prefer listening to music or reading a magazine, like Emirates Woman!

Lana AlBeik

Model and Creative, @lana_.jpg

Where would you like to escape to and why?

I would love to take a sailboat for a few days with friends in the Philippines, Palawan is beautiful.

What do you always pack when travelling?

Skincare and perfume are the most important to me.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

I learned to appreciate my privilege even more and I learned to not spare a moment, to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

When I went to Rome in summer two years ago, after visiting Gallery Borghese, we took a walk in the gallery garden and it was magical. Living in the city can make you forget about how breathtaking it is to be surrounded by greenery and to just walk.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

I would recommend The Fall by Albert Camus.

Noha Nabil

Social Media influencer and style editor, @nohastyleicon

Where would you like to escape to and why?

Although I was there just three months ago, I can’t wait to go back to Paris!

What do you always pack when travelling?

I usually travel with three cameras to create content and share on social media along with enough outfits since I change my looks three times a day.

What have you positive thing have learned during this time of lockdown?

I’ve learned to appreciate the little details of my daily routine. I enjoyed time to meditate and think about my life and decisions in a positive way. I can’t complain to be honest as I made the most out of this time.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

Every family vacation. It has become a part of our yearly routine to travel with the kids on summer vacation.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

I’m a huge fan of women’s poet Nizar Qabani. The best way to relax for me is to enjoy reading some of his work like This Is How I Write Women’s History.

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Sara Sabry

Content creator, @sarasabry

Where would you like to escape to and why?

I would take the first flight out to Bali or the Maldives. My body needs a beach and good food.

What do you always pack when travelling?

I’m very efficient when it comes to packing, but I always do three main checks: phone, wallet, passport. And if I’ve got these three, everything else is replaceable.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

I’ve learned to slow down and that always being on the go isn’t necessarily a good thing. When you’re always busy and always jumping from one place to the other, you don’t really get to sit and check in with yourself often. You also tend to take a lot of things for granted. So, this lockdown taught me to be grateful for the smallest blessings and to really dig deep into myself, learn to love myself and life unconditionally, regardless of the circumstances.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

One of my most treasured memories is travelling with my brother to California and driving down the coast in Malibu with the top down blasting Miley Cyrus’ Malibu song and watching the sunset.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

This is a book that I passed down to my friends is called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson.

Wadima AlYafei

Jiu-Jitsu player – part of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, @4wadimaa

Where would you like to escape to and why?

I would love to escape to somewhere like Hawaii or the Maldives where the beaches, palm trees and spas make for a relaxing escape.

What do you always pack when travelling?

Aside from essentials such as clothes and travel documents, I also try and carry my jiu-jitsu gear and belt with me as I love to train in any place that I can.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

During lockdown I got to know myself better and realised that nothing is impossible. I learned how to give my body and mind a chance to be creative but also gained a greater understanding of the importance of taking a break. Another major positive of lockdown is that it has given me the chance to spend more time with my loved ones.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

As a member of the UAE national team, every win on the international stage is special and something to treasure. It makes me so proud to raise the UAE flag and hear the national anthem after a success in every international competition and is a reward for the trust placed in us by the UAEJJF to represent our country.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

I like to read books and listen to podcasts that focus around the themes of self-development, and motivational speeches. I am currently reading The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes.

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Tania Lodi

Founder of Tania’s Teahouse, @tanialodi

Where would you like to escape to and why?

I would love to be in Bali. I went last year for my honeymoon and I fell in love with the dreamy beaches and endless coconuts.

What do you always pack when travelling? 

I’m very particular with packing, and I always make a packing list, in which I check off each thing after packing. I always bring a facial roller with me and a face mask for the plane if the flight is long.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

Lockdown and COVID-19, in general, has really given me the appreciation of financially support myself, to indulge in the little things, and to appreciate family, friends and the ability to travel. To sit back and enjoy the little things in life, to put back the background noise and enjoy what’s in front of me.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

My favourite memory lately has been back when my husband and I went to Bali, we decided to rent a motorbike and go everywhere ourselves. I remember biking through rice fields on the way to a hidden waterfall, balancing my cup of green bubble tea with grass jelly and my phone.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

I love books and I always travel with one to three books. I recommend the book Modesty: A Fashion Paradox by my sister Hafsa Lodi, which discusses the paradoxical concept of modest fashion, and this emerging movement.

Haifa Beseisso

YouTuber, Content Creator, TV host, @flywithhaifa

Where would you like to escape to and why?

Bali, because I go into a deep world of mediation and beautiful Nature. I eat healthy vegan food, meditate and dance with friends and breathe deeply. There’s something about the energy of this place that’s so transformative. Bali is very lush and also has beautiful beaches and islands. I also love going to retreats there, silent retreats.

What do you always pack when travelling?

My monkey teddy bear, face creams, chargers and cameras, my favourite outfits that make me feel good, a good book, prayer clothes.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

My life changed during lockdown, it was a complete detox and a zoom out of my life where I got the chance to see what I want to keep in my life and what to eliminate, a real chance to slow down.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

Talking to strangers and kids in Zanzibar and literately jumping in the ocean from a boat to swim with dolphins.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

I love all of Oprah’s books. So real and insightful. Also Heal Your Life by Louis Hay is amazing.

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Saira Farhat

Content Creator, @fashky

Where would you like to escape to and why?

My next dream destination is Cuba. The culture, the landscape, the colourful buildings, the classic cars and the music is all so enchanting.

What do you always pack when travelling?

A major must when travelling is a good, versatile, comfortable pair of shoes. The Chanel gate sandals are my go-to when travelling. Equally, a good pair of sneakers is important for spontaneous exploring.

What positive things have you learned during this time of lockdown?

One of the biggest positives for me in lockdown has been the ability to slow down, to look at things more deeply and to appreciate more profoundly.

What’s your most treasured travel memory?

I have two amazing memories of travelling, the first has to be my journey to Hajj (a religious visit to Saudi Arabia) this spiritually changed me. The second most memorable place goes to Thailand, Koh Sumui. My husband and I hired a scooter to get around since it was the most convenient and fun way to explore.

Can you recommend a beachside read/podcast?

I love hearing personal stories or podcasts, and my most recent read was by Reni Eddo-Lodge. She shared her experiences and the history of black people.

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