My 2022 Middle East trip report is finally done…three months and 62 segments later. Whew. I want to take a few moments to reflect back on the trip itself and also reflect back on the process of blogging an extended trip report.
Blogging An Extended Trip Report + Final Reflections On Middle East Trip
I dragged out writing this trip report precisely because it was such a long trip and because with my subsequent travel schedule, a steady flow of fresher reports followed that I felt should take priority. But one thing this trip report taught me in terms of the blog is that I’ve got to move even quicker.
For example, I took a week off from this trip report to live blog my trip to Ukraine. No regrets there. In fact, that style of blogging not only proved excellent for reader engagement, but it was easier and more fun to write..and of course I did not have to refer to my notes because I was not writing notes first, then teaser posts, then the actual reviews…I was just blogging live.
I like that model. I don’t think I’m quite there yet for all my trip reports because those “teaser” posts take 1/10 the amount of time to write and often garner far more eyeballs than the full review.
But I also hate posting “old” reviews. I detest whining comments about how old a trip report is. Part of that is because I want all my writing to be beyond reproach and do not dismiss that such criticism is, at times, fair. In doing this for over a decade, though, I find that flight, hotel, and lounge review have remarkable resiliency. In this series of reports I updated several lounge reviews and most them, frankly, did not need much updating.
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In terms of the trip, it was amazing. Petra is truly amazing and I love the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for its warm hospitality and sumptuous cuisine. I branched out beyond my usual Hyatt hotels with a number of hotel chains including Four Seasons, Kempinski, Mövenpick, and St. Regis. This was great. I still find my Hyatt Globalist status too valuable to give up, but it is nice to branch out and the Four Seasons Doha was especially beautiful.
This trip included four flights on Qatar Airways (A350, 787, 777, and A330) and the more I fly Qatar Airways, the more I love it. I maintain that business class on Qatar Airways represents the overall best business class product in the world and I find both the Al Mourjan and Al Safwa lounges in Doha to be superb.
The biggest disappointment on the trip was Gulf Air and to a lesser degree Avianca. I did not expect much from Avianca and therefore the poor flight from London to Bogota was not a surprise. But I was saddened by the inconsistent and sloppy service on Gulf Air. That airline has such great potential and I hope to give it a try in another year or two and bring back a much-improved report (especially as my former boss, Jeffrey Goh, is now CEO).
Finally, this was an extensive trip, even though I went back home for “breaks” with my family in the middle (while my friend remained abroad the entire six weeks). But while I sincerely wish my family could accompany me on all my travels, I am beyond grateful to actually earn money traveling the world in style and writing about it. What a blessing. When you have the opportunity to travel, take it.
Now it’s on to my next trip report…a journey to the Faroe Islands. But for now, in case you missed any of the 62 segments you can review them below.
image: Dead Sea mud, not Blackface…