Traveling with Arab parents really was a terrifying experience growing up.
Every so often, I’ll walk past a kid at the airport with his Middle Eastern family, triggering all sorts of repressed memories from my childhood to resurface and haunt me while I safely make my way from terminal A to B.
The previous generation certainly had strange ways of catching flights. It was a whole ceremony punctuated with some unusual rituals and habits, and since then, us Gen Z’s have been trying our best to break free from the old (and trauma-inducing) shackles of traveling.
In the name of nostalgia, or healing from our past stress, here are five personal Arab travel traumas we can all relate to.
Getting to the airport ridiculously early
Dad, relax. We’ve got another eight hours ahead of us before boarding. Let me take my time and steal some extra hours of shut eye. Who needs that much stress before you’re going to chill on a sundeck?
All I remember is me, a regular eight-year-old kid having to carry twice my weight in chocolates and all sorts of presents for family through customs. Is having seven suitcases when flying out always necessary? The trauma is so real that now, I always make sure to under pack, even if that means having to buy underwear and t-shirts when I land at my destination. I now live by the “less is more” motto.
Extra food prepping
No mum, no one needs 5 kebda sandwiches, it’s only a three hour flight. Trust me, a Twix will do the job because honestly, by takeoff time, more times than not, that sandwich went bad and is about to make the pilot dizzy.
There’s other holiday destinations than “back home”
Holidays for the old generation serve two purposes: Either to see family or sort out some business. To most Arab parents, the idea of enjoying two-weeks of uninterrupted time off at an exotic far-flung locale is unfathomable. And no one really knows why. Seriously, I’m done hanging out with random family members I couldn’t pick out of a police lineup instead of lounging by the beach in Greece.
Dressing up to the airport
Let me wear my sweatpants in peace. Dressing up in my best fit for a flight is not comfortable nor does it make any sense. Last time I checked, passport control was for visa purposes not for a drip check. Parents really thought you could get denied entry because of your #OOTD.
Photo courtesy: La route du bled