My name is Rana Darwish. I was born in Cairo and emigrated to Toronto with my family in 1994. You could say that initial move sparked my desire to see the world.
In my twenties, I took a step out of my comfort zone. I moved to Miami, Florida. Without knowing a single person in the entire state and $900 in my purse, I embarked on a new adventure. Between bartending and freelance personal training, I had a rather comfortable lifestyle in the sunny city. In the two years I was there I managed to pay off my student loans! I made a community of life long friends. I even learned a bit of Spanish! Once I felt like I conquered Miami, I packed up and headed back to Toronto.
Shortly after my stint in Miami, I got a job as a flight attendant at a major North American carrier. I went back to school with the intention of learning French. I learned the basics, but by no means was I proficient enough to carry a conversation.
Can you guess what happened next? I moved to France! Is there a better way to learn the language than from its natives? French food, culture, fashion and lifestyle were an attractive bonus! So, off to Nice I went. Being a flight attendant allowed me the freedom to live just about anywhere in the world without having to worry about finding a job or getting a visa! I fly roughly 9-12 days per month and earn a full time salary! Some of my colleagues live in Jordan, Israel, Luxembourg and even Hong Kong.
One of my passions in life is equestrian sport. I am a trained show jumper. While in France, I got back into riding but as you can imagine, horseback riding in the French Riviera was not cheap! After mastering the French language, I jetted off to Southern Illinois. I googled horseback riding vacations and found a ranch that doubled as a bed and breakfast. I emailed the owner and negotiated a favourable rate for a long term stay.
I learned Western style riding from two lovely ladies with over 35 years of experience. They even taught me how to break a horse and train it to be ridden by just about
A couple of years later, I found myself in a comfortable spot once again. So, being me, I went back to Toronto to dream up my next great adventure.
Shortly after, my airline started non-stop service to Dubai. I worked the inaugural flight. Anyone who travels often, can tell you that every city has its own vibe or feel. I fell in love with the feeling of being in Dubai immediately. I felt like there was so much to explore. Being a young country, The United Arab Emirates offered a wealth of untapped potential.
A few months later I got recruited by an internationally renowned hotel chain to do corporate sales. The company found my language skills an incredible asset. I speak fluent Arabic, English and French. Seeing as they sent the entire team to Paris for three months every year, I was an attractive candidate.
I took a leave of absence from my job at the airline, and off to Dubai I went. I’ve fallen in love with the city, the country and it seems the perfect mix of Arab culture with a Western twist. The UAE has a huge equestrian community. It is also centrally located and Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest in the world. I can be in China or Europe in 8 hours.