Opportunity. It can come and go before you even realize it. In a world that is now fully connected via digital networks and social media, opportunity when recognized, can be maximized to levels never before imagined. Truth be told, last Christmas morning I nearly slept through my opportunity. As night turned into day an amazing once in a lifetime deal hit the internet. What would be affectionately referred to as #GlitchGate resulted in a wave of new travelers reserving flights to the destinations in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai had situated themselves as the predominant destinations for the Nomadness Travel Tribe in 2015, and 2014 hadn't even ended yet. What made this 2015 of UAE travel so remarkable is the way the Etihad Airways embraced the upcoming crop of new faces. From honoring the initial reservations to that treatment of tribe members throughout the year, they left a mark of excellence that would not be soon forgotten by veteran and novice travelers alike.
I am such a novice. My trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai represented my first travel across the Atlantic. As it would turn out my randomly selected travel date put me square in the middle of the largest Nomadness group visiting to the UAE. Roughly one hundred of us set out for a memorable Labor Day Weekend courtesy of Etihad Airways. This would also turn out to be my first international Business Class experience as well. As far as flying goes,Etihad has spoiled me for life. From the world class 7-Starservices at the Emirates Palace to the private helicopter tours, roof top parties, desert excursions and exclusive yacht meet ups, Nomadness took in all the luxury and pleasure that was available to us.
Yet, our time wasn't solely spent checking off the expected tourist bucket list. The people we met were all friendly, helpful and pleasant. By the end of our time in Dubai my friends and I had made a new pal from Saudi Arabia who helped us navigate the local scene including the various sukh markets around town. In the end I made a promise to myself that I would soon return as there was just too much to experience and too little time to do it all. 11249862_885302934892643_812158172_n For 3/4 of the year the UAE welcomed my tribe and sent us home with memories that will last a lifetime. I remember back on December 25th, as news of the travel deal made its way out of private groups and onto social media there was no shortage of naysayers as to the validity of the reservations and jokes made at the expense of the people that quickly booked trips. "They don't even know that Abu Dhabi and Dubai are different cities." "They're booking flights to a place they can't even afford to stay in." So on and so on, yet as Nomadness always does, we exposed just how many are talking without any true knowledge of what the UAE is about. Ten months after the initial fare deal Etihad Airways has successfully and safely handled hundreds of Nomadness travelers. The relationship would expand even further as they would come on to support our first ever #NMDN ALTERnative Travel Conference, as well as help us celebrate our 4 year anniversary with some of the best chocolate I've ever had in my life.

**See All The #NMDN Images Here & Nomadness Anniversary Images Here**

This was the year of the #UAETAKEOVER but rest assured it's not the last that the cities of Abu Dhabi ad Dubai have seen of us. I see quite the future for Etihad Airways and the Nomadness Travel Tribe. #GlitchGate was clearly the gift that kept on giving.