On my quest to explore every country in the world before i'm 40, I'd decided that 2017 would be the year of travel to "off the beaten track" destinations. There's certain countries, where due to a number of reasons, hardcore travellers find difficult to reach. This could be due to entry requirements, civil unrest, and general safety. Yemen is one of those countries!
The island of Socotra is a route that many travellers opt for, as it forms part of Yemen, and is the closest thing on Planet Earth to Jurassic Park. The island was recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world natural heritage site in July 2008.
Where is Socotra?
The island of Socotra is part of an archipelago in the India Ocean, just over 200 miles south of mainland Yemen. The area is also referred to as The Gulf of Aden.
Everything was in place! Visa accepted, albeit with an imaginary middle name of Michael, flights booked to Salalah in Oman, flight permits issued for the chartered plane, and guides waiting on the island for our arrival.
I'd made my way from Dubai to Salalah, via Muscat, and the excitement was building. Other than a short delay in the scheduled take off time, everything was running smoothly. We had boarded the chartered plane and were heading to Socotra. Almost an hour into the 70 minute journey was when the problem occurred. The plane was beginning to descend in preparation for landing, when we were informed that our landing permit had been revoked. No explanation from the authorities, an immediate u-turn back to Salalah, and the adventure was over.
Which Tour Company?
If you're Dubai based and haven't heard of Trekkup Dubai, then get involved. A company that brings together people and their love of travel. A packed calendar full of trips to 'off the beaten track' locations, as well as some all time classics. I can't rate them highly enough. Great leaders, great organisation, great destinations, and great prices. Check them out on Facebook by clicking on the logo below...
Meeting a fellow travel blogger
One positive of a failed trip was meeting Johnny Ward, a fellow travel blogger who's 194 countries into his journey of visiting every country. Yes, Yemen was going to be number 195, and I'm sure he'll still make it there. Being new to the blogging game, Johnny shared some valuable tips from his own experiences, as well as future trip ideas, which is always a fave talking topic of mine. Check out his blog here... One Step 4ward.
When travelling the world, there's always going to be various obstacles you face. Ask any hardcore traveller, and they will all have stories. Whether it's a cancelled flight, denied visa entry, or any other issues you come up against, stay positive and keep travelling.