Our Managing Director Carl and his father, Peter Hobson, set off for Dubai, Oman and Jordan on a boys trip like no other

I was 27 when I last travelled with my father, Peter Hobson. However, the rest of my family were also in tow, and I was so preoccupied with the logistics of travelling with a six-month-old that I don’t think he and I spent any meaningful time together. I touch on this because holidaying one-on-one with my father in Dubai, Oman and Jordan now has proved to be a different proposition entirely. I am now 47 and my father is 73; we made for much more interesting company for one another this time around and great travel companions.

A family trip to the Middle East

The catalyst for the trip was to experience some of my father’s former work placements in Dubai and Oman, and to visit Jordan for the first time, a country that has long been on both of our bucket lists. With an ambitious itinerary and uncertain of how we would get along in such concentrated circumstances, I felt some apprehension in advance of the trip, as I am sure he did too. As it turned out, my anxiety was unfounded, and I have to say that I could not have wished for more. Like giddy children, we revelled in each other’s company, with my father regaling me with story after story, inspired and prompted by the emotion of being back in places he so fondly remembered.

Some I had heard already but have never tired of, but there was plenty of novelty too. It’s not every day you learn that your father won a silver medal in rowing for Great Britain at the Lucerne World Championships in 1974! Excuse me, but how on earth could this of escaped me?! This was followed by: “I was stung by a bluebottle jellyfish on that beach over there, and I built the tunnel under Dubai Creek, the only one that exists in Dubai.”

In some respects, this trip made me feel as if I’ve been walking around with my head in the clouds all these years – this amazing and interesting person has been right there all along, not just a father, but someone who has led an incredible life. This realisation made me feel sad in some ways, but focused my mind on making the most of the trip and the time we were spending together, a viewpoint my father shared, among others.

This trip must be one of the best experiences I have ever had. You learn so much about a person and they in turn get the measure of you, all with the backdrop of the amazing destinations you are visiting and experiences you are both immersed in. It was an extraordinarily special experience.

Peter Hobson says:

“It was an interesting and, at times, difficult experience for me to leave control of events to Carl. Despite having a copy of the itinerary, in the end I found that I preferred to let Carl take the strain, after all, he was working, and I was not!”

“There is a totally different dynamic between men when their wives are excluded, and so it was between Carl and me. Serious conversations were held alongside really silly ones and, most importantly, we didn’t have to do any shopping – or even think about it! Instead, we could get on with the serious business of immersing ourselves in our surroundings, eating, drinking and generally enjoying ourselves.” 

“It has been a very long time since Carl and I spent any time together unencumbered by priorities, deadlines and the general stress of life, and I must say it was worth every penny. Over the years, I had forgotten just what an intelligent, witty, caring person Carl is. I think that we now understand each other a lot better, and our relationship will be even stronger for this shared experience going forward.” 

“Visiting Oman was, in so many ways, like returning to my days as a young man; the memories came flooding back. Jordan was simply spectacular and such great fun to experience with Carl. Dubai was interesting, vis a vis the amount of change that has taken place in the intervening 48 years since I last visited. Buildings such as the World Trade Centre, which stood in the desert as a brave investment in the future, are now dwarfed by their surroundings and the Dubai that I knew has either been demolished or turned into tourist venues – it’s fair to say that the Dubai that exists now has lost its soul.” 

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Venetia Stanley
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