TravelArtsLife.com first started out as Cultural Arts Travelogue in 2010. It was born during the pre-bloggers phase in the UAE and my intention at the time was to capture the exciting experiences of countries that I’d travelled to from a cultural and arts perspective. I also wanted to share stories of my own journey into exhibiting at several art exhibitions.
The initial name of the blog was a tongue twister and so changing it to TravelArtsLife made the blog more memorable. Also, it’s easy an account handle to follow on the social media platforms. While I had to discontinue blogging several times in the past seven years, I’ve had the the opportunity to delve deeper into what topics really move me in the arts, so that you’d feel the same when you read the stories.
That meant looking at why I really wanted to blog in the first place. When I started my blogging journey, I was already writing for several magazines, including Gulf News FRIDAY. I was also working as a regional marketing and communications manager for a global environment engineering firm. Within me, however, there were so many buntings and streamers of words waiting to get out, and the blog outlet gave me the much needed platform for expression. I decided to write stories that were taking place on the ever evolving arts scene here in Dubai.
You see, I’m a third culture kid raised in the UAE, born to Indian parents, my own father having arrived in the country, then known as Trucial States, in 1968. Back in the late 1970s, early 1980s, my exposure to art was chiefly through my mother’s creative pursuits in crochet and oil paintings, and father’s dabbling with photography and videography. This dream filled with the love for arts and culture was unfolding within me as a child growing opposite the Qasr Al Hosn, the seat of the ruling Sheikh at the time -the place that was to become an international cultural and historic spotlight (was proud to write about the for the Jetwings magazine).
The journey of growing up in this land has helped me appreciate how much life has changed and how the arts scene has evolved to cater to all kinds of budgets and artful needs. Moreover, the move towards sustainable lifestyle as well as rooting for mental health is plain to see – consider the emergence of several sustainable artists and festivals. What about the art for health centres and initiatives such as Mawaheb as well as eating healthy through local farm initiatives through RIPE. These are all good things that, in my opinion, provide me a great lifestyle that incorporates all the things that are vital for creatives to develop and realise their full potential.
My dream to breath in more culture and creativity in this land has never more been alive as it is today. And so, by continuing to blog, I hope to take readers on a journey through the UAE where art and arts thrive, but also where people, both locals and residents are change-makers in their own way. Many might remain unsung heroes and others will go on to have a million engaged followers, but the game is not about numbers. It’s all about finding ways to come alive to our true potential where we have been planted. As for me, I’ve come alive in the country that gave birth to me. True, I’m a second generation expat, but the reality is that this country that fed my creative spirit and has paved the way to me the best that I can be in this moment. For that, I’m grateful.
As you go through the blog, you’ll also find travel stories of other countries, each adding a depth to my character and creative pursuits, but the desire to travel was birthed in Abu Dhabi when I was around six and I was reading the National Geographic Magazine that my father used to subscribe to. This magazine held potent life stories that were told through photography which captured my fascination. I’m still trying to get hold of the issue showing the cover photo of the man’s face surrounded by monarch butterflies. Yes, my father without knowing it at the time, had fostered in me a love for travel even through travel at the time was through the channels of words, imagery and cover photos of the National Geographic.
And so, I blog.
A more formal bio is below:
Jan D’Sa is a Dubai based writer with a gift of telling stories through digital content, copywriting and editorial. Originally from India, and raised in Abu Dhabi, she has grown to appreciate cultures, languages and traditions, which has infused in her a great love for slow and solo travel as a way of opening up new avenues, meeting interesting people and creating new adventures.
She is equipped with a Masters Degree in molecular medicine from the UK, which explains why she is always interested in medical and health tourism as well as the application of arts in healthcare settings.
Her writing and photography have appeared in various publications, such as the Awakenings magazine, Jetwings magazine, FRIDAY, Global Citizen, The Indian Trumpet, International Indian, Gulf News, The Itinerant Indian (published by Unisun publications), Intelligent SME and more.
As an inter-disciplinary artist and an arts experimentalist, Jan brings her arts experience and her knowledge of the industry into her blog stories. Apart from showcasing her arts work through exhibitions around the UAE, she has used arts for wellness in social enterprise initiatives around the UAE.