Want to travel but unsure? Dolly Dib advises you to ‘just leave the house’

Want to travel but unsure? Dolly Dib advises you to ‘just leave the house’
(Photos: Handouts from Dolly Dib)
Dolly Dib, a Lebanese native born and raised in Jordan, is known for her warm welcome of “Hello, lovelies”, in Arabic, on her detailed, personal travel blogs and vlogs on Instagram and TikTokاضافة اعلان

As a self-proclaimed foodie, her love for exploring new cultures and meeting new people has gone viral on social media. But this passion is far from new. At a young age, Dib recalls, her frequent trips to Lebanon with her “adventurous” parents — who she credits as her inspiration — first instilled in her an interest in travel. 

But it was not until she ventured out on her first semi-solo trip at the age of 15 for a month-long music camp that she truly caught the travel bug. 

Playing the flute since fourth grade, Dib received a scholarship to attend an orchestra and music band camp in Pennsylvania in 2010. It was there that she had her first experience playing with international musicians.

“It was insane. Seeing firsthand the passion, the dedication that people had. People would train for eight hours on end, which was definitely not something I was familiar with,” she told Jordan News, laughing. 

“I returned to Amman with a renewed passion for music, especially for the music scene in Jordan.”

But what truly left an impression was the experience of traveling: “It was fascinating: to meet new people, try new things, see new things,” she mused. 

No breaking the bankAfter completing her Bachelor's degree in Language Interpretation and Translation at the German Jordanian University, Dib began blogging about her travels on a student budget. Her goal? To show people that it is possible to experience different cultures without breaking the bank.
“Every trip I take, I either watch the ballet or go to the opera, or a museum — or any show really. You will find that it is very exciting to see the culture of the people there.”
Part of her education involved cultural studies. Her focus was largely on the differences between Jordanian and German cultures, and this, she said, definitely enhanced her experiences. 

Dib’s first encounter with travel blogging was during a scholarship-funded study-abroad trip, where she and her travel companions were on a student budget. “This is where I became obsessed with showing people that you can experience things that are very different from what you know.”

“People thought we had so much money because we could afford to travel to so many countries across Europe.”

The reality, however, was less sweet. 

“We used to eat to one meal a day — if we ate. And we would be like 10 girls sleeping in one room,” she said. “It was quite crazy.”

The first trip she posted to Instagram to showcase how she traveled on a budget was to Iceland and Denmark. “I wanted to show people how you can do that because these are countries that not many were visiting for tourism.”

Beyond visual aestheticsDib’s travel blogging journey took off slowly. And while she has been in the travel arena for nearly a decade, she was more intuitive about posting content early in her journey.  
“Many of my followers are people who were shocked to see that things were either that simple or that affordable.”
“I used to upload sometimes advice, sometimes on forums, but then I realized how important it is to do vlogs with information,” she said. And with the rise of TikTok, Dib began focusing more on creating vlogs with helpful information for her followers.

“It was not just visual aesthetics, people need the information, and people want to learn from the video,” Dib said.

Culture is one thing Dib loves to share during her trips. She enjoys visiting museums, watching ballets and operas, and attending other shows.

“Every trip I take, I either watch the ballet or go to the opera, or a museum — or any show really. You will find that it is very exciting to see the culture of the people there,” she shared.

Many of Dib’s followers may be surprised to know that she also has another full-time job as a producer, in addition to her full-time blogging. This may sound like a lot, but Dib emphasizes that her balance between jobs is because of her love for both. 

The similarities in content creation also certainly help make it possible. “They both fall under one — big — thing, just with different aspects of content creation,” Dib said. “But I am definitely working late at night a lot.”

One of her favorite things about her blogging job is receiving feedback from followers who have used her travel tips — whether an airline hack or a cheap place to stay.

“Many of my followers are people who were shocked to see that things were either that simple or that affordable,” she shared.

“Just leave the house,” said Dib, sharing what she called the best piece of advice anyone has given her. 

“If you just leave the house, you will see things. It is just as simple as that.”

‘White Arabic’Passionate about giving back to the community that “gave her a lot”, Dib’s content is largely in Arabic, as Arabic speakers make up her target audience. 

“My content is largely in what we call ‘white Arabic’, it is not a strict Jordanian dialect, but it is not Fusha either.”
“The company is more important than the destination.”
“White Arabic" refers to a dialect that is inclusive and understandable to most Arab speakers, when native Arabic speakers change their speech to be closer to Modern Standard Arabic in order to be understood by speakers from a very different geographical region. 

Many of Dib’s followers are from Levantine and Gulf countries. “My content is for the Arab community, so it is in Arabic.”

Trips and tipsDib's method of sharing advice is very personal. She takes her followers along with her on trips where she shoots videos and documents what she did in a day throughout the journey. Her unique style of breaking down the costs of her destinations and her realistic lens on affordability inspire interaction. 

If you prefer reading about trips, Dib also posts her travels in detail on her blog at www.thedollztertravels.com. 

What makes Dib even more relatable is her genuine excitement about the content she puts out. On Instagram, her stories open dialogue with her followers, and she usually asks for feedback at the end of every vlog. 

However, being a female travel blogger is not without its challenges. 

“There is no community where you can discuss that (being a female travel blogger), especially not here,” she said. 

Many people have also told Dib that a lot of what she does is unsafe for girls, “but they have not tried it themselves.”

Despite the challenges, Dib is determined to inspire others to explore the world. “We sometimes forget that women's experience in travel is not the same as men's,” she said. “I would never recommend anything that is not safe, especially given I am a female, I am from the Middle East, and I know what it is.”

CompanyWhile she is famous for her international travel, her favorite trips so far being to Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Lisbon in Portugal, Dib is also known for her tips and journeys across Jordan. “In our culture, when you want to meet with someone, you usually go to a café or restaurant,” she said. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and people were stuck at home, she began blogging about her trips outside Amman.

It first started with a blog on Umm Al-Namel, and given that it was spring at the time, Jordan’s beauty was at its peak. “Everywhere was green,” she recalled.

Her most recent trip was to Georgia. The trip was a “no expectations trip”, as she was supposed to go to another country, but seeing as she had no visas to any other countries, she went to Georgia. 

“We stayed for a week, and it was definitely one of the best trips of 2022.”

The vlogger usually travels with other people, she said. “I love traveling with friends, and I am married, so I love traveling with my husband as well.”

Dib leaves us with one final piece of advice as we plan our next trip: “The company is more important than the destination.”

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