Travel the World. Yes, that includes the Middle East.

While browsing through articles of various topics regarding the Middle East, I stumbled upon a blog that grasped my attention. Looking back at me was a young Australian woman smiling from ear to ear on top of a hillside. A photo of this sort would not typically be the type of element to captivatingly absorb my interest for more than a few minutes, but I found my curiosity for the path of this young woman’s life elevating more and more each moment. After reading a quick blurb about her, I had come to find that she had given up what was thought to be a well-planned career, to travel around the world indefinitely, and alone. The connection was simultaneously made; she is experiencing a similar lifestyle to the one that I hope I will soon be able to engage myself in. Her journey began in the US, but eventually led her to the Middle East. Initially, she did not broadcast her travels to this vast region, which stirred up the questions as to why. Did she fear the responses she would most definitely receive for committing to a voyage of this sort independently? Or for other personal reasons? Whether these were factors in her decision or not, I personally began to compare them to my own feelings on the matter. In another blog focusing on safe traveling in the Middle East, the comment was made that is natural for people in the West to group the entire region as a whole, when in fact various cultures exist, and should be acknowledged. Not only is the region looked at as one single place, but it is done so with the mentality that it is an area ridden with crime and terror. When I tell people I will be traveling internationally, with our first step being Vietnam, a face mixed with concern and shock is now almost expected. Even the smear thought of traveling globally exhilarates me to the point of no belief, and I can only hope that others would want to share this interest. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When people ask me my reasoning for having the desire to travel so far, I always think to myself, “Why not?” Why not dive into culture with the willingness to embrace the diverse atmosphere that will surround you? While submerging yourself in a place entirely different than your own may not be the smoothest transition, and the last thing you will know is your comfort zone, seeing the world from a new perspective can and will open up so many doors. The opportunity I have been given to explore the world is one that I am thankful to indulge in. While the process might not be easy, I am ready to involve myself in this complex learning experience, and the rest that lies ahead.


5 thoughts on “Travel the World. Yes, that includes the Middle East.

  1. I think world travel is very important in gaining a global perspective on everything that goes on. I think it’s terrific that the Australian was confident enough to travel in the Middle East despite the unfortunately dangerous reputation it has. Every place has its pros and cons but it all adds to the experience!

  2. Very interesting post! I really enjoyed your perspective and opinion on the subject of tourism in the Middle East. I too want to see as much of the world as I possibly can in my lifetime, and have more than once talked about it with my family. I spent part of my summer in Colombia, and received many less than encouraging comments about that. And while it was a major culture shock, I found that I felt very safe there while exercising a reasonable amount of caution. I can recall specific instances when family members have said, “Well, as long as you don’t go to the Middle East. Way too dangerous.” While I’ve certainly never ruled the Middle East out as somewhere to travel, I have often agreed with the statement that it is too dangerous, especially for travelling alone. The woman you mentioned is really very inspiring! I think that our perceptions of the Middle East as a hotbed of crime and terrorism are greatly influenced by media representation, and can be damaging when it comes to understanding and communication with Arabic cultures. It highlights the ways in which we are different, as opposed to focusing on the human experience that we all share. For that reason. I would love to travel to the Middle East in person some day.

  3. Great read, I completely agree everyone should try to take the chance to travel. Seeing the world outside our comfortable American walls should almost be a necessity in life. It’s so easy to judge other places in the world when all we have is the news to tell us about it. We should go to that place, experience it for ourselves and truly understand their position.

  4. Very interesting read. As someone who has a desire to travel to not one specific part of the world, but rather to experience all of our world this was very relevant to me. One dilemma I’ve been met with is the balance of desiring to travel to all places of the world with the knowledge that some places may be more dangerous than others. How does one decide when a place is currently too violent or dangerous to study and explore?

  5. Like you, I also have a passion for traveling and experiencing cultures! And the women in your post is definitely brave, someone I think we all can admire. Often the negative aspects of a country, region, or culture overshadow the benefits and beauty of that place. Although I think everyone should see/experience the world on their own terms, I also believe we need to incorporate safety measures. Especially as females, I feel like we are targeted based on what our gender offers and the stereotypes associated with us (weak, submissive). I do not believe any of those adjectives describe me nor most women, however, after hearing about the sex slavery, kidnappings, and abuse that occurs throughout the world, especially with ISIS in the Middle East, I can’t help but feel threatened. And I hate to say it, but it definitely makes me reconsider where and how I travel in the future. I don’t know if I can be as brave as your aforementioned solo sojourner!

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