Much to the chagrin of some of my closest family and friends, I have never been one to do anything simple. For college, I flew across the country to attend a school that I’d never even visited. I studied in Northern Ireland for a year, leaving a week after the 9/11 attacks.
I also enjoy doing things that aren’t the common activities. Yes, Israel is interesting, but Morocco is interesting AND exotic. Who wants to go hiking in the Grand Canyon when you can go hiking in Cappadocia, Turkey? (Ok, some people would rather do those things, and that’s wonderful. But I’m not normal…)
Add to all of this my personal fascination with ancient religion and traditions, and well, there are limited places that I have interest in.
After my previous trip to Western Turkey, including just Istanbul and Cappadocia, I’ve felt myself wondering what’s next for me. Morocco is on the top of my list, but I was extremely tired of the harassment I received from the men in Istanbul, and I’ve heard it’s much worse in Morocco. I’ve also been considering Budapest, Vienna, and Prague, but I feel like there’s plenty of time left in my life to go there.
The Middle East is a mess. I know it is. And people keep telling me to wait until it settles down. But here’s what I think. It’s not going to settle down. Not in my life time while I have the money and freedom to go (aka no family, kids, etc). And also there’s the high probability that a lot of the sites I want to visit won’t even exist in a few years. Militants and wars have destroyed Millennial-old archaeological sites in Iraq.
I’d been considering Iran for a while. I know that more and more people are going from the West, especially from Great Britain. I’ve been particularly interested in Persia since College, and to actually go there would be a dream. However, I’ve recently come to learn about something even older than anything found anywhere else in the World. The site is called Gobekli Tepe and it is in Eastern Turkey. I’ll talk more about the site in later posts, but add it to all of the Hittite sites and other historical sites, my stomach is all a-flutter about it. AND, there are a couple of tour companies that do trips specifically for people like me.
Obviously there is much research to do, but I’m afraid my family and friends may just have to have some patience with me. I’m fully aware of what’s happening with ISIL in Syria and I am watching carefully and talking to friends and others in Turkey about the situation. I’m not buying a ticket yet, but I am looking into it.
However, I’m also still eyeing Budapest/Vienna/Prague as a very excellent backup visit. Or maybe I’ll just save my money and time off and wait another year. Maybe you can help me figure it out? But please don’t assume I’m just going to go deposit myself in the center of a dangerous situation. Ok? Ok.