Monday, March 13, 2006


I'm going ahead and accepting the Mosse Fellowship to spend next academic year in Jerusalem. It's clearly the best financial deal I've applied for, and I've ascertained I can travel to all the Arab countries I need to even with an Israeli stamp on my passport. The only thing that could drive me away is a catastrophic collapse in the security situation, and I wouldn't even begin to worry about that unless the UW administration decides to pull out the study abroad kids.

One thing the picture below reminds me of, though, is that often the most powerful memories of extended travel abroad come from moments rather than monuments, and interesting corners of the world rather than major destinations. It would not surprise me if in the future I think of Israel in terms of some Tel Aviv cafe rather than Temple Mount, and if I learn as much from a side trip to someplace I have yet to hear of as I do from wandering about Ramallah. My favorite of my three trips to the Middle East/North Africa is Morocco, and when I left I certainly didn't foresee any of this aside from a general idea of getting into the Atlas at some point.

I'm also planning to leave Israel quite a bit when I'm over there, just because there's so much to see and so little time. Getting to the Sinai and Luxor in Egypt is a must, as is checking in on people I know in Cairo. I have research to do in Oman and the UAE, which shall also become an excuse to see other Gulf states I can get into. I should also look in on Istanbul, and then try remember to get back to Israel as I have a look around the rest of Turkey, Greece, and some Balkan highlights. This is not to mention a short hop over to Cyprus and a long weekend in Malta. All in all, the map of countries I hope to visit in the next twelve months looks like this:

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

But then again, what do I know? If a friend invites me to check out Mongolia and I have the time and money, I'll almost certainly be off, for with the length of the trip, the uncertainty factor also increases. As Captain Picard said in the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Let's see what's out there."

For now, however, I need to stop daydreaming and get back to grading exams.


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