Why did I decide to come to Syria!? Like the US border officials, many people have asked me what connection I have to Syria that would make me want to visit—I have no friends there, it is not a part of my heritage, and it is definitely not at the top of most people’s travel lists. But to me, none of that matters!
The way I like to travel was shaped by my very first trip abroad when I was 17 and I somehow found myself flying to Ghana. At the time, I had no connection to it whatsoever. But I do now. After spending a summer wandering about the little village of Hohoe, meeting its people and learning about it’s cultural quirks, I can’t help but feel connected to it. Prior to my travels, like most Americans, I knew only that there was poverty and strife in sub-Saharan Africa but I understood little else. So when I went to Ghana, what I did not expect to find was so much joy in the friendliness of its people, its vibrant colors, lively music and way of life.
For me, it was a life-changing experience because it taught me not to believe everything I read. And I learned that the best way to learn about the world is to just hop on a plane and explore it.
And so when I hear about a place with which I have little connection, my instinct is to want to go there and create one—particularly in places where the media coverage is overwhelmingly negative because I’ve learned that it is never the full story.
So too I had this feeling about Syria when I learned that it was safer and open to tourism again. I wanted to go. I was curious to learn more about the country that is the cradle of our civilization and the birthplace of the world’s major religions. And I was even more curious to understand what it is like to visit a country that is rebuilding after nearly 8 years of bloody conflict. I wasn’t sure what I would find. So I went. And now I’m back home with a connection to a part of the world I never thought I’d have!
TLDR; I was simply just curious so I went 🙂
P.S. Thank you to @khaldoun_alamy for helping me arrange my trip!
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