#CTCmideast2017, Women in the Middle East

3 Months in Egypt, Jordan and Israel – Month 1.5

Several weeks into my three-month journey through the Middle East I decided to split my #CTCmideast2017 trip into Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 1 lasted six weeks to the day. You can read a synopsis of the first month of #CTCmideast2017 here. Part 2 is beginning this autumn, in September or October. I returned home to Connecticut just nine days ago, and I already can’t stop thinking about going back to the Mid East. Almost everything I do is geared toward and focused on the second half of my trip.

I spent the entirety of Part 1 in Egypt – Cairo, Dahab and Sharm el Sheikh. My time was largely wonderful, as always. I further bonded with old Egyptian friends and made new Bedouin friends. I’ll be writing more about the Bedouin culture of Dahab over the coming months, as this time around I learned more than ever before about the fascinating lives of these lovely people.

3 Months in Egypt, Jordan and Israel - Month 1.5 - Sabina Lohr as a Bedouin
Sipping coffee with my Bedouin girlfriends

Why Did I Split the Trip into Two Parts?

As I wrote in my roundup of the first month, there were some difficulties. None of them lasted, though, and everything turned out fine. The last event, however, was not a difficulty but a full-blown disaster which it is going to take years to fix and from which a lot of people may never recover. I am not exaggerating. This was not my personal problem, but I am too closely involved for comfort.  So I decided the smart thing to do for myself was take a break.

Maybe I’ll be able to write someday about the final event, maybe not. I hope I can because it would be enlightenment into the very dark world that you can find inside the country of Egypt. Fortunately not many people experience this side of Egypt. Unfortunately, I did. Time will tell whether I can say more.

It is almost comical in retrospect that there were so many difficulties, because my life in Egypt in 2011 and 2012 was very happy and easy, and every year when I return I have a great time with my Egyptian friends. Now that I have my Connect the Cultures project, it was really bad timing for things to go wrong. But as the people of the Middle East commonly say – “What can I do?”

3 Months in Egypt, Jordan and Israel - Month 1.5 - with 3 of my friends
With friends in Dahab, Egypt

What I can do is move forward and plan for this autumn. When I return I will be spending the bulk of my time in Israel and Palestine, at least ten days in Jordan, and also will be heading back to Egypt for about a week. I am hoping to keep this upcoming trip down to six weeks, but it is already looking like it may last a bit longer.

What Will I Do Until I Return to the Middle East this Autumn?

I will continue to write stories and post videos for Connect the Cultures. And summers in New England where I live are the best summers in the world, so I will enjoy a splendid June through August with lots of island hopping and time outdoors.

After I’ve bought my flight back to the Middle East, I’ll announce my tentative itinerary on this website. Like Part 1 and like all of my trips to the Middle East, my plans are never set it stone.  Keeping life open when I’m in the region is what works for me,  This is not vacation time but a bonding with my friends, a sort of pseudo living in Egypt and Israel, a return to my former lives in these countries in the Middle East.

No matter who we are, how we live, what we believe, most of the world is not like us. We are all different. In my eyes, the lives and the cultures of the Middle East are not only different, not only not like me, they are the most deeply fascinating in the world. I’m totally enchanted with the Mid East and I can’t wait to share more of what I know with you.

By: Connect the Cultures founder Sabina Lohr

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