Connect the Cultures steps inside the complex and diverse countries of the Middle East to offer unique insight into the lives of the region’s people through non-fiction stories, articles and interviews.
The Middle East is the most misunderstood part of the world. Many misconceptions surround the region. This is in part because most of the outside world does not understand its people. The Mid East is vast. It is comprised of over a dozen countries which are home to hundreds of millions of people from innumerable cultures. Their beliefs, values and lifestyles are often very different from the rest of the world. While it is impossible for anyone to understand everything this region holds, it is possible for me to shed light on what I know.
Who am I? My name is Sabina Lohr, and I’m an American freelance travel writer and blogger. I first began traveling to the Middle East in early 2008 on a fairly short solo trip to Israel. During that trip, I totally fell in love with the country. I also became intrigued with learning more about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict firsthand. I returned to the region on another solo trip in late 2009, this time to Egypt and Oman as well as back to Israel. During that journey, I easily saw that there are many profound differences between each country and culture. People often think of the Middle East as one big homogeneous blob, but that is far from the truth.
I decided I wanted to dig in deeper and unlock some of the mysteries hidden in the Middle East. I also wanted to get to know some of its lesser-traveled locations. So I returned and spent a year and a half living in three different places: Tiberias, Israel; Dahab, Egypt and Sharjah, U.A.E.
During that time, as well as during the months I spend in the region each year that I return, I’ve gotten to know the local people and made many friends across many different countries, cultures and religions. They are all very aware that the rest of the world tends to see them in an inaccurate and negative light.
Now, everyone in the world is defined in part by their culture. Our personal views, experiences and lives in our own countries strongly influence everything that we hear, see, read and believe about people in other countries. The Middle East is so very different from the rest of the world, though, that there is a massive cultural disconnect between it and the rest of the world.
That is why I created Connect the Cultures. I launched this website in 2016, and shortly thereafter had set it aside to focus on other priorities. Now in 2024 I’ve brought it back. Here I write about the people of the Middle East as someone who understands them better than most people. I write as someone who can shine accurate light on their part of the world. Here I also write about my own lived experience in the Middle East. I show what it’s like to travel through and live as an outsider on the inside of this region.
I naturally tend to see situations from more than one vantage point. As such, I’m able to offer a balanced perspective in what I write here. A balanced perspective, I believe, is so important in our increasingly unbalanced world. Also in our world the media gives us a great deal of biased and one-sided information. Here you’ll find unbiased stories about the people of the Middle East.
Connect the Cultures is for anyone who has an interest in learning about the people who make up the Middle East. Some of what you will read here is what you might expect, most of it is not, and all of it is real.