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The Middle East is the most misunderstood region of the world. On Connect the Cultures I step inside the complex and diverse countries of this region to offer insight into the lives of its people through non-fiction stories, articles and interviews.

My name is Sabina Lohr, and I’m an American freelance travel writer and blogger. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 15+ years traveling through the Middle East and immersing myself in its various cultures. The first time I traveled to the Middle East was on a short solo trip to Israel in 2008. 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.

Sabina Lohr - Connect the Cultures

I returned to the region on another much longer 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 learn more about life in the Middle East. I also wanted to get to know some of its lesser-traveled locations. So I spent a year and a half living by myself in three different locations: Tiberias, Israel; Dahab, Egypt and Sharjah, U.A.E. During that time I also did a lot of traveling through the Middle East.

During that period of 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. I never spend time with other travelers or expats. Instead I spend time with the people who are native to the region. Doing this has given me the ability to make many friends across many different countries, cultures and religions.

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 people I know in the Middle East are all very aware that the rest of the world tends to see them in an inaccurate and negative light. That is unfortunate, but it’s also understandable because the Middle East is so very different from other regions.

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. Those differences cause a lot of misunderstandings, fear and hate. That is in part because most of the outside world doesn’t really know much of anything about its people. I have learned quite a bit in my years of traveling through the Middle East and immersing myself in many of its various cultures. While it is impossible for anyone to understand everything this region holds, it is possible for me to shed light on what I know. One thing I know is that there is a massive disconnect between this region and the rest of the world. 

That is why I created Connect the Cultures, back in 2016. 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 more accurate light on their part of the world. Here I also write about my own lived experience in the Middle East. Here 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. At least I try to. A balanced perspective, I believe, is so important in our increasingly unbalanced world. One reason for the current imbalance in our world is because the media gives us so much biased information. Here you’ll find unbiased information and 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.

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