With the ongoing turmoil in Egypt, especially Cairo, I turn today to professional travel blogger Gary Arndt, the mastermind behind the award-winning " Everything Everywhere" web site, for his reflections. Gary has covered a lot of ground in Egypt, travelling from Cairo to Alexandria to Aswan to Luxor. In his words, he "got a good feel for the country." He writes:
There are many reasons to travel, but the empathy you develop for other places might be the greatest. It converts a news story from anonymous people in an unknown place to people with a face.That statement resonated with me. I've visited many places on the heels of a disaster (spots in southeast Asia slammed by the Tsunami) but that has been after-the fact. Gary shares a poignant take on how it feels to watch chaos unfold in a place where you've already visited and for whose citizens you've developed a certain connection, if not outright affection. [caption id="attachment_2905" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Egypt, land of beauty, wracked by turmoil. Photo: Gary Arndt"] [/caption] He adds:
It isn’t just Egypt of course. This effect kicks in any time something happens in a place you’ve been before. A place where you’ve met people and seen things first hand on the ground. Protests in Thailand, floods in Queensland, or even renovations in the Vatican all mean a little more to me having been there.[caption id="attachment_2907" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="One of the great sphinxes of Egypt. Courtesy of EAIMS"] [/caption] We can sit through documentaries, audit a history class or watch endless news coverage to form impressions of a country, of a culture. It's one way to stay informed, albeit through the filter of someone else's eyes. I think Gary says it best:
Ultimately, if you want to understand the rest of the world, to really understand it, you have to visit it yourself. That can only happen by traveling.You can read Gary Arndt's entire post on the subject of Egypt's crisis. He also writes about the beauty of the country. And that's what we mustn't forget.