Sonja Lind is a friend and global programs coordinator at Schreiner University which includes preparing study abroad students. She understands how important it is to travel intentionally, taking the time, effort and discomfort of encountering a country beyond just a visit of the sites and moving on to the next country. Her post is a lengthy read and worthwhile for seeing how travel can serve as a political act, as Rick Steves suggests in his book, Travel as a Political Act.
It was early autumn, and the locals told me that I had arrived just before the seasons shifted and the rains arrived. I wouldn’t have known it. Taking a swim didn’t help either. At an uncomfortable 30°C (86°F), the salty Red Sea provided no relief from the 35°C (95°F) breeze. Air conditioning was rare. I lethargically waited under the ceiling fan for the sun to set. Why had I decided to visit Eritrea?
Months earlier, while planning a six-month round-the-world trip, my friend and I looked at a map of Asia and Africa, and compromised. Both of us wanted to go to Ghana and India. But we had bought the limited-mileage ticket, and visiting both countries meant we wouldn’t be able to visit Europe. We compromised: if we were going to India, we could also go to an African country, but only if it was in the north…
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