Last Updated on October 13, 2023 by Ellen
It’s happened… again.
Erupting world events are causing us to change our upcoming slow travel plans.
The last time it was Covid. Now a war.
To be sure, our inconvenience is minuscule compared to the death, destruction, and loss caused by the what’s occurring in Gaza and Israel right now.
Still, as we watch the events unfold, we must somberly make decisions about our itinerary for this coming winter.
My wife Ellen and I were scheduled to fly from Antalya, Türkiye to Tel Aviv, Israel on November 12. And my 84-year-old mother was supposed to arrive in Tel Aviv the next day from the USA to meet us.
The plan was for us all to spend two weeks touring Israel — something I’ve dreamed of my whole life. After that more dreams to fulfill in Jordan and Egypt. In total, at least four solid months amidst some of the most hallowed and historic places known to mankind.
But modern-day human hatred has torn up our storybook. Sadly, the Israel part of the trip seems impossible. Beyond that, I can’t imagine leisurely enjoying the Middle East as murder and anger and vengeance grip the region. Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to readjust.
Ironically, we spent the whole summer of 2023 worrying about the ‘other’ war — Ukraine. We spent those three months in Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria — at times we were less than 200 miles from the Ukraine border.
Thankfully, the Ukraine/ Russia conflict did not spill into the neighboring countries. In fact, we actually met people fleeing both countries. Our hearts go out to them and all those now involved in the horrific situation in Israel.
Over the past few days we’ve spent countless hours considering warm weather, budget-friendly, winter alternatives; Cyprus, Morocco, the Canary Islands? The plan was to hang around the Mediterranean, make another foray into Europe in the spring — then maybe try the cancelled mid-east plan a year from now.
But unable to find the lower cost, last minute, accommodations and air fares that I’m usually so proud of discovering – we filtered down through plans E, F, G, H.
Turns out “plan I” stands for India. Yep, we’re going back to the subcontinent! And mom will meet us there again, like last winter.
This time, we got decent airfare from Turkey through Dubai. (We did get our Israel tickets refunded.) Mom will continue on to India after a layover in Cairo, Egypt. We’ll meet up in Kochi, Kerala, India. A historical, tropical, deep-south Indian city on the Arabian Sea.
Stays and transport in Goa and Puducherry are also in place. It should be an amazing and blazing-hot winter — far away from the human ugliness and heartbreak now filling the news media.
Still, we know full well there is plenty of misery, poverty, and human suffering in India too. During our months in various northern Indian locations early in 2023 we witnessed all of it. Honestly, the hardest part of ‘what we do’ (immersing ourselves in different cultures) is seeing the poor and downtrodden, the disadvantaged children, the forgotten elderly.
Sadly, everywhere on the planet seems to be convulsing due to man and his activities. Climate change, political turmoil, war and violence, media propaganda, hunger, deprivation, and poverty, economic tumult, ethnic strife, greed and corruption; we see the same simmering issues everywhere.
We hope and pray for deescalation and healing in Israel. I’m truly saddened and disappointed that our plan to see Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Petra, and the Pyramids has been derailed. I also feel guilty to be so easily scampering on to an alternate place to relax and enjoy the winter — while millions of souls have nowhere to go as bombs fall on them. Never do we forget how lucky and blessed we are.
Nonetheless, we’ll soon be on the beaches of Southern India continuing to watch as the world wobbles. I’ve preached it for years — but it seems ever more relevant now — things are changing, and not for the better. If there’s something you want to see or do – make it soon!
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.
Life is NOW. Travel now. The end is near.