Back in the Midwest!

Jet-lag hasn’t yet set in after a nearly 24-hour return trip from Middle East back to the Midwest.

In one of the "unconference" session tents

Much more on the experience later, but this “Why We Travel” essay shared by one of my new TEDxSummit friends resonated.

So travel, for many of us, is a quest for not just the unknown, but the unknowing; I, at least, travel in search of an innocent eye that can return me to a more innocent self. I tend to believe more abroad than I do at home (which, though treacherous again, can at least help me to extend my vision), and I tend to be more easily excited abroad, and even kinder. And since no one I meet can “place” me — no one can fix me in my rsum –I can remake myself for better, as well as, of course, for worse (if travel is notoriously a cradle for false identities, it can also, at its best, be a crucible for truer ones). In this way, travel can be a kind of monasticism on the move: On the road, we often live more simply (even when staying in a luxury hotel), with no more possessions than we can carry, and surrendering ourselves to chance.

TEDxSummit, 16 April - 20 April, 2012. Doha, Qatar. Photo: James Duncan Davidson.


Filed under BS outside the Midwest, Life lessons

5 responses to “Back in the Midwest!

  1. carol beamer

    Welcome home….looks and sounds amazing! Can’t wait to hear more!

  2. Hope you had a blast and got a view of what the Middle East can really be like as opposed to all the misconceptions most westerners have. 😉

    • I did have a great time! Bummed we didn’t get to connect, but I know a few people in Doha now, if you’re looking to widen your circle! Just published this post about the similarities I saw between Des Moines and Doha:

      • So I saw — good stuff. Always looking to meet more good people — feel free to send my contact info their way. I’m pretty accessible via the internets 🙂

        So cool you made it to the mangroves, quite a juxtaposition to the barren landscape. You saw a very well curated view of Qatar and I’m sure that was their intent. Once you get past the surface there are some shocking sights as well…

        All in all though, I love living here. I’m constantly surprised and fascinated by everything around me. Particularly as I continue to travel more around the Middle East.

      • I will!

        Yes, hosting TEDx was a brilliant PR move for the country. Whoever had the idea deserves a promotion.

        Clearly all of the development at that pace comes because of the labor of many of the country’s immigrants. And I was a bit appalled at the lack of recycling and concern for the environment. Even in the mangroves, there was trash all over! (I think we went with the same group you did. I e-mailed them and didn’t hear back, but was so excited when I hopped on a post-tour and found out that’s what we’d be doing!)

        I’ll DM you some contacts.

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