Ahhhhhhh…. back on the road!
In the rear view, a much needed break was in order after 115 long hot days around Southeast Asia. Although Kevin’s death is hard to accept, it brought together several hundred people. We have a renewed appreciation for life, friends, family, and our world travel plan.
We’ve read several books this year spanning fantasy, non-fiction, business and spirituality. One special book called A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
was recommended by our friends Jeff & Neda. The book is written by Eckhart Tolle, “the most popular spiritual author in the United States”. For me, his perspectives on the human thought process resonated like no other. The gist is to train yourself to an always conscious “ego-less” state of being.
I’ve found myself over-thinking stuff to where unconscious thoughts “hijack” my life. I’d worry about past conversations, interactions, missed opportunities, etc. Then, forge a personal profile (ego) and an unconscious vision of my future. I felt trapped in everything but the present moment. This isn’t to say I haven’t done a decent job enjoying life, because I definitely have! The point is, there is so much more to just experience “being” than one can imagine with the unconscious mind. Basically, the past is the past and the future is completely unconscious thinking. His suggestion for coping with unconscious or stressful moments is to say to yourself, “this too will pass”.
Eckhart’s book explains how society has gotten so ego-centric. He explains how the world is in the process of turning back to a collective state of consciousness to save itself. Our practice of the book’s principles is our part in this evolution. My favorite take away is that we must live in at least one of three modalities of “awakened doing”: acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. So, if someone cuts you off on the highway….. you have to accept it as someone’s ego and move on to the conscious. Good luck!
Where in the world to go next?
When travel planning, we thought about returning to finish the Indonesian leg of our trip…. then Turkey and Eastern Europe to research family ancestry. A creative brainstorm surged towards the Middle East instead of Indonesia. The flights were cheaper, distance shorter, closer to Europe… and lets be honest, we were burnt out on Asia.
We unfortunately had to eliminate Egypt due to government instability. The country is about one year into a new regime and people are not happy with lack of change. We heard about the ancient city of Petra in Jordan and thought it could make a nice first getaway. Of course, we both wanted to visit Israel for the first time as well. Flights to Amman, Jordan were like $600 (one way), so the plan unfolded.
Jordan…Muslim culture in the Middle East
Wow.. were we pleasantly surprised with Jordan. Petra wound up being one of many amazing stops (Mount Nebo & the Dead Sea, Madaba, Karak, Wadi Rum and Aqaba) within the country. We rented a car very inexpensively and petrol was dirt cheap. For example, a full tank (compact car) cost $20 to fill. Israel was about $50! It definitely pays to be buddies with the Saudi’s and other Muslim countries. We did encounter several check points throughout our drives, but nothing too inconvenient or scary. At the Red Sea around Aqaba, we were at the cross between Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt. A joint military operation was taking place in response to the conflict in Syria. The United States and Britain were training with Jordanians.
We can’t say enough about how friendly the people were in Jordan. The country is very spacious and free to roam. Religion is super important, but not so much in your face. We got such a kick out of how men and women operate. The men are out all hours of the night smoking shisha (looking at your wife) while the women are at home with the kids, etc. We visited several “souks” where vendors sold sexy lingerie. Christie kept wondering who was buying and wearing such underwear when the women walk the streets covered from head to toe. We spent an extra week exploring Jordan and loved every moment.
Stepping into the Holy Land…Jerusalem, Israel
May ended with the holy land of “Jerusalem”. Talk about a mind twister! One minute we’re in a Muslim country, the next caught in line at the Israeli border crossing with a mix of religious people eager to visit the Old City. We weren’t prepared for the onslaught of non-Jewish religion. There is a quarter for everyone including Armenia, huh?