Today is my last day in Saudi. It’s almost 6:00 pm here, and our flight leaves at 12:50 am. It’s going to be a long journey home.
When I was asked if I wanted to come here, my initial reaction (in my head) was a firm no. Travelling long distances on planes is in general outside my comfort zone, let alone going to a country where women are required to cover up, not allowed to do things which I take for granted, and can be charged with prostitution simply by going to dinner with a man they are not related to. But I know myself well enough to not answer right away. I said I’d think about it.
I talked to Greg and he was supportive, I talked to my mother and she was a bit freaked out, and then I talked to my sister and that was the tipping point. I was already entertaining the idea, as despite my general hesitancy in trying new and different things, I do recognize that I need to push myself at times. I think the only fear I had that I felt was rational was fear for my safety. And once I talked to my sister and her husband (who are avid, educated travellers and who would not encourage me to go anywhere unsafe), I realized that I was going to say yes. They were so excited for me, even envious. I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
I have only been in the country for 14 days and I know I experienced a very tiny part of what is Saudi, but I feel blessed for having experienced what I did, both from a cultural perspective and from a pure enjoyment perspective. I have no regrets, and being here may have opened the door to me entertaining further travel in the future, with my family. Obviously not here, and probably nowhere near the Middle East, but in doing this, I realize that seeing other parts of our world is an amazing experience, and one that should not be omitted simply because Greg and I happen to be nervous travellers.
I will be blogging about my trip in the coming days…not sure how it’s going to play out because I’m going to be doing a mix of things: sharing emails I sent to my family, posting entries I wrote while I was here and creating new entries about stuff I’ve missed. The presentation may be a bit awkward, but I want to get it down. So bear with me.