Summer Survey Assignment

Welcome to readers from AlmostFearless! I hope you enjoyed my post! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this guest post I wrote called “Traveling the World, One Bag of Popcorn at a Time.

In a few weeks, I will embark on the wildest trip of my life. Hands down.

I wanted to tell you sooner, but I was waiting on my itinerary to be finalized and flights to be locked in. You ready? Here we go.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

My summer survey kicks off in the heart of Ethiopia, where my colleague Stephanie and I will spend a week gathering prices in Addis Ababa. I’ll be honest – I don’t know much about this side of Africa. The one Ethiopian restaurant I ate at in Boston was tasty, so I’m looking forward to expanding my palette with some new dishes. Other than food, there are plenty of markets and museums to get lost in, and I’m hoping to learn more about the Jewish diaspora in Ethiopia.

Djibouti, Djibouti

From Ethiopia, Stephanie and I fly direct to Djibouti. During a Model UN conference in high school, the Djibouti delegation proposed a resolution to turn the entire country into a world-dance-floor. I’m not really sure what they were thinking, but these days, when I hear Djibouti, that’s what I think of. Let’s hope I can form a new word association.

The weather is supposed to be hot. Real hot. Likr, 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Apparently, there is good snorkeling and scuba diving, so I’m hoping Stephanie and I can get our work done and cool ourselves in the open ocean. Though, I don’t plan on wading too far from shore – Somalia shares a border to the south.

Amman, Jordan

After Djibouti, Stephanie and I part ways. She leaves for Cairo, and, after an overnight stay in Dubai, I leave for Amman, Jordan. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be going here. Interestingly enough, I’ve wanted to visit Jordan since the age of 8 or 9, when I first saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In the film’s final scenes, Harrison Ford and company dip into a crescent canyon where they find a secret temple built into the rock. That temple actually exists, and let me tell you, it looks incredible. Here’s a short documentary:

Like Chernobyl, I’ll be taking lots of pictures.

Speaking of pictures, have you seen It’s where you can find all my best travel shots.

Damascus, Syria

After Jordan, I fly direct to Syria. One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus cannot be entered with an Israeli-stamped passport. Good thing I travel with two different passports 🙂 Syria is an incredibly historical crossroads of commerce and culture for many of the world’s major religions. Instead of staying in the Sheraton outside of town, I booked a 17th-century, 9-room boutique hotel within the walled compounds of the Old City. Hopefully I won’t get woken up at 4am by the muezzin’s call to prayer.

If I play my cards right, I should have a few days to get outside of Damascus. I hope to visit Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage oasis in the middle of the Syrian desert. I also hope to talk to as many locals as possible in an effort to separate the people from the politics of the country. Can’t wait to share my experience.

Doha, Qatar

As little as I know about Ethiopia, I know even less about Qatar. While I don’t have much free time in Doha, I’m hoping to get together with a friend I met on Twitter and learn as much as I can. If I can squeeze in a few leisure hours, there are plenty of beach and desert-related activities to keep me happy.

Anchorage, Alaska

I’m super excited to head to Anchorage. Several years ago, I went on a month-long backpacking trip to Alaska, and my group spent a few days in and around Anchorage. I should have a day or so of free time, so I’m hoping to retrace what I can – namely a hike on the Wolverine Peak Trail, and time permitting, heading north to catch a glimpse of Mt. McKinley. Maybe some fishing as well?

What an itinerary, right? Karma is on my side this quarter. I’ll be traveling from July 18th – September 1st, coming home just in time to enjoy what limited decent weather New England has to offer. Stay tuned for more updates!

11 thoughts on “Summer Survey Assignment”

  1. Wow. That is going to be an amazing journey. I totally agree with you in regards to Petra, that’s awesome. I’m looking forward to hearing updates.

    Oh and the photos on your website are fantastic. I had no idea that site even existed!
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..What have you done today? =-.

  2. I went to Petra a few years ago in early June. It was a fantastic time to be there because most people can’t take the heat. We were the only ones on foot walking in which was amazing because once the camels and little carts pass you carrying other tourists you are in the sique alone. At one point all I could hear was my shutter going off, then I put my camera away for a bit and just took it all in. It almost felt like my camera was disrupting the silence which was such a part of the beauty.

    Oh, here’s a tip. If you are there for more than one day, take the lesser traveled route in to the city of Petra on the second day. It follows a barren canal where water sometimes rushes in during flash floods. It’s a long walk through oleanders and interesting little caves and shrines of sorts. And if you can see Petra at night, it is so worth it.

    Have a great trip!
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..Restaurant Review: Les Anciens Combattants =-.

  3. This is so awesome, I’m really happy for you! Had no idea about the photo website. Do you use that small compact camera you had in Bucharest?

    Who needs freelancing, when you can do the travel that you do with such a 9 to 5 alternative, right? 🙂

    Hope an Indiana Jones geek such as myself will get a chance to see Petra at some point in life! Until then, I have some exciting plans as well for February 2010.
    .-= Adrian´s last blog ..Goreme First Impressions =-.

  4. @Nate: Thanks Nate! Glad you enjoyed the photos, looking forward to taking more 🙂

    @Angela: Thanks for the tip! I’ve seen some pictures of Petra at night…I may have to bring a tripod and go wild. Really like your blog, those food pictures are making me hungry.

    @John: You can count on it!

    @Adrian: Yep, used the point-and-shoot in Bucharest, but I’m thinking about bringing my larger camera on this trip. Glad we’re both Indiana Jones’ geeks. Plans for February 2010, heh? Can’t wait to read about them!

  5. Do i have to push you down a flight of stairs to steal your job or something? I love your job! I love travel, i love shopping, i love building budgets and spreadsheets, i’m a master at Excel and Access, i love SPSS and research, can i be your assistant? Tell me, how do I get a job similar to yours? What are the requirements and how do I find one? 🙂
    .-= jen laceda´s last blog ..My Macarons: A Comparison of Three Parisian Pâtisseries =-.

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