Safed or Zefat as you’re more likely to see around town, came recommended to me by a cousin living in Israel. It would be a great base for hiking, we were told, so why not spend a couple of nights?
Palestine. Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Territories. The home of the occupation. Those are just some of the names for arguably the most contentious piece of land within one of the most contentious regions in human history.
I never felt like I deserved to go to Jerusalem. It’s a city that in my imagination oozes religiosity. Only those who said “Next year in Jerusalem” and meant it ought to go. Or perhaps anyone with deep ancestral roots in the area, ranging from the various groups of Arabs and Jews who’ve seen the likes of the Ottomans, Brits, and Jordanians come and go.
In general, I’m talking about people for whom Jerusalem means something more than a place to grab some humble brag shots for social media. Not some American shmendrik who’s about as pious as the village idiot from Chelm.
Although I forced myself to the sights, like The Wailing Wall with the Dome of the Rock glistening in the background, I can’t say it sparked a spiritual revolution within. I actually felt a little guilty. This is something many of my ancestors would’ve been incredibly moved to see for themselves. As far as I know, I’m the first in my line to have seen this place in presumably thousands of years. Yet there I was, feeling like I stole some teenage girl’s front row seats to a Billie Eilish concert.
Next time, we cross into the Palestinian Territories through Checkpoint 300 for a stay at Banksy’s Walled Off A Hotel and to learn more about a certain hunk of junk that towers over the Palestinians living in the adjacent Aida Refugee Camp.
Welcome to Israel – Palestine! A historically peaceful region that’s never in the news nor generating polarizing opinions or Internet commentators aggressively posting flag emojis.
In reality, few things are as divisive as Israel and Palestine. So let’s start with something we can all agree on. And that is, nothing that I post over the course of the upcoming videos will completely satisfy any particular perspective… except my own––a 30-something-year-old guy with the privileged power of an American passport.
First up, we’ll head to Tel Aviv for a tour through the Carmel Market with Peninah Myerson at Delicious Israel. Then it’s over to Jerusalem where culinary historian, Joel Haber, shares some Jewish flavors at the Machanep Yehudah Market I’ve never before tasted. From there, we head to Checkpoint 300 to cross into Bethlehem, Palestine for a walk along the wall and to stay at Banky’s Walled Off Hotel.
Jens Notroff is a German archaeologist based in Berlin. His work takes him to corners of the world where tourists don’t typically roam. Most recently he returned from working along the Turkish-Syrian border. He’s also a traveler and refuses to believe that the “Golden Age of Travel” is behind us. Jens joins Without A Path to share his experiences as an archaeologist, traveler, and sketch artist.
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We’ve all heard about what a crummy year 2016 was from Zika to Brexit and Trump to celebrities gone too soon. It got so bad, people were looking back to 2006’s Children of Men as some kind of peek into the future. (Happy New Year! Humanity is sterile.)
Methinks we could all use something to look forward to. Something to get the imagination running and potentially even build a little excitement in our respective lives.
Nothing takes my mind off things more than travel, whether it’s the actual act of travel, planning a trip or simply reading of another’s travels. This works exponentially well if said destination is someplace a bit off the tourist trek. After all, Without A Path is primarily interested in getting to those lesser-traveled corners of the world to hear more stories and expand our worldview. As Alexander von Humboldt said, “The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.”
I think the idea behind that quote is more important now than perhaps ever before. With that in mind, we’re offering for the first time a look at the coming year’s top off the tourist trek destinations as decided by travel writers. For this first edition I solicited inquiries from “The Road Less Traveled” Facebook group, which is made up of travelers who participate in the weekly #TRLT twitter chat. These travelers have shown an exceptional interest in expanding their worldview by traveling to and writing about destinations not typically at the top of a tourist’s wish list.
There are a number of ways to experience a different culture, but few beat dining with a local family.
I was in Petra in the midst of a 10-day trip around Jordan when an invite came for dinner with the founder of A Piece Of Jordan, a community-based tourism project. Basically everyone who’s going to Jordan already knows to check out the Indiana Jones temple from The Last Crusade. I’m of course talking about The Treasury, an incredibly elaborate stone temple constructed by the ancient Nabatean Kingdom around the age of the Hellenistic and Roman Empires, which is why the carving looks partly designed by a Greek architect.
Hiking those ancient ruins went down as one of my personal favorite travel experiences, something I’ve already gone on about in a little travel narrative video I put together on the trip. But what solidified that visit to Petra as truly memorable was dinner with Steph Altwassi and her Jordanian family.
Thailand’s Tiger Temple tragedy shows how tourism can be horribly wrong right on the heels of the Harambe silverback gorilla incident at the Cincinnati Zoo. Joe and Laura discuss these issues among other travel news before turning to perceived danger versus realistic safety in summer travel.
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