One of the most beautiful emotions of any trip is the contact with cultures other than ours, the world is fascinating precisely for the multitude of uses and customs that make up the history and tradition of each country. The traveler is always looking for experiences to be able to tell on his return home, he is thirsty for knowledge and only those who travel can understand how priceless the value of cultural “diversity” is.
In recent years I have been stimulated to travel a lot in the Arab world
many of my travels have been focused on the discovery and deepening of this distant culture, which has very ancient roots and its birth in the Middle East. We can say that the Arab world has inspired thousands of films, TV series and many books, but the true essence has often been confused and has been the victim of fears and prejudices. Traveling to discover Arab countries, however, is a way of breaking down the barrier of prejudice, by coming into contact with Arab culture you will be able to rediscover aspects that will catapult you emotionally into a world unknown to you and that will kidnap your heart and mind.
In my life I have been several times in Arab countries, especially in the Middle East, the cradle of this fascinating culture. My passion for the Islamic world began precisely by observing the environment that surrounded me, from architecture to people with their habits and customs. Traveling in the Middle East means adapting to their customs, respecting their beliefs and above all living their history, especially in rural areas, where Western culture has not yet penetrated. In fact, many times it will happen to you to compare totally opposite realities a few kilometers away, see the case of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv., one linked to historical roots and ancient traditions, while the other presents a totally opposite face, rising to the name of “New York” of the Middle East. Some countries such as Israel, for example, embody the contradiction of the past that mixes with the modern, preserving the cultural traits of the past “revisited” with technological evolution.
One of the aspects that particularly struck me about Arab countries is their architecture, the same as I saw it in the movies: the low, crowded, sand-colored houses. The streets, dirt and dirty, always crowded, of real open-air markets. The smells of food and air are still imprinted in me, the sounds of scooters whizzing by or animals circulating freely. If you opt to sleep near the mosques, you will be awakened by the muezzin , the most solemn moment of the day in the Arab world, the call to prayer.
Luca’s advice: If you find yourself exploring an Arab country, I recommend that you go up to the terrace at sunset and listen to the muezzin in the evening. The atmosphere is surreal, you can observe much faithful praying on the terraces or in the houses, the devotion of the Islamic world to God (Allah) is truly something extraordinary.
The environment you will live in these contexts is what characterizes a trip to Arab countries, and will therefore be the added ingredient. In addition to experiencing the atmosphere that will excite you at every corner, the naturalistic context in some of these places is truly incredible. Visiting realities such as Israel, Jordan, Iran, Oman, or moving to the Maghreb areas in states such as Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania, will not only take you to the heart of Islam and the Arab world, but will make you rediscover enchanting places full of charm and history. Contact with nature is a fundamental element in my travels, in Arab countries one of the main and most fascinating scenarios is the desert. In the areas of Wadi Rum, the Sahara or Sinai, there are many ethnic groups who have lived in the deserts for centuries, living an authentic experience with these families in such a landscape context is one of the things that will remain etched most in your life.
The Arab world is mainly characterized by its people, hospitality in these parts is sacred, do not miss the opportunity to experience tea time with local families. I often happened to be hosted by native families especially in rural areas. It is always recommended to be accompanied by a guide who knows the place well to avoid unpleasant inconveniences. Discovering how people live, talking to us and getting in close contact with their habits and customs is the real discovery of every trip, it will be that extra touch that will make your experience unforgettable. I have often stayed in typical houses, ate, and slept with local residents. I stayed even if in passing, in the Berber tents, had lunch with the Bedouins and chatted with them, the cultural exchange and ideas is the precious essence that animates every traveler. Upon returning from each trip I feel the increase in my cultural baggage, I appreciate things in my life that I might have taken for granted before, the comparison with other cultures is also constructive for this: to value what we have always underestimated.