The Expedition Yemen by Camel blog series by Explorer-In-Residence, Mikael Strandberg, is a detailed account of his far-reaching and most recent exploration to understand the Arab World for himself. He passed through some of the most challenging terrain he has ever crossed and endured temperatures over 48 degrees Celsius. In a place that felt like the oldest place in the world with the oldest thoughts and habits, the only modern day luxuries available were a Camelbak and GPS. His companions included a fiercely determined expedition partner and for transport, a camel named Kensington. Follow Mikael’s quest to uncover the truth and explain through his documentary, the world of the Arabs, Islam, Muslims and the Middle East.
I have just travelled 380 km:s with a camel and two friends from Zabid on the Yemeni Coast to the capital Sanaa. On paper it is an impossible journey. When I first breached the idea with friends in the business and Yemeni friends back in February when the troubles began, they all said it was impossible.
“You won´t even get into the country, most of them said”.
I just love proving people wrong! Everything is possible if you put your whole heart into it and you have the right backing of people who love you. And with a family like mine, that was easy. My wife Pamela is the one who have pushed the hardest for us to go here and try to make a difference. By which she meant, to show the world the overwhelmingly positive sides of this great country. Not the one portrayed in the media, both in the West and the Arab World. A very negative and destructive one. So far from the truth.
So when the war was at its worst, we did get a visa with the help of our friend Sabri, and decided to go all of us, the whole family. Which of course we didn´t tell to anyone, since most people just wouldn´t understand it. A student visa, since Pamela first of all came here to Sanaa to do her Master Thesis. And I needed to better my terrible Arabic. And all of us, that means me, Pam and our little 16 months old daughter Eva boarded a plane in Copenhagen and eventually ended up in a Sanaa, which pretty much looked exactly the same as it did when we met here back in the summer of 2009. At this moment, we have been here for almost two and a half months and we are ready to return home. We have loved every moment here!
The idea about travelling the Arab World By Camel began developing many years back when I realized how we in the West almost unnoticed once again have started to build up a wall against people who come from especially Muslim countries. The scary propaganda against Islam, Muslims and especially the Arab world is growing by the day. It is all based on lack of proper education and knowledge. So I decided to do an Expedition On Camel, covering the whole Arab World, see the pilot below, but excuse me for to much bragging and nonsense on my behalf, my self confidence was at an all time low at that moment! I managed during two years to get most of the funds together, but than two major things happened!
First of all, I met Pamela in Yemen, fell in love with both and than Pamela got pregnant with Eva Belquis.
Secondly, the Arab spring happened which made it all impossible for the moment.
But we never forgot Yemen and followed everything which happened politically very closely and than we decided, time to go and make a difference, no matter how small it is!
So that is what we did! And in backsight, that is, for all three of us, the best desicion we have ever taken!
So, dear readers, this is the first report in a series of at least 15 articles that I will publish about our time in Sanaa and the expedition. An article twice a week. Don´t miss the drama and love of life!
To see the pilot of the Expedition, click here.
To see more photos, click here.
To view this posting on Mikael's blog, click here.
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