When I plan a trip it starts off as a blank sheet on Excel and steadily progresses into a finished trip planner. Then it changes. And changes. And changes again.

That’s if I’m lucky, usually the trip goes through ten or fifteen different edits and often looks completely different from the starting draft. The same can be said for the mission to the Middle East. What started out a school trip for Abi has evolved into a trip for summer.

Basically I planned a 2 week hop through the Middle East and when I stepped back and looked at it I saw an impossible plan that would be akin to spending an hour in Rome – Yes you’ve been there but you haven’t really done anything.
The reality is I was ignorant to the Middle East and thought that between Lawrence of Arabia, a few chavs in Turkey and some sand dunes there wasn’t much to offer. Once I sat down and put my mind to it I realised just how wrong I was and that in fact the Middle East offers some of the most beautiful coastal areas within a 6 hour flight of the UK, plenty of UNESCO sights and a couple of the Seven Wonders thrown in for good measure.
To attempt it all within two weeks would be an insult and so this summer is dedicated to the Middle East.

I have in front of me a list of the following places, spread across Eight countries:
Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Siwa, Sinai, Dahab, Eilat, Tel Aviv Jerusalem, Bethlehem, West Bank, Haifia, Bahai Gardens, Ceasarea, Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, Petra, Jerash, Wadi Musa, Amman, Beirut, Byblos, Qadisha Valley, Tripoli, Baalbek, Palmyra, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Crac des Chavaliers, Damascus, Dead Cities, Rasafa, Troy, Galipoli, Cappadocia, Antakya, Ephesus, Olympos, Antalya, Istanbul, Acropolis, Athens, Thessaloniki – And maybe a few Greek islands.

Usually I plot the places on a map and then try and somehow come up with some sort of plan, but always I look and wonder where to start!
We will head out in July and so the next couple of months will entail detailed planning and preparation for a trip starting in Greece and finishing in Egypt. Our travels will take us through some of the most amazing historical sights this side of the world has to offer, it will take us through the Arab world and will have us travelling in deserts and in one of the driest and hottest countries on the planet. For instance Jordan has less than 20cm of rain per year and averages near 50 degrees in summer.

I am hoping to factor in nights spent sleeping in the desert, nights spent in Bedouin camps, surfing on sand dunes, hot air balloons, and being alone in the middle of no where.
I am looking also at the possibility of visiting some rural schools and perhaps some voluntary work along the way.

There are many obstacles in our way before we have even started such as visa issues, travel issues and security issues.
There is a lot to be sorted out and whilst now the thought of hitch hiking down the King Hussein Highway and travelling through the desert in the back of a pick up, or strolling past sand dunes on a camel and staying in Bedouin camps in the middle of the desert does seem a million miles away, I have learnt many things from our travels around the world. One of those things is that dreams can and do become a reality.

The dream is back on – Watch this space 🙂


Just a dad trying to live the dream with my kids.

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