Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the old time travelers…Nope, not the ones that went to South East Asia 20 years ago, and say that Cambodia is like Thailand 20 years ago and that it is very adventurous! I mean the real old time travelers. Think more middle ages old time travelers.
The one that opened my eyes to this is the Arab/Berber traveler Ibn Battuta, if you’ve never heard of him, he’s one of the first explorers (real adventurers if you ask me) that ever roamed our planet.
Ibn Battuta, originally from Morocco, started his travels in 1325, did three different trips, to end the last one in 1354. Yes, almost 30 years of traveling. In the 14th century. Now how adventurous was THAT?!
During his 30 years of traveling he visited – as Wikipedia lists it – most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands; his journeys including trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, and to the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East!
I dream of visiting those places! That is more than enough for me!!
Now what makes me doubt my adventurousness, and all of yours too, is when I compare it to such a person.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many brave people around the world, and travelers are one of the bravest people I know.
But come on, can you imagine yourself, back in the 14th century, thinking of exploring the world?
Right now when you think of the most under developed country, and you decide to be adventurous enough to travel there, you still do some clicks and you get some professional advice on what to do and see there, what to avoid and how to stay safe!
But back in that time, I wonder what was on his mind when he decided to leave the comforts of his home and head into the unknown. Literally, The UN-known!!
Well, I can understand that his first trip was to Saudi Arabia, to Mecca to do the Muslim pilgrimage. Well that could be kind of expected; at least he knew his destination. But it wasn’t just Mecca he visited on his first trip! Mind you, it was a 7 years long trip and he visited all of Northern Africa, the whole Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, going as south as Tanzania and up north to Iraq and Persia!
That is a real adventure if you ask me, given that at his time, lack of available information, hardships of travel back then, the amounts of food and water one has to carry on the – not so comfortable – available mode of transportation – most probably camels.
I always like to think I’m adventurous enough because whenever asked, I reply that I am willing at any given opportunity to travel to the most untraveled to destinations! Heck my dream was to work with a public health organization in Pakistan, anywhere in Africa or even Afghanistan!
But then again I think of Ibn Battuta and the other great travelers and I know that no matter how adventurous one would get these days, they would not be comparable to the guts that these people had!
On a side note, this could be one of the reasons why I love the desert so much? Because it is disconnected and remote? Maybe! But stil that is not relevant enough, given we do use 4WD cars and sometimes GPS! And if it is urgent, there is cell phone coverage above the sand dunes 😉
After saying all of this, I would like to conclude that No, there isn’t a place that is scary enough to avoid in our age. With some easy research you can know all about the safety and plan a full itinerary before traveling! So please don’t tell me that what is making you avoid a certain country is its “safety conditions” or because “you don’t know what to expect there”!
Anyway, that is enough rant about that, I just had to share my thought and see if I’m the only one that has this kind of thinking!
And on another side note, if anyone has any idea how to get his book “Rihla” (translated to “Journey”) please do let me know! I would like to read his reflections on his trip!