~~From time to time, I post photographs (and sometimes accompanying texts) from friends and colleagues who are out in the world traveling. Today’s offering is from a dear friend, Asbed Kotchikian, who is in Morocco. Here are his images and words–warm like the sun of the Mediterranean, clear like its waters. But most of all, a tribute to travel itself and to the greatest traveler of them all, Ibn Batutta. Thanks, Asbed.
Seeing the humble tomb of Ibn Battuta today was the closest I have come to one of my heroes, the 14th century Arab-Berber traveler. There he lay, in a small (and hard to find) structure–a person who, 600 years ago, traveled to counties and locations difficult to reach even with modern modes of transportation, to India, China, Iraq, Byzantine Empire, Persia, Central Asia, Somalia, Andalusia, Mali and more. What drove him is perhaps something we all have in us: a spirit of adventure; a sense of curiosity to see the world beyond our borders; a need to meet people from different cultures yet to find with them a common humanity.
What drives us human beings? Love? A sense of looking for answers? Perhaps a quest for finding ourselves in far away lands? Ibn Battuta himself put it elegantly when he wrote: “Traveling, it makes you lonely, then gives you a friend; it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller; it gives you a home in a thousand strange places, then leaves you a stranger in your own land”.
With every single trip I make, I become more humble, more aware of who I’m not and whom I want to share my stories with. But more important, more aware that I must keep asking the right questions, which, like travel itself, do not always come with answers.