First travel: Denmark by Alaa, Palestine

It is a somewhat of a struggle for a girl like me in a patriarchal society to travel abroad. It is especially not accepted to travel alone. However,  traveling abroad is my dream, my goal, and a type of personal success. I applied to many different programs abroad to help me achieve this goal. In one moment I accomplished one of my dreams when I was chosen to participate in a youth project in Denmark during the weeks of  26 August until 12 September 2016. My father and my mother were my biggest supporters and beyond encouraged me to participate in this project, so that’s what I did.

Then, I faced another problem: what would my surrounding community members think of me going abroad? I felt that societal norms were pondering   me on how I can travel alone and for the first time I had to cross borders. The people around me said that it is not easy to cross the Palestine –Israel – Jordan bridges. I felt like it was going to be really, really difficult. I had some fears that the Israelis would find any excuse to blame me and I would  do something wrong.Then, the day came and I had to cross the borders. I remember feeling so frightened and scared but to my surprise I crossed the three borders very easy! I found it very simple to go. I felt so excited to keep on my journey. I said to myself“people make you imagine that our life is difficult, we still can do anything by ourselves.”

At night, it was time to go from Amman to Paris. There was another fear of flying in the sky. It was my very first experience. And I was alone! What shall I do? How will I calm myself down on the flight? I felt like I was taking one step forward and the other step backward. I told myself that there is no way back and I am going toward my dream. I will have an amazing experience. Luckily, My friend (Jihad) noticed that I was afraid of something a little funny. So, he started to say “Oh My God, the plane will fall down…There will not be enough gasoline… there is not enough water for all the passengers…The pilot is drunk…Do you know that we are sitting besides the emergency door…I can’t wait for the experience of jumping out of the plane because of an emergency.”  I know he was mocking my situation… Sometimes I cared about what he said and other I didn’t.

Finally, we landed safely in Paris then again in Copenhagen. It was a very calm  journey that I will never forget. I came to the realization that I should not ever  say ‘oh that’s not easy therefore, I won’t try’. No, no, no. That’s not the answer! . That thinking too much is not  the way to dream and succeed. Instead I need to keep  challenging myself until I reach my goals.  As well, now I can say that I am suffering from “Travel Bug.”


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