As the headline goes, I am very excited about continuing to journey across this little bridge in my life. It’s a metaphorical bridge of course, transporting me from my existence of almost vagabondism, to one with (a sense of) purpose: this whole “journalism” thing. This philosophical musing brings me to an actual, real bridge – perhaps the most exciting in the world – which crosses the Bosphoros in Istanbul.
Actually, there are two such bridges, and neither have any particularly interesting traits. They’re not iconic like the one in Sydney Harbour, nor are they historically significant like London’s Tower Bridge. They’re also not particularly long or architecturally ground-breaking like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
What makes them – and moreover, Istanbul – so appealing is the fact that they connect Europe with Asia. The geography-nerd in me is excited to venture into the Caucasus for the first time, and my history-obsessed mind can’t wait to explore the remnants of the old Greek and Muslim civilisations. The bridges themselves aren’t even 50 years old, but the collision and continuing amalgamation of east and west that defines Istanbul has been occurring for almost two millennia.
The reason for my travel to that region is simple. A “Political Change in the Middle East” course was advertised in my “Israel and the Middle East” history class. I applied, and was accepted. Naturally, I had to turn the three-week course into something more substantial. Here’s what I came up with:
I’m travelling to Montenegro and Albania with another student from the course; something that was easy to organise, courtesy of Facebook. He’s part-Albanian, and we will spend New Years Eve there, just for something a bit different. After that, we’ll fly to Istanbul for the course, which will also take us to Gallipoli and Ankara. Hopefully I can find my great-great-uncle’s grave there (nobody in my family has visited before, despite their best intentions to).
After the course, I’ll head straight to Israel; a place I found both fun and intensely intriguing. I have plenty of friends there and may attempt to access Gaza or the West Bank to do a little bit of journalism.
Finally, my cousin Liv will join me in Tel Aviv, and we will fly to Georgia and make our way around there, with a brief jaunt in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan.
So that’s where my focus is at the moment. I’m back in Melbourne earning as much money as I possibly can, in the hopes that I can buy myself a new DSLR and add another string to my professional bow. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first year back at University since 2007, but more on that soon.