Of course I had no idea back in the gloriously innocent days of 2019 when I booked this trip that it would be the last I'd take for a while. Nobody saw a global pandemic coming, or at least I didn't. So on February 5, 2020, I flew off to New York without a care in the world, little realizing I'd return home about two and a half weeks later just days ahead of an international travel shutdown. I guess I got lucky with this trip, and in more ways than one. I mean, if my timing was great, my choice of this particular Road Scholar tour would have to be considered inspired!
The official Road Scholar title of the trip is "Ancient Treasures of the Middle East: Israel, Jordan and Egypt, "Program #15860RJ) and I signed up for the travel dates of Feb 6 – Feb 22, 2020. Since I've been traveling with Road Scholar over the past three years I've had to re-think my definition of "trip of a lifetime." I mean, can a person have more than one? Isn't the term an absolute like "unique" or "pregnant?" It either is or it isn't? That's what I used to think, but not anymore. Galapagos/Ecuador, Crete, Central Europe, Bhutan, Kenya/Tanzania Safari, and now this one -- all trips of a lifetime, each one never to be eclipsed, and that's just how it is. I have spoken.
I do have a pretty big regret, though. Not regarding the trip, but regarding my inexplicable delay in producing this website. I was sick when I returned home from the trip -- those airline barf bags came in handy halfway across the Atlantic and again halfway between New York and Atlanta. I feared I'd come down with COVID-19, but no...an antibody test weeks after my return turned up negative. I was just plain old ordinary sick, like pretty much everybody else in our group at the end of the trip. But that was in late February and now it's late December and I have no excuse for frittering away the past ten months without organizing all my photos and videos into an online travel record. I think what happened is that when I usually return from a trip I'm all pumped to put the story together, but this time I was so wiped out I couldn't do it quickly, and as time had passed I kept telling myself I'd get back to it soon...and now it's nearly a year later and I'm just getting the job done. And why now? Thank Shari Satran, our amazing guide for Israel and Jordan. It's now January, 2020, and she's putting together a virtual tour of Naples for all of us a week from Sunday and I really don't want to apologize to everybody for doing nothing over the past ten months, so suddenly I'm motivated! I can have this done before Shari's Zoom meeting, I'm sure of it! (Just for the record, I published it online in ten days. Whew.)
Fact is, there's something to be said for putting this off for so long. As I have gone back through every picture and video I shot during the trip, the wonder of it all has returned to me. From ancient Jerusalem with all its traditional religious sites to the amazing Petra to a swim in the Dead Sea and then to the Valley of the Kings followed by a Nile cruise with stops at monumental Egyptian temples -- and don't forget the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx...oh my, this was a great trip. And as I've come to expect with Road Scholar trips, I met some absolutely terrific traveling companions. They are wonderful, fascinating people, unfailingly kind and generous, and they even share my interests! It was a fantastic trip, and I invite you to click on the links above to join us in reliving the journey.
-- Bill Anderson --
For a higher definition version of the image above, click here.