Every place is a goldmine.
You pick up a thread – a word, a meeting, a friend of a friend of someone you have just met – and soon the most insipid, most insignificant place becomes a mirror of the world, a window on life, a theatre of humanity.Tiziano Terzani “A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East”
I established Between Deserts in 2015 as a blog seeking to share alternative insights into the Arab world through reflective personal experience and critical analysis of the region and its relations to the Western world.
Seeing a need for alternative, critical and nuanced perspectives on development, culture and society, the scope of Between Deserts has since expanded through professional and personal engagement with communities and issues in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Timor-Leste, and Cuba.
The above quote from Tiziano Terzani captures the values and spirit of Between Deserts – a curiosity for, and acceptance of, the diversity of human expression and stories.
As an accidental traveler, I have studied, worked and lived in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Cuba, Timor-Leste, Italy, Portugal and Australia since 2009.
I have atained under- and postgraduate degrees in Arabic and Islamic Studies and Geography (University of Sydney) and Middle East Studies (Australian National University) respectively.
Professionally I have worked in humanitarian communications, program management, stakeholder engagement, translation and editing, research, and photography.
Personally, I am a surfer, capoeirista and occasional poet, and since 2016 have sought to incorporate non-material understandings of individuals and communities into my writing. The concept of “everywhere beauty” – that even among poverty, tragedy and trauma, people are capable of stunning humanity – captures this spirit.
Some of the drivers of my curiosity include:
- the non-monetary value of life, in nature, cultures, beliefs and traditions
- our relationship to nature and the environment
- the honor and value in the experiences of everyday people
- the dark sides of individuals and communities’ stories, and their inherent humanity
- understanding trauma, – both individual and collective – its effects, and causes
- the role of culture and art as universal human expressions
I thank everyone who has helped and supported this project and is indebted for the advice and assistance that friends, colleagues and family have shared along the way.
Comments are welcome and subject to common guidelines of respect and constructive debate. You can contact me via the form below.