Annnnd I'm Off!

Moses’ view of the Promised Land from Mount Nebo, Jordan

Moses’ view of the Promised Land from Mount Nebo, Jordan

Co-leading a new 3-leg Middle East Trip - Meaningful Travel - Arabic - Children of Bethlehem

Cairo Citadel of Saladin

I'm headed out again! This time I am co-leading a large group with dear friends, Lowell and Linda Rice, on an exciting trip around the Middle East! We have an amazing 3-week adventure ahead of us starting in Egypt and cruising down the Nile, followed by Jordan to explore the wondrous city of Petra (think Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), and ending in Palestine and Israel to observe and engage the robust history and daily life of the Holy Land, past and present. Personally, I am looking forward to being a guest in these regions celebrated for their hospitality; being amazed by the grand, resilient architectural remnants of history; and being nourished, stretched and changed by conversations with new people, exposure to different ways of living, and experiencing a feast for the senses.

I hope for such a meaningful travel experience for our group as well. Thus, I have created a rich annotated itinerary chock full of historical anecdotes as well as practices for deeper engagement along one's journey. I thank Max Miller, one of my first guides and teachers, for allowing me to include his research and knowledge in this labor of great love.

A surprise gift from all these preparations was clarity about my life and purpose, the at the core what I desire is to be a connector. For, connection is the spark that ignites peace, harmony, and wholeness. And travel is an excellent opportunity to make such connections—with others, oneself, and the natural world.

Once the group departs in mid-September I will stay on in Israel and Palestine for another two months. After a nice respite housesitting for a friend in Jerusalem I will dive into Arabic lessons in October. I will study two weeks with a tutor in Jerusalem followed by about a week of full immersion, living with a family in Bethlehem! I am nervous for the deep dive and also incredibly excited to build my Arabic fluency!

In November the Dar al-Kalima students and I will have an exhibition of “Children of Bethlehem” at their school, where we created the project. I am elated for the collection of photographs and stories to be displayed for the local Bethlehem community to enjoy, and hopefully some other international travelers who come through! If you would like to learn about other initiatives of the Dar al-Kalima schools, their University College of Arts and Culture is this week’s featured topic of KUMI Now! You can read about how they are using art as a form of creative resistance HERE!

I will hit the ground running when I return to Atlanta in December. Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) is my optimal time to exhibit “Children of Bethlehem”, to highlight what life is like today for the children living in the “little town” where Jesus was born 2,000 years ago. Venues in multiple states have expressed interest in hosting the collection — which is thrilling — and also means I will need to make a second set of canvases.

If you are interested and able to contribute to producing the canvases and supporting the continuation of my visual and voiced storytelling in the Middle East, I would greatly appreciate it! You can make a tax-deductible donation HERE.

Want to find out how to bring “Children of Bethlehem” ” or “Through The Checkpoint” to your community? Write me HERE or email me at

Thank you for your ongoing love and support! I could not do this work without you.

Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan

With immense joy,