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Research and sources

Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark

by Matt Krause on November 12, 2011

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

For this project, more useful than travel guides are examples of people who have taken unconventional travels through the Middle East. In the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, a British woman named Freya Stark traveled, often alone, throughout the Middle East and wrote 30 books about it, a handful of which I’m reading (including this biography). When the French military was busy suppressing a Druze rebellion in Syria in the 1920s, Freya Stark rode a donkey through the French cordon to travel through Druze territory and dine with and interview the Druze.

If a woman was courageous enough to ride a donkey into a war zone, I can strap on some shoes and do a little walk.

Lonely Planet – Syria & Lebanon

by Matt Krause on November 12, 2011

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

I don’t think travel guides are going to be very useful for this particular project, but I read through them anyway. This has been helpful for its tips on visas, entry points, and some sights around the smaller villages I’ll be passing through.

Bruce Feiler – Abraham

by Matt Krause on November 12, 2011

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

All three of the world’s big monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) trace their roots back to the same man, Abraham. This book is only a little about Abraham himself, because there is little or no non-Biblical/Koranic information about him, and it’s quite possible Abraham was an amalgam of stories, not one actual man. This book is more about mankind’s response to Abraham, what the story of Abraham draws out of mankind.

A.J. Jacobs – The Year of Living Biblically

by Matt Krause on October 19, 2011

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

A.J. Jacobs spent a year living the Bible as literally as possible. At first, I thought this book would be a tedious playing of the same musical note over and over (in this case, that note would be a joke about the ridiculousness of trying to follow the Bible literally).

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find there is a constant question, a tension, running throughout the book, which is, “Is this guy going to convert or not?” And so the book actually has a lot to say about the anticipation, and the fear, involved anytime you step off into the unknown, and that it’s that unknown factor that makes a quest worth undertaking.

Rory Stewart – The Places In Between

by Matt Krause on October 19, 2011

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Rory Stewart is a Scottish Member of Parliament who walked across Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and then wrote a book about the Afghan leg. He walked across Afghanistan in early 2003, when the US was still actively routing the Taliban. He didn’t walk across the country with military escorts. He walked across alone and unsponsored.

What I find most inspiring about this book is that he never loses his focus on describing the world around him. When a sniper takes potshots at him and then later serves him dinner, he focuses on describing the dinner, not the potshots. In my book, his laser-like focus is the ultimate form of badass-ness.