Why am I doing this?

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. Mark Twain - Innocents Abroad 

(Photo: The globe, with the word душанбе (Dushanbe) by Jane George, 2017)

 

 

Hi, I am Jane George and I am going to have an adventure in a far-away place. My employer, North Kingstown School Department in Rhode Island has allowed me to be away from school for a year to go to Tajikistan to teach English at a university as a U.S. State Department English Language Fellow. This is a dream adventure for me because I have wanted to explore “the rest of the -stans” ever since I traveled through Afghanistan and Pakistan several decades ago as a carefree, young backpacker out to see the world. What I saw then was very poor people, certainly, but I also saw people living in a different time with different resources and probably some different goals. I was fascinated with the fact that these people lived completely different lives with different languages and customs. I only was in the “-stans” for a couple of weeks then, but my curiosity was piqued and now I can finally go back to see the rest of the “–stans.” I hope that through the work of my fellowship I will see a lot of Tajikistan. In the winter, I will go to Kazakhstan for a mid-year conference with the other Fellows in Central Asia, which will give me a few days to see a bit of that very large country. I just have to figure out a way to get to the rest of the “–stans” between now and June, or during the month after the contract ends when my husband Tim and I plan to travel around as much as we can. Visas may be difficult to get and transportation will probably be difficult as well, but we will do our best to see all we can before we come back home.

         Central Asia, the crossroads of the ancient world, contributed to and experienced the exchange of goods, ideas, languages, cultures, and religions. What happened here centuries ago can be compared to what we now call globalization. In my time here I hope to be able to learn about this powerful ancient history, the challenges of recent history, and current conditions in Central Asia.

         I hope you enjoy the journey along with me.