Choosing My Adventure

Later this year, you will read a blog post on this site containing a story from one of the following life directions.

You see, I need to start choosing my adventure.


A. I decided to stay in Egypt until April. To date. To explore. To be a little joyful in a glorious land where many things cost 16 cents. To intensify my Arabic language studies. To find a job here in Cairo or some paying gigs after the Fulbright grant ends in January. To continue and expand my work at the children’s cancer hospital 57357, including a community dance project as a fundraiser. To build a consistant yoga practice and be a voice in contemporary dance.

(In December 2012, through a supplemental Fulbright grant, I visited Palestine – Bethlehem, Ramallah, to consult, offer workshops, develop an exchange/volunteer scheme between dance educators in Palestine and Egypt. And to spend Christmastime where it all started.)

B. I decided to save up money and visit dear friends in Greece, Israel, UAE, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. To see Michael, Irene, Jacqui, Roey, Amanda, Alisa, and the gals at Heshima safe house for unaccompanied refugee women and girls. Since I’m closer to them then I ever have been. Closer than I probably ever will be. To take some time to see their good works in action. To lend a hand. Gather some inspiration and witness these places in the world for the first time.

C. I decided to be with my mom, back in Michigan, as she faces a major cancer surgery and radiation this winter.

My mother and I, circa 1980

D. I decided to go back to school in the States, in Chicago or DC, depending on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. To say the difficult goodbyes to my Egyptian friends. To get my PhD. To study international affairs or cultural diplomacy.

E. I decided to travel on my own, spending a month each in a couple different countries in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) this winter, teaching dance in their children’s cancer hospitals. Or helping young leaders here make bold steps in necessary education reform.

F. I decided to become a Child Life Specialist and take the necessary steps for that career path.

G. I decided to return to Bosnia for a couple months this spring. Back to Most Mira “bridge of peace.” To help build a youth center with arts programming. At a time when I see that politics there are teetering on dangerously decisive, where genocide is being denied, a beautiful land where hope is screaming for some reconstruction.

H. I decided to take the foreign service exam and apply for a cultural post within an embassy, maybe right here in Cairo. Or the Arab League, or UN AOC, or…[insert the wish for an international job opportunity here]

Inside the Arab League headquarters in Cairo

I. I decided to focus on blogging, writing, get published, in order to help clear the fog on both sides.

J. I decided to launch my own projects or initiatives. Become a social entrepreneur. Somehow. Somewhere.


Adventures are for choosing. But many adventures choose us.

Over 2 million people are in nearby Saudi Arabia this week, dressed in white in Mecca for the Hajj. Circling the Kaaba counter-clockwise. Running between hills in a sad, desperate search of a long lost Biblical-Quaranic child. Throwing stones to defy the Devil. Symbolic of the life of Abraham and his wife Hajar. A pilgrimage. An adventure in prayer.

Here in Egypt, they celebrate with street carnivals, family visits, prayers, ceasefires, and the great feast of Eid with the eating of meat. Lots of meat hanging out front of sacred butcheries. Sheep heads. Severed throats. A vegetarian’s nightmare. My plan is to get out of the chaotic city during this 5-day holiday, when the population is home from work and school and behaviors can get wild, or so I hear. Hopefully I can spend some time on the Red Sea with friends.

Street carnival in Alexandria

Yes. To the Red Sea. A pilgrimage to a personal place of contemplation. To stop worrying about all the necessary paperwork and applications for these options. To listen to the sands and sun. 85-90 degrees in late October. To enjoy some time by the sea melting into an Egyptian man’s arms.

Reconnecting with my heart so that I can follow my heart.







  1. Shawn – all of your options are excellent. I’ve been faced with similar extremely opposing choices in my life. The important thing is to not regret and dwell after the decision has been made. A lot of what you write doesn’t have to be done right now (the traveling options) or can be combined, shortened itineraries, etc. Your gut may help you eliminate close to half of them, I’ve always found. And if you choose A OR B, we can meet up! Good luck, follow your heart. I wish your mother all the best.

  2. I love that you are thinking of your path to deepen commitments that you have in your heart. I would think of it as a Chinese menu – you can do a fabulous combo of many of your choices over 2013. The work you are doing now is inspirational to watch and i can tell it is your calling.

    (Speaking like a mom, you should try to come home to see family for a couple of weeks- it is important to touch base before you go on your next quest)

  3. Well I certainly hope to see you at some point in 2013 Shawn….maybe I’ll come to Cairo at some point too. All I would say about the options above are don’t chose H – you are too vibrant a soul to be desk bound (which you inevitably will be) in a government (or pseudo government) job. J x

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