Well, I think it's way too early to say that with any certainty, but at least it's a possibility. First off, however, I need to get nine students and my great friend Cyndi Brandenburg to Jordan and back. I've never led a student group to a foreign country before, so the next three weeks will determine whether I have the desire/courage to do it again. That said, I've been thinking a lot about potentially leading a student group to Zanzibar in the spring of 2016. In addition I've drafted my friend Steve Wehmeyer and he's now an enthusiastic supporter or the trip. First off, I loved my time in Zanzibar and have always wanted to go back. Moreover, I'm teaching a class called The Periphery of Islam, which is focused on the travels of Ibn Battuta. So, we've been reading his account of, among other places, the east coast of Africa (he blew by Zanzibar on his journey in the 14th century because it wasn't anything then - and devoted his time on Kilwa, which has since faded into obscurity). We've also been reading the fascinating Tim Mackintosh-Smith three-part travelogue where he follows the path of Ibn Battuta. What really drew me in were the accounts which almost read like an Islamic form of voodoo (obviously very haram, at least to the Wahabbis). To me the chance to study this very syncretic corner of the world seemed like such an extraordinary fit with Steve's expertise (see my posts about traveling to New Orleans with the excellent Wehmeyer). It would be a wonderful, but also an emotional, trip. Whenever you revisit someplace where you were really happy - and also living in a different universe - there is always the potential for bittersweet moments. However, who could ever turn down a chance to return to Zanzibar? More on this later . . .
|It's an odd picture to post, but it just reminds me of one of my happiest moments - just sitting at the end of the dock, talking, staring into the water, enjoying the blissful breeze, and waiting for the sun to go down.|