I have been to 5 total solar eclipses. Each was unique, overwhelming, and awe-inspiring. But, that wasn’t the best part. It’s about the journey. Eclipses can happen anywhere, anytime-when the conditions are right. That’s when the moon aligns between the sun and the earth. I traveled to a beach in Guatemala, the coast of Venezuela, central Turkey, Zambia and Victoria Falls, and to the Sahara Desert in Libya to align myself with the shadow of an eclipse. A total eclipse is something that cannot be described with any meaning, it must be experienced.

Turn left here, in the middle of nowhere-Sahara Desert

 

Travel is the opportunity to bond with fellow humans on the same journey we each are on. Most people are trying to live their lives the best they can. Travel can serve to lower the walls of prejudice and unfounded fears we have of others, and let us witness how we are more alike, than different.

I took my nephew during his high school spring break with me to Libya. Libya had recently opened its doors to tourism and travel, but stories and warnings from his friends had already made my nephew a bit on edge. After arrival to our hotel in Tripoli, we open the windows to let some fresh air in the room and suddenly heard rapid-fire “pop-pop-pop….” sounds. My nephew hit the deck! I looked out the window and saw little kids lighting strings of firecrackers on their rooftop, while the family’s dogs and chickens were fairly unmoved by their capers. We had a good laugh but it wasn’t until we were on the streets exploring that he finally “got it.” Of course gringos from the west can’t help but stick out. Kids his age came up to him and started engaging him, asking him what he thought of their town, their sights. They wanted their photo taken with him—he was a bit of a celebrity. All were friendly, and he could see that they were just like him in a lot of ways, just on the other side of the world.

Dr. Bedouin, Sahara Base Camp

 

Joined by 2000 other world travelers in our Sahara camp we shared the experience of a wonder of the universe. We each experienced the same eclipse, but we each had our own unique experience, at the same time.

To see when the next eclipse is happening check out this link: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

If you can’t travel far, 2017 will be the year for you: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEplot/SEplot2001/SE2017Aug21T.GIF

 

Libya 2006 Total Eclipse, Photo by Greg Meyer