Someone Once Told Me

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2186"So when I was in Damascus on a year abroad, living and working in Syria, I decided to hop over the border to Lebanon," Ali explains in his audio clip. "I wanted to get to know the place but I was trying to do that as a tourist would, trying to aggregate memories, to grab memories and own them, of the places they were travelling in.

”So I arrived in a hostel in Beirut. The owner of the hostel, who was a guy in a tshirt and jeans, just sitting there, taking everyone’s names in. I can’t remember his name but I can remember exactly what he looked like and talked, that’s how much of an impression he made.

”From there I was going through to southern Lebanon, and I decided to go and talk to him and ask him if it was ok for me to do that, to aggregate more memories, to keep them, to collect them. Very candidly, whilst he was sitting there, having his breakfast, he took his cup of tea, took a sigh and said this.

”I’m not sure he knew the context under which he was saying that, but from then on in my entire experience in Syria and Lebanon changed. How I intereacted with the place, let alone the people. No longer was I a tourist, I was just another human being, experiencing a place where other human beings lived. Since that time, I’ve lived my life in exactly that way.

“Sometimes, it’s better to get to know people, and places, with the heart.” Taken in Dubai, UAE, on the SOTM World Tour.

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