My Big Fat Egyptian Wedding

Logo Concept (courtesy of Gilbert Hsu)

Some of you may have noticed that my blog site is . It doesn’t
say or as one might expect from a travel
blog. So, I’d like to dedicate this post to explaining what a
trekdek actually is. Trekdek, not to be confused with trekdesk (the
desk attachment for treadmills), is my new travel themed social
networking project. The slogan: Live
Well, Travel Well The concept: An
online community composed of people who create, accomplish, and
write about Trekdek travel challenges. The original 52 challenges
(52 coming from a “dek” of cards) will be created by me.
The challenges: The challenges are
designed to truly immerse travelers in their new environments and
to get them to “Live Well, Travel Well.” Instead of going to every
place mentioned in your Lonely Planet guidebook, you will instead
complete challenges like, “Take the local public
transportation , get off at a random stop and go exploring”
or “Go to a restaurant and find out
where your server’s favorite place to hang out is.”
The idea is that these small challenges will lead to
some crazy experiences that engage you with your surroundings and
the people around you. Though these challenges will sometimes be
awkward and uncomfortable (they are challenges after all), I
believe they will ultimately be more rewarding than any sort of
guided tour. Why I started this
Though I’m not the most veteran traveler
out there, I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel a few
places like France, Morocco, Greece, and Egypt. When traveling to
all these places, I noticed that I develop a heightened sense of
awareness of my new surroundings and my own thoughts. This
awareness comes from the simple fact of displacement. Even the
mundane details of everyday life like getting groceries or getting
back home become an adventure. Trust me, I definitely feel more
connected to my surroundings in a Moroccan Souk than I do at Trader
Joes. This sense of awareness also seems to diminish when I focus
too much on a checklist of things I have to see and places I have
to go i.e. the Lonely Planet Guide. Now, there’s nothing wrong with
the travel guide and it is definitely useful for information, but
the best times I’ve had while traveling were the times I didn’t
plan anything. Instead of focusing on the checklist, I’m paying
attention to where I am and who I’m with. I realize that Trekdek
has the potential to become a checklist of challenges, but it’s my
hope that the challenge will merely help focus the traveler on
being present. Maybe that restaurant server will invite the
traveler to hang out with him and his friends at a local pub. Maybe
that random stop the traveler got off at led to the discovery of a
beautiful mosque that wasn’t mentioned in his guidebook. Who knows
what will happen when travelers deviate from a set itinerary. Every
time I’ve stayed at a hostel; I inevitably ended up trading travel
stories with my fellow travelers: Crazy security checkpoints at
airports, overzealous local Casanovas, and that time I ate some
[insert weird animal part] without knowing it. I hope to replicate
that “sharing stories with people you’ve just met and loving it”
feeling online. I will consider Trekdek successful when an
Australian from Melbourne and a Moroccan from Fez can trade stories
on about that time they were in Istanbul and hopped on
the public transportation and ended up at a Korean restaurant
eating Kimchi with the Turkish owner. Anyway I will keep all of you
updated on Trekdek’s progress. I hope to launch it by January. We
shall see. As always, I would love to hear comments and even
suggestions for my initial 52 challenges. Live Well, Travel Well


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