More and more, I’m sharing my story of how I got to Afghanistan with the world. I did it with only $100 to my name, a one-way ticket, and no job. I’ve been waiting for this for years. See, I originally went to Afghanistan for many reasons, but one of them was to share my experience of Muslim culture when I returned home to the states.
It was my intention because I was so tired of Americans—the ones who had never been to Afghanistan—telling me what Afghans and Muslims were like. In February, I will go on my first speaking tour ever to talk more about this, and it’s so incredibly exciting. My dream is becoming a reality.
Last week, I did a talk at a small intellectual meet-up in Portland, Oregon. I did the usual. I spoke, I connected, and I made new friends. One acquaintance said to me, “Liz, I tell a lot of people about how you got to Afghanistan with only $100 to your name and no job. People first say, ‘Wow! She’s crazy’ but then they see it in a different way when I tell them why you did it.”
This was an interesting statement. It’s not a surprise that people instantly say that I’m crazy, but I want everyone to stop and think about what crazy really is. I’m crazy. There’s no doubt about it. I can function as an average human living in western society, hold an amazing career, and do things that most people do, but I know that I look at life and the world in a much different way.
Before you call me crazy, think about what it is. It’s crazy for me to go to Afghanistan with nothing but $100, but westerners aren’t crazy for working seventy-plus hours a week to pay for luxury cars and palatial suburban homes where it’s hard for the average three to four family members to occupy all the rooms? And what about our American obsession with weight? Are you telling me that I’m crazier for following my heart to Afghanistan than western women who strive to look like photoshopped emaciated models in Vogue Magazine? Am I crazier than the Americans who are addicted to movie and reality TV star gossip, and don’t understand that innocent people die in other countries because of our country’s nastier habits of war mongering and oil consumption (to name a few)?
Think about it.
I’ve got a good kind of crazy going on. I followed my heart and free spirit to places that most will never see. I have a global family, a world wide web of human connections so extensive that I always see someone I know no matter where I travel. If you still want to call me crazy compared to those who I just mentioned, I’m happy to keep my title.
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