Cross Dressing Vagabond – Isabelle Eberhardt

Traveling the world used to be a game that only the men played, but as in all fields, brave pioneers broke out of the Victorian conception of women as meek and mild and showed that even the hardest travel makes no distinction among the sexes. Isabelle Eberhardt was one of these extraordinary feminist vagabonds.

Isabelle Eberhardt was a Swiss writer and explorer who lived and traveled widely in North Africa. She is considered to have been an extremely independent individual, who refused normal European ethics and characterization of women. Instead she followed her own path which led her to world travel. Isabelle’s first trip was with her mother to North Africa in 1897. They were trying to set up a new life there on this journey, and during that time they both converted to Islam.

feminist vagabondIsabelle’s half brother Vladimir committed suicide and another brother was married to a French woman whom Eberhardt was not in favor of. From then onwards, she spent her life in Africa, she made Northern Algeria and Morocco her home and became a true desert vagabond. Isabelle was in Tunisia for some time as well. She was frequently disguised as a man and there are many who conjecture that she not only lived as a man but loved women as a man does.

The life and writings of Isabelle Eberhardt:
The Nomad
In the Shadow of Islam
Prisoner of Dunes
The Oblivion Seekers
The Vagabond

female vagabondIsabelle married an Algerian soldier, Slimane Ehnni in 1901. She was known to drink and fight in the hardest of ways. She died in a flash flood in Algeria in 1904. She had rented a house there which was constructed of clay. The house collapsed on Isabelle and her husband during the flood, she saved her husband but she didn’t survive the disaster. She wrote about her travels in several books and the newspapers of France.

Her books and articles include “In the Hot Shadow of Islam”, “Algerian Short Stories” and “The Day Laborers”. She also wrote a novel, Vagabond which was translated into English by Annette Kobak. The journals of Isabelle were recovered from the flash flood, they covered the final four years of her life and now these journals are also available in English.

Isabelle Eberhard was a nomad in Africa but more importantly she explored the limits and boundaries of gender as well as the deserts of Africa and continued her writing during that time. Most of her novels, books and journals on her travels can be found in English, Spanish, French, and German.

The Most Dangerous Places in the World

This post was originally written in 2010 – the world has changed a great deal since that time. Columbia, for example would no longer be on this list in 2020. The United States might well be on it because of political issues, racial issues, and the pandemic. 

You might be surprised not to see Iraq and Afghanistan listed, but we figured that you already knew they were dangerous, so we focused on the countries you might have THOUGHT were safe.
The world is a great place, and especially so when you are welcomed and treated with respect at the places you visit. However, with the increasing rate of crime across the world, more and more countries are placing stricter travel rules in place. Some countries, or rather some regions of some countries, are already under the grip of some undesirable social elements, and just the smallest instigation can lead to trouble, especially if you are a foreigner and are visiting. Taking all these things into consideration, we compile a list of the top 5 most dangerous places to visit in the world. Though not all parts of the below-mentioned countries/places are dangerous, you should exercise caution and make sure you have travel insurance before you visit any of them.
top dangerous countries
1. Haiti
Haiti, though a beautiful island, is a country that is influenced and infested a lot by crime, and the recent earthquake has only added to its woes. The poverty here is extreme, and visitors will most likely end up feeling sorry for having to see people in such states. Looting, escaped prisoners, riots, fake roadblocks, hijacking are occurring on a daily basis now. Added to this is the strange practice of witchcraft, voodoo and black magic. Haiti certainly ranks first as the most unsafe place to visit right now.

2. South AfricaNow this may sound surprising, but the picture of South Africa as you imagine it to be – with Nelson Mandela, cricket, football and great wildlife sanctuaries is not all what it seems to be. It has been proclaimed by many people and media around the world as the rape capital of the world. Crime here is a genuine problem, and visitors are cautioned not to travel alone outside at nights. Exercising caution, however, will make your stay memorable.

3. Algeria
Algeria is now among the most unsafe countries of the world, mostly due to the recent rise in the number of warlords, who have found chances to exploit the country after the recent wars that have taken place. Though there are places to visit, you may face a great deal of danger in the form of fake road blockages, terrorism and abductions, which are common here. So visiting Algeria is highly NOT recommended. Go to Morocco instead.

4. Pakistan
Once a great country, Pakistan has fallen into bad hands. Though the government may seem stable from the outside, the terroristic activities that are going on within the country make it the fourth most unsafe place to visit in the world. The recent incident of the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad shows the state the country is in, Other than that, of course, Pakistan is a good country with some really good tourist destinations, but you need to exercise great caution.

5. Colombia
Though Colombia’s crime rate is not as much as it used to be a couple of decades ago, it has not completely vanished. The main threats to the country are the presence of paramilitary organizations and a large number of drug and human traffickers who do not waste time in luring foreigners into their clutches. Activities like kidnapping, extortion, robbery, murder, car bombings, drug trade are prevalent and avoiding such area will help make your visit to Colombia a bit better, especially if you visit the magnificent Andes mountain range.

Of course, knowing the readers of Vagobond.com, you are either there now or have already visited. How did you find the countries above? Do you agree?

Travelling in Turkey – More Greek and Roman Ruins than Italy and Greece!

Again, not a lot of time to write, but we are having a wonderful time in Turkey. From cruising the Bosporus to marveling at the Iskander Kebap in Bursa, this trip has been filed with adventures stretching across the Black Sea, the Marmara Sea, and soon the Aegean Sea, and of course a bit of the Mediterranean Sea too.

I’ll be writing about all of our adventures when I have some time to put things together and pick the best photos. In the meantime, here is a small piece I’ve put together on this amazing land we are trekking across by ferry, bus, taxi, and more.

turkey is surrounded by 4 seas
Turkey is surrounded by seas and littered with ancient civilizations.

As a guy who loves the ocean, I can hardly imagine a place that offers more variety than Turkey. While very different from places like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Hawaii; Turkey is filled with more Greek and Roman ruins than Greece and Italy and is surrounded by four seas and several straits.

The Black Sea which the Turkish people call Karadeniz borders the northern part of Turkey. It’s an inland sea that takes up more than 420,000 kilometers. Geologists say it was formed when Asia crashed into Europe and opened up the Bosporus Strait and flooded an inland plain. It is about 2200 feet deep in places and is warm in the summer and extremely cold during the winter. It is fed by many rivers and empties into the Bosporus. While no one seems to be certain why it is called the Black Sea some say it is because of the dangers that exist in it and others that it is because of the deep dark waters. It is the youngest sea on earth and is kept saline through inflows from the Mediterranean Sea through the Bosporus.

Sea of Marmara, Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Mediterreanean Sea
There\’s no shortage of beaches in Turkey

The Sea of Marmara which Turkish people call Denizi is a small inland sea connected to the Black Sea by the Bosphorus Strait. The Marmara Sea’s name comes from the Greek work for marble (marmar) and is about 11,000 square kilometers. It is relatively small being only 280 by 80 kilometers at its widest points. It is filled with many islands. To the south the Dardanelles Strait connects the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean Sea.

Sea of Marmara, Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Mediterreanean Sea
There is plenty to do in the seas of Turkey.

Turkish people call it Ege Denizi, but in English it is known as the Aegean Sea. Legend says that it was named for a famous drowning but whether that was Queen Aegea of the Amazon or Aegeus, the father of Thesius isn’t totally clear. It’s waters however, are very clear and while it is only 214,000 square kilometers and often included as a part of the Mediterainean, it has over 3000 islands within it including Crete, Rhodes, Lesbos. It sits between Turkey and Greece. It’s shores were home to Trojans, Mycenaean, Persians, Minoans, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, Ottomans, and many others. You can’t take a step without stepping on ancient stories and history.

Sea of Marmara, Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Mediterreanean Sea
It really is as gorgeous as you can imagine in Turkey

And finally, there is the mighty Mediterranean Sea. Bridging the continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe and the many countries that exist on it’s shores. It fills the area between The straits of Gibraltar in the West which lead to the Atlantic Ocean and the Suez Canal in the East which connect it to the Red Sea. The Turkish name for the Med is Akdeniz which means White Sea. Mediterranean actually comes closer to meaning Middle Earth in Latin. That explains all the hobbits. Despite the Latin origins of the name, the Romans called it Mare Nostrum- Our Sea.
The Mediterranean is nearly 2.5 million square kilometers. Just about everyone you read about in ancient history class lived on its shores. Phoenicians, Egyptians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Lycians, Arabs, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, Ottomans, and all those Europeans during the Renaissance. That’s because it has a massive 46,000 kilometer long coastline that is shared by Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, Greece,Turkey, Syria, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco.

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