Last night I called my mom at 3am. I had just finished packing for a week-long trip to Libya and wanted to let her know that I probably wouldn’t be able to email her while I was traveling (the Libyan government has shut down internet in the country just 90 minutes earlier) but I might be able to call or fax. “Kathryn, I really think you should reconsider this trip,” was her response.
I’ve subjected my mom to a lot of travel related stress in the past: “Hey mom, I’m going to spend three months wandering around southern Italy alone”, “Hey mom, I’m moving to Italy!”, “I just booked a solo trip to Syria, but I haven’t made any arrangements and I won’t have a phone!”, but I think the “I don’t know when I’ll speak to you next, but I need to selfishly satisfy my maniacal wanderlust” was a bit much.
We read the Al Jezeera, BBC, and NYT coverage on Libya over the phone, which was, in a word, limited. After three days of protest and violence, and 4 decades of suppression of the press, it was hard to paint a clear picture of what is happening right now, but things don’t seem good, safe, or reasonable. And it hardly seems respectful to go to a country on the verge of revolution to gawk at some ancient cities just because I feel like it. So Libya can wait. Mamma Parla is always right.