Archives for the month of: June, 2012

I’m back! Sorry for the general lack of activity on this blog. Madaba, the city I live in while in Jordan , recently had a few days of rioting caused by the murder of a taxi driver. Many cars and buses were torched, some shops were attacked, and a police hut was burned to the ground. But I’m safe!  Now back to the topic of this blog post…

By way of luck, I’ve been able to cross many points off of my list of “100 things I want to do before I die”. Most recently, and in my opinion extraordinarily, I was able to cross off #35 – do a handstand at a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I did it in front of the Treasury at Petra during my third visit to the ancient city. It was quite the experience and I’m extremely happy.

– Daniel


“I would like to become tolerant without overlooking anything, persecute no one even when all people persecute me; become better without noticing it; become sadder, but enjoy living; become more serene, be happy in others; belong to no one, grow in everyone; love the best, comfort the worst; not even hate myself anymore.”

-Elias Canetti

Looking at the moon during a Wadi Rum sunset. Isn’t that cliff awe-inspiring?!

– Daniel

Music at night while camping in Wadi Rum

– Daniel

Although posted today, this post and the events contained within it took place yesterday. Writing is very personal for me. It’s a way for me to express myself through a medium in an unrestricted way. Uncensored thoughts. They are by no means vulgar, but they are the honest truth. And that’s what makes them my words, pieces of literature that cannot be separated from me.

Today I almost died. I spent an hour in the emergency room of a Jordanian hospital suffering from the would-be fatal effects of my tree nut allergy. To keep it brief, because the actual medical events are not what are really important here, I accidentally ingested pistachio nuts during a meeting with my students and staff. I stayed collected and composed. “Chill” if you want to describe it that way. I recognized the symptoms and sought immediate medical help. Despite some localized soreness from the injections, I am fine and out of immediate danger. Responding quickly to the reaction is the reason why I am still able to write this post. It was by far not a pleasant experience, but it is a stepping-stone, albeit unintentional, towards the completion of my happiness project. This was a learning opportunity. An experience that has left a little scar on my conscious. One that will forever change me as all life-altering experiences should. As bad as this is to say, this was a good thing.

Now you might think of me as insane. But hear me out. A good friend of mine told me that my dominating sense of optimism (I’m a very “glass half full” kind of guy) would make me live longer. For those who seek patterns in randomness, no, being relaxed and positive during my emergency room visit did not cure me. It certainly made it slightly more pleasant, but it was the medications administered by the doctor that saved my life. Although it was a nice sentiment, I asked her this, “but what if it was an unfulfilled life? What if, after living a very long life, I didn’t try to do as much as I possibly could with my time on this planet?” I’m certainly not opposed to living a long and healthy life, but I want to make a difference before I kick the proverbial bucket. I want to explore the world, discover who I truly am, and make a positive change to the lives of those around me. Indeed, this isn’t something that came to me as I lay there on the hospital bed; arms and buttocks sore from needles. This is something that I came to realize over the years growing up with a nut allergy. Living everyday with the risk that I could die. But this brush with death, while not my first but certainly my closest near-fatal accident, most definitely reinforced the sentiment. Life is too short. It can end at any moment and that’s a fact of life, but instead of fearing death we should embrace the fact that the mere fact that living is an opportunity to make a difference in the world and develop ourselves as human beings. I sometimes call it a curse with no gifts. But really, it is a means for me to realize that I have all of this untapped potential that shouldn’t be wasted waiting.

Take action. Time is short. Hold onto hope even when times are hard. Life has a way of working out for the best. Make a change in yourself and for others. Live your life and share it with the few who make your day all the more brighter.

– Daniel


I started writing a list of 100 things I want to do before I die a couple of months ago. So far, I’ve written 53 points and completed 5! At the moment, my internet in Jordan is slow and inconsistent at best, so I have not been able to upload new photos. I’ve also been incredibly busy with the archaeological dig I’m working on. That and combating a nasty stomach flu. However, I haven’t let my schedule get in the way of my quest! Here’s a photo of my completing #14 “go sand boarding” shortly before I completed #25 “spend a night in Wadi Rum”.  Wadi Rum is one of my favorite places on the planet, I will upload something ASAP.

*Photo courtesy of Justin Charlick

– Daniel