I went to Egypt the other week, which was activism and a holiday combined. I went to the Cairo Conference, a post-revolution event organised by the Socialist Renewal current, with various leftist groups in Egypt. So there was activism and building links with people involved in the revolution, and also a holiday!
Last summer, I went to Palestine and travelled around the West Bank. We made the decision not to stay anywhere in Israel. Unfortunately, we did have to fly into Tel Aviv. We had a story prepared to tell the immigration people, and then we just said “We’ve come to see Jerusalem”, and we didn’t have have any bother.
It’s harder getting out! We were asked: “Have you spoken to any Palestinians? Did you stay at anyone’s house?” They’re looking at your stuff, looking at your photos. We expected it, it was just a tiny taste of what Palestinians have to endure on a daily basis.
It’s like travelling around the West Bank and going through the checkpoints, standing round in the heat for hours and hours, and realising that “I’m just doing this once”, when there are people who have to do it every day.
There are political decisions about where you’re going to go, where you’re going to stay, where you’re going to spend your money. We stayed at a refugee camp in Bethlehem, and then a community project in Jenin, places where you hoped your money would go to a good cause. I’m only 22, so I haven’t been on a huge number of holidays!
When I was younger, when my parents took me on holiday, there’d be political elements. When we went to Spain, we’d get taken to mosques that had been turned into cathedrals and we’d be told about the expulsion of the Muslims and things like that.
Last year I went to Denmark on holiday and the happiest 10 minutes of the holiday was in Copenhagen when I met someone from Greenpeace who was trying to collect members. I enjoyed it. I felt I was at one with him.
It was my first holiday with my family but without my husband who died recently. This meeting in the street did make my holiday. It cheered me up. This young man was doing something, so I mustn’t worry because a lot of people around the world are doing something to make a better world.
I had been feeling that on my own, without my husband, I was powerless, and I’d been feeling down, but in this conversation, we shared some rapport, and it really made my holiday!