Iraq Travel Stories, Page 6


I am vacillating on going to Baghdad. Mostly because this is not fun anymore. Not the danger.


1. Neutral. Opinions but it is up to me.

2. NO GO

3. GO

I did not edit, except to protect emails and last names.



I am reminded of a quote a wise person shared with me


" All journeys have secret destinations of which the

traveler is unaware."

-Martin Buber

In life you make committments and you put forth your best

effort. But you must be watchful and see what shakes out.

Watch to see if the universe supports what you are up too.

Watchfulness and flexibility are as important as commitment

to a goal. You don't have to close the door on it ever

happening. It just may not be the right time. Don't force


There's my 2 cents.

Good luck and godspeed to your next destination, whether

you are aware of it or not.

Mark McMahon

P.S.: I'm stealing your shit. (With credit where credit is

due...) Watch for my Adventure Alert: Who wants to go to



i remember you saying.. insights... intuition.... instincts.... i guess you could go from there... if i was there with you i could help a little more to make up your mind...

peace, love, and happiness to you! i have a feeling you'll be around in a few more days...and if something happens then you won't have to deal with all the people that think you're crazy, and they'l find someone else to mess with their minds! hee hee!

casey form mn.


I am not sure if you promissed, but even if you did don't go unless

your heart is in it

Johnny J

Don't go unless you want to go. Forget about the fact that you

promissed us.



This is very simple. If you want to go to Baghdad then go, if you

don't want to have lost your reason to go, then dont go. Why are you

asking people their opinions? It's your life. Hugs, Yvey





screw the sand devils,if they cant make up their own

minds about people and wars over the past 5000

years,then why should you be so concerned,go to the

beach and enjoy.

was that bagdad or jus bad-dag no reason to waste your

time or money going to a place the neither you or they

want to be..

if lifes not a beach and the beach is not full of

friendly women,FORGET IT.....Bob B in Iquitos


Hi Andy,

I say forget about Bagdad. The heat alone is enough to give it up. I've

just come back from Dubai and Egypt, and I understand that Iraq is at least

as hot, but humid as well. They are having problems with their water

supply, which makes the idea even worse. You need access to water in those

temperatures! Turkey sounds like a much better idea. It will still be stinking hot,

but at least you will be able to get water more reliably. I've also heard it

is an amazing place, and I'm sure you won't get bored there.

Good luck in your decision,




You are a Hobo not a war correspondent. That is a job. A job is what I am supposed to be doing now, not talking to a Hobo. Why don't you go find paradise where you can live off the land for almost free, like Thailand after the war and before tourism. Only tell me and my wife about it though please. oo here comes the boss see ya. Scott still holding the Fort (Wayne).



Get the fuck out of Iraq. You are crazy to be there. While clearly you know more about the situation there than I do, I do read the papers and watch the news. There's no disputing the fact that soldiers are dying there. It wouldn't be much of a stretch for some zealot to decide to shoot some crazy blond headed American who's been wandering the streets taking pictures. Or maybe you'll get lucky and they'll just take you hostage. And for what purpose do you take this risk - because you told people you were going to Baghdad? You have nothing to prove. Sounds like you're miserable there anyways. So go somewhere else.

As for Syria, why bother going there for two days? So you can add another country to your list of visited places? So you can sit around some table on Kao San Road and wow some deadbeat backpacker with tales of your time in Syria?

You'll make a lot of your friends happy if you leave sooner rather than later and we return to reading about more pleasant and less dangerous travels. There's an old Chinese proverb that goes something like this: "Beware of living in interesting times...."




Lots of hugs, Stay safe,



Dear Andy,

Part of being a hobo is the freedom to change your mind; so, do NOT

go to

Baghdad. There is no longer any reason, and you have many more


options.....there, just my opinion...........

Your friend,

Carolyn E Ft. Wayne


I wouldn't go to Baghdad! Plenty of other places to check out, why go


such an unstable area?

Doug B


Hello Andy ,

I have been following you ....on the web site... for the last 2-3 weeks...! I enjoy every single word you report from the fields through your heart , mind and ego...! I feel , you are tired of the culture you are travelling in...these days. Which I understand , since my-self have been living in this culture for 1/3 of my life. Thus take a "unpaid" holiday....connect with women and soon you will be refreshed to accomplish your mind's goal....! Do not forget the mind is not you....! I'm in Dubai now and will head in about two weeks to Goa India. love , Nirav+++


I'd say if you've no strong reason for going, head out

and go somewhere you want to. As it sounds like you've

already got plans to do. Otherwise it sounds like

you'll be in Baghdad purely because you said you

would, and therefore not enjoying, observing, and

making the most of your visit.

Safe travel,



ANDY, we can think of plenty good reasons NOT to go to bagdad but none

in favor of going. as your dad said to me in the night when we got your

e-mailWELL I think Andy is safe for one more day because he is not

going today. he woke me up to tell me this so you know what we think lots of

love and many prayers mom dad


Hello Andy,

It's been a long time to write and decided to reply when I've seen your

today's mail. Well, in my humble opinion, it's no good going to a trip

for Baghdad even if it has got lots of cultural and historical buildings

(or ruins, bah!) for sightseeing. Meeting with local people may be good but

on the other hand, many of them are still loathing USA and in this very

time soldiers haven't provided security very well, yet. So it won't be so

fun walking about at Baghdad in these conditions, i guess. But of course

the decision is yours; it's up to you. Take care of yourself and good luck


Dear Brother Andy,

As your brother, I would support you 100% in whatever endeavor you

attempt in life as long as it was holy and just because of my love for you and

my prayers would be with you always, but, as a brother and a parent with


I would request that you not go to Baghdad without a definite mission

because too many families have lost loved ones already. ( although with

good reasons) Your mother and father have prayed for you daily and have

devoted their lives to serving their family, and I look forward to whenever the

"family" gathers so I know what they feel. I have experienced the

loss of someone I loved, (although under different circumstances with life

afterward being blessed abundantly) and it changes things forever. As our

family, we want to continue to experience the reunion of coming home and the joy

of sharing our experiences in life that we have been so blessed. Life

without mission can needlessly harm the ones left behind, so on behalf of many

who love you, move on to other adventures with a mission. Nothing is ever

guaranteed, except the love of God and that your parents and family

love you and look forward to seeing you again. May the love and protection of


Christ, follow you wherever you go.

Your brother, Jerry


yep....time to move on when you are loosing touch with remembering......need to stay alert to survive.

sure enjoy your photos.


i think you have already answered your question.

you are bored with the country and are ready to move on to other lands.

go with your instinct !!

you have made your mark....leave while the mark is fresh and good.

happy trails.



this is your trip, your time and your $$$. if you

don't want to go somewhere, nothing there you want to

see, then don't go.

my opinion




The only good reason you have for going to Baghdad is that you told

everybody you were going. Apart from that... So will you feel "obliged"

to go while you don't want (because you have no desire at all, it shows)

and show your nose just to be able to say : "been there, done that !" or

you'll do what you really want to as you said it was your only motto...

If you don't want to go to Baghadad, only want to spend 2 days in syria

and no day in Jordan ........



These are comments from readers that want me to go to Baghdad

More or less.


torrejón de ardoz, 27 august 2003

You know, i don´t have any cash to send you but as

soon as i make it (i am struggling to maintain a four

kid family with a business language school that i have

founded here in Madrid where unlike you i finally put

down roots but i

do want to encourage you. As a matter of fact you see

many things exactly as i see them and what you are

doing is important.

When are you coming to spain? Maybe i could lay a

little cash on you then, and surely i would be happy

to have you stay with us. I promise many of your

observations coincide with mine.

I know you don´t need to go to Baghdad and i don´t

blame you if you don´t but i wish i had your eyes and

ears there reporting back to me. The media is so

sensationalistic but you seem to have an open and

honest view of things especially as far as gageing

where peoples hearts are. That is your mission

--discern the hearts of men and tell it like it is.

Ha, ha impossible, but you don´t do too bad anyway.

Respectfully yours;

and good job O Noble Traveller of the Earth and

its Cultures Thereof,



Maybe not the best reasoning, but I would go just to say you’ve been there!

Don’t go all that way to Iraq, and get so close, and then just decide, hmmmm, no, I don’t feel like it. Or ‘it’s hard’. Just friggin do it... even if you just go for one day.

It’s not like you’re likely to ever get back there, right?

And what if it gets bombed even further to shit, and then there’s nothing there to see?

A little story...

My boss was kicked out of his house when he was 18 (in London, circa ‘65), so him and his friend bought a vw bus and drove by land from London down to the south tip of India, and took a boat to Indonesia, then Australia.

The best part of his trip was Afghanistan... he’s fairly well traveled, and said that by far it was the most amazing place he had ever been... the architecture, the people, the land, just amazing... straight out of Arabian Nights.

Since then it’s obviously been bombed to shit, it doesn’t even closely resemble what it did then. He feels incredibly lucky to have seen it when he did.

I know Baghdad is probably not amazing in that sense, but the point is that it could drastically change over the next few years, and if I were you, I’d take the time to get there and see it if only for the sake of having seen it.

You don’t seem the type to be afraid of a challenge, so whatever it takes, just freakin’ do it!

My 2 cents...



Hello Andy,

I feel you must GO. There is a truth to be told there, the hearts and minds of every day Iraqi people. We watch CNN and are told nothing of substance. The Iraqis are likely to be a beautiful people caught up in world events not of their choosing, and their views on the ongoing war are unknown, a mystery worth unraveling, a story worth discovering for yourself and for your subscribers. This will be a very different kind of travel than you are used to and perhaps will be a life changing event, or at the very least satifying.

Tell us about their culture, their religion, their family life, their educational upbringing. You may not realize you are a traveling sociologist and anthropologist.

Pleae GO.

Lisa L.


Go do what you want.

Women are a critical part of daily life. No women = depression.

Turkey = women on out and about. India = women on out and about.

Although, I can say I would have liked for you to at least visited Baghdad for a week or two (and then blast off to Turkey or India).

But, what do I know -- you gotta do what makes you happy -- life is precious remember?

And, no I don't think it is selfish to leave to make yourself happy.


BLOG what you want of this..John from Alabama


The thoughts I hear about Baghdad is that more rich people live there

and there is less acceptance of the US. I would personally like to get

your view of a couple of the Sadam Mansions. Maybe see what the

cuisine is like compared to northern Iraq. I also heard that Sadam drained a

bunch of the delta in the south of Iraq. Have you thought about going

to Kuwait? What are the Saudis thinking? How about around Iraq like

Turkmenistan or Tajikistan? Those countries are mostly Muslim and not

at war and might be pretty cheap hobo country? Do you have to go to

Turkey to get to India? If you can get to Kuwait maybe you can go on from

there. I know you can fly from Kuwait to Bombay.

Am enjoying the letters,

Jackie likes your diet,




Got to Baghdad if not for a day...why? 1. it's Baghdad 2. you'll have

difficulty accomplishing your mission in Iraq assessing the nature of

the country if you don't go to see, touch and feel Baghdad.

Maybe people are apathetic maybe because they think northern Iraq is

boring. That may turn around if you go to Baghdad increasing the risk to your

life.Sick, I know.

You may be feeling apprehensive because of the negativity you're

receivingfrom some readers.

What are they saying? Is one of them named Art, by chance? Just


Good luck making your decision. Can't wait to hear.

All the best,



Hi Andy,

Petra is in Jordan. Romans took it from the Arabs in about 100 AD and carved up (masterfully) the cave dwellings into huge Roman pillars and columns, temples and such right out of a living red rock cliff face. Something like seeing a Roman temple carved into a wallside at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Open for tourists to view, so that girl could go there, no problema. It's a big deal, like Angkor Wat in Cambodia. There's something epic like it carved into a rock wall in Egypt. Monumental. Worth searching for a pic on the Web.

I'm happy about you going (or equally not going) to Baghdad, but the question you might ask yourself is will you be kicking yourself later if you approached it but didn't go out there? Something like picking up some volcanic ash and stuffing it in a cigar tube while at Mt. St. Helens or a chunk of concrete from the Berlin Wall. Looking back and say you were a "Witness to History". It's not worth infinite crap though, so know your own mind. Just a wildhair bit at that. To possibly misquote Jack Nicholson -- it's "Bovine Residue". Oh Hey btw ! ...I think Baghdad Bob stuff would sell even better than Iraqi postcards - perhaps a cottage industry for you on eBay after you leave there. A great novelty, sell them one at a time, like hammocks. Imagine eating cornflakes from a bowl just setting on a Baghdad Bob placemat. That kind of thing. I know I may sound wacky, but I've been up all night and a skunk just sprayed someplace it smells much worse than I could possibly sound. It's affecting my reason.

You mention Paris. My sister lives in Lyon, France. Her place has a big botanical garden butting up against her back door - she even has her own gated entrance to the Gardens, even though they lock the front gates at night. She says there are lots of Arab types that suddenly showed up in the Gardens out back, just before Bush's deadline in Iraq. Flooded the place with Arabicity. Her husband is a State Dept. officer and he gives these Middle-Easterner's the Eye. He calls them "Suspects".

Damn, that Rudi Bakhtiar's looking good! You've got an eye for the ladies. 50 million Frenchmen can't be wrong. Si or no?

- Chris


Hi Andy,

...Just to let you know what is going

on. We like to keep our ducks in a row as best we can. Hot over here. We

need to know what is going on in Bagdad. Go if you can but keep yourself


Thank You,

Bill & Mary R


Hobo, how else will ordinary people ever see those parts of the world "un-edited" if you don't go.

You are our eyes and we appreciate you.



Hi Andy!

I'm reading your thoughts and travels through Irak for the last two


Most interesting for me are the pictures, well commented, and very

illustrative of whats happening there. Very good work.

About the reasons to go to Baghdag... I'm sorry that can't tell you

something convincing, all i can say is that if I were you, i will be

heading to Baghdag right now... :) I know that things are getting

dangerous, but we need witnesess about whats happenning there.

Anyway, and most important, take care... think in safety.

I know that your opinions on this war and mine are not the same, but i

think we both share the respect for these people.

Next month i will be heading to Syria, Jordan and Israel for a 3 week

trip, and was worried about security, but reading you articles and

watching your photographs, all my worries fade out... :)



David G Spain


Going to Baghdad is a tough one. Some people amy think of going there

to be a status thing where they could say, "Hey man, I've been to Baghdad",

but not enjoy any part of it at all. From what I've read Andy The

Hobotraveler has gotten a feel for the culture of Iraq both Kurdish and otherwise

and the capital may not emit the same type of culture or feel of Iraq since it

was taken by the Americans. One Reason to go would be to see if there is a

change from outside Iraq to Baghdad which there may or may not be.

Personally I would go, not for status but to see what the political and

social climate would be like compared to the rest of the country. The

capital city might very well be a totally different world inside the

country. Who really knows until it's seen with your own two eyes and

not on

CNN. I vote yes.


Vancouver, Canada



find out where saddam is hiding and interveiw him.

or better and safer ,tell solders where he is.

he could be in bagdad or in syria.


Mike Peden





I was walking over with Pete to his hotel talking over the latest developments.

This is what I said to him,

"Pete, I came to Iraq to find out what the Iraq people thought of the USA,

I know that they are all happy that we got rid of Saddam, I am losing daily more

reason to go to Baghdad. In the end, I only have one reason to go.

I told everyone I was going!"

aagh. This is bullshit.

A really huge problem is that I have no desire whatsoever to go to Syria and Jordan.

I have had enough of this type of culture. And Peter says he loved Syria. I only have enough

time to spend 2 days in Syria. This is just a tourist option, and not my type of slow travel.

I will make my mind up today.

Anybody have a good reason for me to go to Baghdad?

Tell me... please or I go back to Turkey and to Paris. Then get ready for India.

But who knows. I need a beach!

email me at hoboontheroad ATDELETETHIS


I have a small link offering tours to people.

1-4 people maximun.

A person wrote me today. I will see how it goes?

They want to go on an eco-tourism adventure.

I would like a fun trip. So maybe in about 6 months.

Who knows. I am very fussy on tours. I really want people to

do the right thing and be safe. A package deal is not my idea

of doing the best trip.

But if you pay me enough and want to have fun and learn about

culture and I will take you anywhere? I would love to go see Colombia

right now for a nice change. But if you are really crazy. I will come and

get you and bring you here. LIFE IS GOOD.




It is obvious that everyone in Iraq wanted Saddam gone except for the

people that were on his payroll. So that question is answered.

The only possible question is,

"Is Baghdad the same as Mosul?"

But the bigger question is,

"Does anyone really care?"

Yes people. There are about 3 percent of you that want to hear about this.

So what do you think? Does my newsletter readership go up or down while I am in Iraq?

It goes down. Apathy.

So why write a newsletter that depresses people?

OK. So what?

But... I am personally getting daily more angry. I do not travel to get angry.

I am angry at the general lack of interest and the feeling that people think

I am in someway too patriotic, and so biased that I am totally wrong in my opinions.

I travel to have fun. There is no longer a challenge in Iraq.

It is not even that dangerous. Random Danger YES.

You know. Getting killed by car. Getting killed by one Islamic crazy.

This could happen in France or in Belgium. These place are full of crazies

also. I am working through some real anger at people of the world that

from my interpretaton are only interested in the conspiracy theory life or the

big guy against the little guy and how they feel the victim. Money for nothing people.

The welfare mentality of the world or socialism.