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The Herald Magazine - - etc TRAVEL -

“The gen­e­sis of this project was our in­va­sion of Iraq in 2003. I was a 21-year-old stu­dent back­pack­ing in Egypt, Is­rael and Jor­dan, just as the war was fin­ish­ing. A ter­ror­ist blew him­self up and the Jor­da­nian bor­der was closed, so I ended up hitch­hik­ing into Bagh­dad.”

“It’s steeped in his­tory and mythol­ogy but it’s also mis­un­der­stood – and it’s usu­ally in the news for all the wrong rea­sons. By ap­proach­ing a place as a jour­ney rather than a cor­re­spon­dent, I thought it might be nice to show not just the doom and gloom but some of the hu­man sto­ries as well. Peo­ple think of camels, ter­ror­ists and deserts, but ac­tu­ally there’s a lot more to it.”

“I was about three miles away from the front­line in Da­m­as­cus. You can hear the bombs go­ing off yet there are peo­ple hav­ing a cup of cof­fee or a glass of wine; peo­ple get on with their lives. Even now, all the tourist shops are open. There’s no one shop­ping but it gives the shop­keep­ers a sense of hope; ev­ery morn­ing at 7am they open the stores, they hang their car­pets out, they sit there and no­body ever comes.”

WHICH PLACE STRUCK YOU MOST DUR­ING YOUR JOUR­NEY?

“Le­banon was beau­ti­ful. I ended up hav­ing lunch with Hezbol­lah and they were lovely.”

Ara­bia by Le­vi­son Wood, Hod­der & Stoughton, £25

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