I Wish You Well, Omar

A few days ago, I had a Zoom meeting with Omar, my nephew by marriage. 

It’s been a while since I last mentioned that I married an Egyptian woman—a truly beautiful person named Azza—a little more than twelve years ago, back when I was living in Cairo, Egypt, and teaching at the American University in Cairo.

Omar is Azza’s sister’s son.  He’s in his early twenties.  A couple of years or so ago, he graduated from Helwan University, an institution located in Egypt’s capital, with a degree in Computer Science.  He’s been working remotely for an international company for the past couple of years now.

The Zoom meeting that I’ll be talking about shortly was preceded by an email he sent three weeks prior.  In it, he told me he was planning to leave Egypt and live abroad.  At the time of that missive, he was trying to work up the nerve to tell his folks and sister about his plans.  It’s unusual for young Egyptians to do what Omar was planning, and in my Egyptian family, only my wife has ever lived outside her home country.  (My wife and I currently reside in San Antonio, Texas, USA.)

In Egypt, the family is sacrosanct, so leaving, as Omar is about to do, is quite unusual and can be seen in a very negative light.

I should say one more thing about Omar’s email.  He did not give any details about where he was planning to move or what he was planning to do after he left.

Then we had our meeting.

I now know that Omar wanted to talk with me because I did exactly what he’s planning to do, decades ago now, starting when I was quite young.  Back when I was just a little older than he is now, I joined the Peace Corps and was sent, by the American government, to Poland to do educational consulting work and teacher training.  He knew I would be supportive of his decision; whereas, he feared that his parents would try to get him to abandon the idea.  By the way, after ending that first experience, I lived in the UAE, Turkey, and Egypt, for a period of twenty years, and have traveled extensively in many parts of the world.

So, the Zoom meeting happened.  While the two of us were situated side by side on my computer monitor, I couldn’t help but notice how dark Omar’s facial hair was (as mine had once been) and how grey mine was.  My how time flies (whether a person is having fun or not).

I have now entered that part of my life where people approach me for advisement.  And I always feel like I have a few things to say to those who come with questions and concerns.

The passage of time sometimes feels so strange to me.  It seems like only yesterday that I was inexperienced and naïve and full of the same sort of yearning—that strong need to see the world, to have adventures, and to be tested—that is now inside of Omar.

As our conversation played out, Omar had questions for me, and I had answers for him.  It felt good to support him.  There was a strong feeling that I was passing the torch to the next generation.

Omar is moving to Bali later this month and will become, as he said from his own mouth, a “digital nomad.” 

Even though I am much older than he is now, I can see my wife and I doing a version of what he’s planning.  As a matter of fact, we are about to buy property in the coastal city of Sharm El-Sheikh.  And from that spot, we can be a bit nomadic ourselves.

Long live the nomads among us!  Long live the spirit of adventure!  Long live those who think of themselves as citizens of the world! 

29 thoughts on “I Wish You Well, Omar

  1. What an exciting time for Omar, but I can understand his hesitancy in telling the family. But the world he’s going to be part of is vastly different now. The Covid pandemic has accelerated the shift to working patterns where digital nomads are commonplace. Covid sped up hybrid and remote working, that it’s easier to work from anywhere if you have a computer and access to the Web for Zoom or Team calls etc. The only ‘downsides’ are more the legal side – employees working globally and the impact on paying taxes etc.

    I’d say for people like Omar, at the start of his adult life, there are opportunities to make this an exciting decision. I just hope his mum and family agree and support him.

    Good luck to you too, Troy

    1. Hi, Brenda. I apologize for my delay in responding to your comment. Like you, I am very excited about the possibilities that await Omar. He’s a bright and industrious young man. He has loads of talent, and I have tried to encourage him. Thank you very much, Brenda, for your encouraging words. Take care and good luck in your writing.

    1. Yes, I am envious of Omar! Great things are waiting for him, out there, in the big world. Thank you and sorry for the lateness of my response.

    1. Thanks, Todd. Sorry for the lateness of my response. Let’s raise a glass to the possibilities that await my nephew and for the gumption he’s demonstrating by moving off.

  2. I enjoyed reading your post. Yes, Life is an Adventure. A friend and I visited Egypt and the Red Sea in 2007. It was a wonderful experience. I wish Omar, you and families all the best. 🤗💕✨

    1. Hi. The Red Sea is a beautiful body of water. I’m glad you had a great experience in Egypt. Most go to Cairo, which is crowded and overwhelming. I recommend that those planning on visiting the country do as you did–get away from the capital. I think a Nile trip down to southern Egypt would be nice. I’ve never taken such a trip. Thanks for commenting and sorry for the lateness of my response.

      1. Thanks for your reply. No apology necessary… I pop into and out of this site as well… we actually did get a taste of Cairo as well as ancient sites down the Nile. Remarkable country! All best wishes. Shelley

  3. Amen🙏🏿😁

    ‘…how time flies, whether you’re having fun or not..’

    How true! We really should try to do our best with the little time we have here.

    Meanwhile, it’s good to see you again Troy🙏🏿 Hope you are feeling much better, and yes, long live the nomads of the world😁😁

    1. Hi, jermena. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Yes, life is short; we have so little time, don’t we? I’m happy to hear from you again. I apologize, though, for taking so long to respond. Please forgive me.

  4. Well done Troy! Listening and encouraging a young men to choose his own life path even if it will take him far away from his family it’s really great. And it will be a worthy life experience. And indeed long live to nomads, to spirit of adventure, and to citizens of the world!

    1. Hi, crisbiecoach. We’re in agreement about Omar. We all have to find our own path, don’t we? I know that great things are awaiting Omar, and I’ll be there to help him if he ever needs anything. Thanks for commenting, and I’m so sorry it took me so long to respond.

  5. Wonderful that he has someone to lean on and advise him in this adventure called life! I tip my hat to the nomads, the adventurers, the wanderers. I have always been more of the “keep the home fires burning” type soul. I’m happy to see the world through the eyes of others. 💞💞💞

  6. Thank you for responding and for being the unique person you are! May we all be the people we dream of being. Thanks so much for commenting. I’m just sorry it took me so long to respond.

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