Borders Are Where People Belong

Beyond Borders: A Deep Dive Into the Nomadic Way of Life

The story of a young American woman’s journey through the world, her family and culture, and our role in the global story of humanity as it relates to borders. Based on personal anecdotes and true stories based on my own experiences as an ethnographic professor and researcher of border issues.

“Borders are where people belong.”

That’s what my father’s friend, an Arab American professor, used to tell me when I was in elementary school. I remember the story he told me:

“You see, in New York you do not belong. And because you are here, you have no place to live. Because we are poor, you are in the streets. Because we are black, you are always in the streets. And because we are Muslim, we are always in the streets. And you are always a stranger… The city can never be your home. It is a prison.”

Borders were my first experience with the idea that people have a right to be where they belong. The first time I ever heard the saying in my father’s context was when I was three years old. He told me it was the reason why we were “out on the street,” being homeless and having to live without a roof over our heads. I didn’t really understand. I was confused. We had two cars, but they couldn’t go fast enough to make it to the city. We were living in a trailer trailer park. We would go into Manhattan and walk a few blocks to the subway. We did it to save time, we were hungry. That was our mode of transportation.

This was a different version of “us” from when I was growing up in a middle class suburb. We lived in a house that had four bedrooms and one bath. We did everything with great efficiency. My

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