Hi, I’m Emmanuel!
Although I will always call Armenia my motherland, I’m not quite sure if I should be considered a traveler or a local here. In any case, I spend a lot of time in this beautiful country. So, at a certain point I figured I should start sharing my experiences with others. These days more and more people come to visit Armenia without speaking our language or knowing much about us, so I want to be helpful. Whether you see my blog as a bunch of tips from a local or ideas from an experienced traveler, I’ll let you decide for yourself. Here is my story though!
I was born in Yerevan, Armenia, in 1990, just when the nation decided to reject Communism and the Soviet Union. As the Republic of Armenia started writing its independent story, my parents decided to use the newly discovered freedom to the fullest. So, when I was only 3 my family left Armenia. Since then I changed three countries and, technically, I never returned to live in Armenia again. Nevertheless, every year I would come back to Armenia, to spending here some time – anywhere between 5 days and a couple of months. Every time sort of re-discovering my own motherland, again and again!
I’ve been always emotionally attached to Armenia. I’m very glad my family made sure I speak the language of my ancestors and I’m not entirely culturally ignorant. Once, back in 2000 I even spent an entire year in Yerevan attending a local school. That’s how, eventually, as an adult I ended up with Armenian reading and writing skills of a 10 years old kid. Not ideal for a grown ass millennial, but hey, at least something!
So, emotionally I’m very much a local in Armenia. But I must also admit that mentally I’m somewhat disconnected from the realities of this country.
I have major gaps in my knowledge of Armenia’s history. I haven’t read a lot of books, which I should have. Also, some archaic Armenian views seem bizarre to me, especially things involving subtle misogyny and xenophobia. These, unfortunately haven’t been eradicated in Armenia yet.
Another example is the value I assign to precision and time management. I think this is something I certainly picked up in Europe. In Armenia it’s normal to run a business without any written contract, by simply trusting your partner’s word. Or when people say they’d show up at 2 PM, it can mean anytime between 1:45 PM and 3:30 PM.
As I was growing up surrounded by more progressive, western cultures, my views and values formed accordingly. So, when I’m in Armenia I often end up being triggered or intrigued by things that locals don’t even notice and vice versa. In that way, I guess, Armenians who live in Armenia view me as a traveler, or a “foreigner”.
Whichever way you decide to see me, I hope you will find my travel tips about visiting Armenia helpful. I love this country, and I want the world to know what an amazing place it is. If I manage to help you by making your experience in Armenia smoother and more joyful, please (No, seriously, PLEASE!) let me know by mentioning me on Twitter / Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips. And enjoy your stay in Armenia!