Off to Israel…

A view of Jerusalem

I wish this was typical of my life: two international trips in two months! Unfortunately, it’s just a fluke. A fluke that’s causing me to miss a lot of work, which nobody is particularly thrilled about (except, perhaps, me – although I am feeling quite guilty about the situation).

I’m leaving tonight for JFK, and flying to Israel tomorrow. This trip is courtesy of Birthright, an organization that gives the gift of free trips to Israel for Jews between the ages of 18-26. Since I’ll be 27 this winter, it was my last chance to take advantage of the opportunity. And do not be fooled: by “courtesy of,” the trip is largely free. Travel, accommodations, activities, and many meals are provided. (Since my trip departs from JFK, I had to buy plane tickets to get there – but that’s it. I could have chosen an Atlanta-based trip, but they didn’t offer culinary and the extra money was worth it to me). Participants must provide a $250 deposit prior to departure, but barring crazy mishaps, the money is returned afterwards.

Although I’ve been to Israel once before with my nana and mom, this trip will be much different. For one, I’ll be with a group of people around my age. Furthermore, Birthright has many options for themed trips. You can join an outdoors trip, an LGBT trip, a trip for students of your university, or even an Orthodox trip. I was lucky enough to get into a culinary-themed trip! That means we’ll travel through Israel and see the typical sights, but through a culinary lens. For me, there could be no better match. At the very least, there will be like-minded people on this trip. Hopefully, nobody will laugh at me when I photograph my food (to remember every bite!) and make crazy detours to try obscure bites. The activities are food-centric, too. I know we’ll be visiting an olive oil factory and a farm, and on one night we’re scheduled to cook dinner for Israeli soldiers in their army base.

Expect posting to be less frequent in the next two weeks, but you can rest assured that I’ll be photographing and documenting everything to recount when I return! In the meantime, there will be a couple of scheduled posts. I’m also hoping that Xavier will throw together a little something about our trip to Nicaragua. I think he’s a little nervous about it, because I’m the writer in this relationship – but I know he’ll do an amazing job!

Here are some shots of Israel from my trip in 2005. Unfortunately, I didn’t take notes and don’t remember the names of these places. That will be different this time around. See you on the flip side!

A beautiful beach
israel beach
Ruins on the beach
ruins israel
Some more old structures
ruins israel
A bird perches on ruins
tiles ancient israel
Ancient tile work in Israel
israeli soldiers israel
Me at 18 and a whole bunch of dudes in uniform… yep, I was happy
old city jerusalem israel
An alleyway in Old City, Jerusalem
jerusalem jewish quarter
A sign for the Jewish quarter in Old City, Jerusalem


old city jerusalem
A vendor in the Arab quarter of Old City, Jerusalem


dead sea israel
Floating in the Dead Sea with Nana
eilat israel
Eilat, a beautiful seaside town in the southern part of Israel


jerusalem stations of cross
Candles illuminating one of the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem


wailing wall kotel jerusalem
My mom and I at the Wailing Wall

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