Shalom from Israel!
I flew into Israel at the beginning of the week and it has been a crazy, amazing non-stop week since I landed. I am actually having a hard time putting into words what the trip has been like.
I am going to fully admit that I was a bit nervous flying into the Middle East. The only things we hear are all the craziness that is covered on the news. They paint Israel as always being in conflict and dangerous to visit. I have found the country to be 100% opposite of how it is painted in the news.
The people I have met have been warm, loving and so excited to share their country and cities with us. I have so much more to share on Jerusalem and the other areas of the country we visited.
My first interaction was my driver who brought me from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I was reminded of the trust you have to have in travel. I had been traveling for close to 24 hours to get to Israel and was honestly wiped out. I am not sure I could have answered a lot of questions at this point I just needed a shower and a bed. I found my driver holding a white piece of paper with my name written on it with marker. I trusted that he was the person I was supposed to meet and headed out of the airport with him.
He was the sweetest guy and shared his love of Israel with me and the things he thought I needed to see during my trip. I would happily have adopted him as a Israel grandfather if I could.
When I arrived at the hotel I had 2 thought process…shower and sleep. Nothing else mattered at this point. After face planting in bed after a shower I slept for about 10+ hours. It was amazing and so needed. Finally I felt human again and it was time to head out and explore Jerusalem.
We kicked off the trip with a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem. This was just the tip of the iceberg to what can be seen in the old city. I loved learning about the 3,000-year-old history of this amazing city. I am already planning/plotting how I am going to get back to Israel to spend more time photographing the city.
It is a feast for the senses in so many ways. After the Old City tour, we headed to the biblical zoo in hopes of interacting with the lemurs. Ciaran from Momfluential was here a few months ago and snapchatted the lemurs during her trip. I have been a bit obsessed with photographing them since I saw her snapchat. Unfortunately, it was too cold, and the Lemurs were all cuddled up together and not coming out to play.
I should mention that the zoo was unlike any I have ever been to. There were not the barriers that we normally see in the US keeping a lot of the animals far away from visitors. Instead, the lemurs have free reign of the exhibit and can come and sit next to you when they want to.
This was also true in the Raptor exhibit which was honestly a bit scary and weird at the same time. Imagine giant hawks and vultures that can easily fly and land on your head if they want too. Yep, scary!
At one point a hawk had a dead rat he was enjoying right above our heads. I had to move out of the way to not be hit by flying chunks of a rat. We definitely left the exhibit pretty quickly as my imagination started running on being landed on by a giant hawk.
After surviving the raptor exhibit, we figured we had earned our Biblical Zoo stripes. LOL!
You know I had to find at least 1 chai tea in Israel. It was just what I needed!
One of the best/funniest things we did in Jerusalem was one part scavenger hunt and one part Amazing Race. We went on an Israel Scaventure tour through the Shuk. IT WAS AMAZING!!! I may have slowed my team down because I had way to much fun taking photos of all of the fresh produce and cool products.
After exploring the city it was time for TBEX Conference to kick off. I spent the next few days balancing speaking, listening to amazing speakers and jaunting around the city for special events.
Some days there are moments in your life that you can’t plan for. Moments that blow you mind and bring you a level of happiness that is truly hard to put into words. I had one of those moments today and I am still so in awe. I had the opportunity to visit the shuk market that I shared photos of yesterday with a private chef. Chef Tali Friedman who is known as the Jerusalem Atelier. She is a world famous chef and truly an amazing person. She took me on a private tasting tour of the shuk. I tried spices, fruits, vegetables, tea and Israeli delicacies that blew my mind. This was one of those travel experiences that you dream of but can’t really imagine happening.
I had the opportunity to take a private market tour with a female Israeli chef Tali Friedman who was crazy amazing. I will be sharing more photos soon, but I had to mention how truly amazing this experience was.
I spoke at TBEX about working while traveling and tools for making life a little easier. It was an amazing time, and I always love being able to share tips and tools for other writers and business owners.
One of the other amazing things that I had the opportunity to do was tour the Israeli Museum with the curator of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. WOW! So much amazing history housed in one place. I left the tour with my brain on fire trying to imagine all of the years of history that has happened in Jerusalem.
My home base during my time in Jerusalem was the King David hotel which has been quite lovely. As I type this portion of the weekly diary, I am listening to a music festival outside my window in the old city of Jerusalem. It is pure bliss!
Breakfast on the beach with a view of the Red Sea and Jordan across the water. Kicked off my final day in Israel with a delicious breakfast and great new friends. Hard to believe it is already time to head home after almost 10 days in this beautiful country. I have so many photos and memories to share soon.
The rest of my week was spent exploring Eilat in Southern Israel. I have so many adventures to share with you! We rode camels, drove ATV’s on the border of Egypt/Israel, swam in the Red Sea, Floated in the Dead Sea, ate way to much food and so much more! Lots of posts coming soon!
I am days late in posting this because well jetlag was not my friend after this trip. I promise to have a ton of posts and photos shared soon!