Borders: Adventures in Israel (Part Three)

Rest. Its a good thing. Its a necessary thing. Even later, as I reflect back on my time in Israel, I realize that in the midst of doing, eating, seeing and experiencing everything, I needed a break. I needed a Shabbat, even if it was only a Monday.

It was only my second full day in Israel, but I felt as though I had been gone for months. I had seen things that I never dreamt that I would be able to see in my lifetime. My heart and mind were in tangles, and I needed a minute to breathe.

Luckily, our amazing friends at Abraham Tours had somehow anticipated this. 

Kara and I were sitting in our hostel room when we got a knock on the door. We had been told earlier that our afternoon scheduled tour had been cancelled. We were okay with this. We decided to spend the day blogging and journaling, hoping to process all we had seen so far. But with the rap on the door came an invitation. The young woman from the front desk smiled and said, "Do you two want to go to the Dead Sea in five minutes?"

I love when the universe does this to me.

So we grabbed our swimsuits and ran downstairs. Haim, our new friend and tour guide, was waiting to take us on a private tour of the Dead Sea. We chatted with him along the way, asking way too many questions, learning about life in Israel. He told us about dirt biking in the Judean Desert, changing careers against his parents' wishes and how the only thing that really mattered in life was living in the moment.

"Today is today. Tomorrow is tomorrow," Haim said, flipping his sunglasses down over his eyes, smiling at the sun.

It was hot when we arrived. Kara and I changed into swimsuits and headed down to the salty water. A group of elderly tourists bobbed around in the water, laughing. We waded in and I was surprised by the sharp rocks at the bottom. As I fought to walk through the waist-high water, wincing with every step, an older woman with dyed red hair looked at me and shouted, "Don't fight it! Just float!"

Another life lesson.

I let my body fall back, preparing to sink. But instead of a mouthful of water my body bobbed upwards and I found myself horizontal, staring up at the bright midday sun.

Today is today. And today I am floating. Nothing else matters.

It was a quick visit, and soon enough we were driving back through the desert. About ten minutes into our drive, Haim pulled off the road and drove towards what looked like an abandoned building. As we got out of the minibus and walked around, we inquired as to what the building may have been.

"This used to be a great dance hall, with a magnificent restaurant and hotel. This was a beautiful place where people used to come and dance and forget their troubles," Haim explained, walking through the ruins. He showed us the main room, now with a giant hole in the wall, facing the Dead Sea.

"Ready for a picnic?" Haim smiled, and we laughed. Dates and minty black tea, in an abandoned night club in Israel. We posed for selfies and tried to capture the moment. Or rather, we tried to live in the moment.

Later that afternoon we returned to Jerusalem and decided to spend the remaining daylight hours perusing the Mahane Yehuda market. As we walked, vendors insisted that we put out our hands in order to receive little bites of whatever they were selling. Sweet pastries, briny cheese and dried pomegranates were tasted and savored.

"This city has a certain small," Kara commented, and I agreed. Za'atar spice, tart pomegranate, musky olive oil and desert dust. I bit into a warm, flaky tahini cookie and closed my eyes. I felt like time could stop and it would be okay.

The sun setting, we once again found ourselves at Abraham Hostel. The lounge upstairs was beginning their happy hour, and the two-for-one wine deal seemed like a good idea. The night activity consisted of a Hummus Workshop, in which we sipped wine, laughed and mashed up our hummus until it was just right. We ate until we were stuffed, and leaned back, listening to the hostel's Open Mic night start up. The sun sunk below the horizon and the night air wafted in off the street. This is rest, I thought. This is perfect.

As I settled into bed early in the evening, I wondered what tomorrow would bring. Closing my eyes, I decided not to worry. It was still today.

...and tomorrow is tomorrow.

Stay tuned for Part Four of Adventures in Israel, and check out Kara and Celessa's adventures on For ideas on planning your own adventure in Israel, visit and check out


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