Borders: Adventures in Israel (Part One)

Month Ten. Lineholder. #TLV.

After fourteen hours at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, I was ready to depart. My first attempt at flying to Tel Aviv was unsuccessful, but now I was more determined than ever to make it.

Israel or bust.

The extended stopover did give me time to think. About where I was going. And why. This trip came up as sort of a last minute surprise. Kara had e-mailed me about Israel, but I was unsure about my schedule. I was working a lot the weeks leading up to the trip, and wasn't even sure that I wanted to go.

But the best adventures are always unexpected, and so I packed up my backpack, grabbed my hiking boots and got on an airplane.

After the long day at Schiphol, it was finally time to go to Israel. I got on a KLM flight bound for Tel Aviv and settled in for the five hour hop, the buzz of Dutch and Hebrew-speaking passengers lulling me to sleep.

I awoke to singing. A tour group of some fifty middle-aged ladies were passing around snacks and wishing each other a Happy Shabbat evening. Their enthusiasm and joy was contagious. Shabbat Shalom, I nodded to them as we landed. Everyone clapped and cheered.

I landed in Tel Aviv in the middle of the night. Warm, tropical breezes escorted me out of the airport and towards ground transportation. I easily found a sherut stand and loaded myself into the shared taxi, bound for Jerusalem.

An hour later, the sherut was whisking me through dark streets and curvy highways towards Jerusalem. I was afraid to blink my tired eyes; I didn't want to miss a thing. Before I knew it, I had arrived at Abraham Hostel in the center of the city.

Warm colors and a smiling woman at the front desk greeted me. She handed me my room key and explained that breakfast would be served in just a few hours. I nodded, surprised that it was now six in the morning. She pointed at the board and asked if I would be joining in the tour of the West Bank at eight am.

My brain calculated my lack of sleep multiplied by the long journey and I paused, unsure.

But then I looked out the window at an ancient city just beginning to wake up. I noted an Orthodox Jewish man hurrying somewhere, his long curls flowing in the early morning breeze. A street vendor setting up a stand. The sun just beginning to show its light.

I am here. And I want to see everything.

Yes, I answered. I'll be there.

Stay tuned for Part Two 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


Popular Posts