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Pack like a pro: Tips for traveling light (and an Israel report preview!)

Whewwwwww!

Hello!

Home at last, home last last, thank God AlMighty, I’m home at last.

I’ll absolutely share more about my Israel trip soon, but for now, a little ode to this nation of mine:

Now, please note this is not a political statement — I’m not commenting on the politics of Israel, whatsoever. But I will say that there were elements of daily life there that made me thrilled to return to America this morning.

Israel is a place of strong personalities and flavors (making my goal of a food tour even the more fascinating). Israelis love to argue, and they have thousands of years of history to back up just about everything –making dinner conversations lively and fascinating, but also at times tense and confusing. It’s also a peculiar place. A place where you can walk through a tightly crowded market and feel absolutely secure no one will steal your bag but yet require six levels of security getting into or out of their airspace.

It’s a dangerous world, and a part of the world that is often more dangerous than others. It’s a nation at war, pretty much always — in fact, things escalated pretty rapidly over the course of my trip. And yet you feel bizarrely safe in the streets.

And your hair is happy in Israel. Because while the desert may not be the friend of many, it is the friend of hair. Or at least my hair, which is all that matters. (8 days on a single hair wash. Pretend to be grossed out if you wish, but I know you are just jealous.)

It’s too much to talk about right now – My 12-hour flight home landed just a few hours ago,

Jerusalem may bring history to life, but Tel Aviv is the life of the party -- meet my new friends! (2 are currently serving in the Israeli army!) — at Lima Lima, Tel Aviv.

and I’m still exhausted. I didn’t sleep at all on the flight — had the fine luck of being sat next to a rather portly man who didn’t fit in his own seat and spilled into mine, coupled by the need to speak to me at regular intervals. While this was going on, the a-hole in front of me had reclined his seat ALL THE WAY BACK and splayed his legs in the aisle. I’m glad someone got a good night’s sleep.

The trip this week was a draining one — an exciting one, too — over 8 days, we visited 6 different regions. That meant a lot of packing, re-packing, and attempting to be concise with my clothes and yet have what I need — days took me from hilly hikes to walking tours of ancient religious relics (shoulders covered and skirts a must), to Tel Aviv nightlife, to dinner at some of Israel’s most celebrated spots to tastings and interviews with the owners of local vineyards.

Christians believe Jesus gave this exact spot as his end-time prophecy, Jews believe this is the spot the messiah will appear when he arrives. However, here I am! Not a messiah. Just here. — ‎at ‎הר הזיתים / Mount of Olives‎.‎

So, did I pack like a pro? I’m not so sure I did. In fact, my bag got heavier and heavier over the progression of the week (does dirty laundry weigh more than clean clothes? I honestly don’t know!) and by today, I was no longer carrying it down stairs, but dragging it.

Or maybe it was my body’s fatigue, a result of endless walking and extensive palate lethargy? My palate was as overworked as my toes, having experienced some amazing firsts this week — Shakshuka at the hands of Dr. Shakshuka himself, endless Market visits for fresh hummus, and so much more. It’s a spicy nation, indeed, but that spice – and that flavor of passion  - is often found in their food.

I can blame it on my weary body, but I think my bag was just overstuffed. Perhaps, this time, unavoidably.

I realized  I needed to go back to the basics and get some pro tips — I have another trip the day after tomorrow (a shorter, more local one, gratefully), and then another long one next week. This time I will be prepared – check out today’s piece for CompletelyYou.com on tips for traveling (and packing!) light!

(Oh, and before I leave you, some teaser pix from this week in Israel. Obviously way more to come — but who is with me that that Israeli soldier could really use some smile tips?! He’s too cute to be so dour! Obviously he’d be the one I go for.)

 



1 Comment

  1. Nancy Reid
    05.7.2013

    Aly, Welcome home! Glad you had a nice trip! I only have one question. How do you always get the chance to have your pic taken with a handsome young soldier? Thanks for your prayer! It is appreciated! xox

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