Many people I know who have visited Israel are more than happy to express their love and connection to the land. Whether it Jewish, Islam, Christian, the conflicted country is the homeland for many around the world.
I signed up for a ten-day program in Israel, which I have to be honest, left me with high anxiety levels to say the least. A drastic change from my usual excitement I have for travel. It was a tour to see the historical, religious and cultural aspects of the country.
The clincher for me what the fact I was in deed traveling to the Middle East. An area of the world portrayed in the media as a battle ground rich with struggle and tension. As much as I tried to be open and inhabited, deep down there was a slight, I mean considerate, feeling of worry.
I wondered how people live their day-to-day lives.
Do they only travel in bulletproof cars?
Avoid all public transport?
Live in fear daily?
I really didn’t know what to expect.
And although many people I know frequent Israel, I still imagined a very primitive land. Boy was I was put in my place the second I landed
Israel, a country responsible for one of the most efficient military forces, advanced technologies and cutting-edge medical breakthroughs, is far from primitive
The most important aspect of this trip was to clarify for myself the turmoil Israel experiences and how they manage it on a day-to-day basis
The most poignant thing that stood out to me was the patriotism that runs through their veins. It’s not even something I can explain by example, but rather a feeling you experience, something you hear on the streets or something you see on their face. Whatever it is, it is very clear that Israel is very special to many people irrespective of religion.
They live day-to-day. The Israelis know what they risk by living in Israel, but want they gain far outweighs the trouble. Living in fear is not a question.
What is danger? Crossing the road, earthquakes, Tsunamis and crime levels are dangerous and yet we still go. I visited one of the most ‘dangerous’ countries in the world and felt safer than I have in some other places.
Herstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.
Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.