I hope you can tell that I adore my traveling life. It is a life that I came to late. My family, like many others of my generation, was one that stayed close to home out of necessity…money was not, as the saying goes, “growing on trees.” During World War II, my father and all of my uncles did tours overseas and came home with stories of exotic places to which, sadly, they never returned. My mother never went any further from her New Jersey home than a visit to Cleveland, Ohio. Managing life, money and two kids after my dad’s early death consumed all her energy. As for me, high school, college, marriage and two children of my own quickly ate up the years and the resources. Three short and fast junkets (one to Mexico, one to Jamaica, one to St. John’s) peppered 45 married years, and so, when I retired, traveling was at the top of my list of things to do.
Here’s what I think. In order to travel, three things are necessary…(1) Decent health and mobility, (2) Resources and (3) Time. All three don’t often align at once, but when they do, traveling options open wide up. Still the question always running around in my head is…Why do I travel? When I got to Israel, the following answers came to mind.
While any destination can offer visitors sunny day options, traveling in Israel gave me the opportunity to discover what tourists and locals do on cold, soggy afternoons. This is the MahaneYehuda Market…sometimes called the “Shuk.” It is a partially covered, partially uncovered market. Spending a damp afternoon here can turn disappointment into delight. Travel to discover your stormy weather frame of mind.
Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Visitors to the museum are asked to fully focus on the excellent exhibits and their own personal reactions to them. This means no photos in order to give the victims of these horrible crimes your total attention and respect. But, photos can be taken of the inspirational grounds. Travel to grow close to the historical narrative of a people.
Cooking and food are powerful. I feasted in Israel….proper baked eggs in tomato sauce with fresh bread and briny olives made lunch just right.
Roasted vegetables made a hit-the-spot dinner.
Ice cream…..mousse…OKAY. Travel to know the power of a place with your stomach.
See all that you can see…like the Dome of the Rock…and
the site of the tomb of Jesus…
Go ten kilometers from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus…Travel to get close to revered places.
Know the deserted streets of an observed Sabbath in Jerusalem, and perhaps add your
prayer to the millions of prayers left at the Wailing Wall. Travel to learn about the grace and beauty of another faith.
Get up close and personal to places you may have learned about in Sunday School and church like these Stations of the Cross, and perhaps,
stop to light a candle. Travel to grow closer to your own faith.
Meet people. Yup, travel far away from home to make friends with folks from your very own neck of the woods.
In crowded areas like restaurants, attractions, hotel lobbies, rest rooms and gift shops, DON’T PUSH. Travel gives you the opportunity to be the very best version of yourself ever. Show the world what great people United States citizens really are.
And, when it is time to go home, cry a little at the airport because traveling has afforded you some wonderful experiences and because that same traveling has helped you affirm that you have a wonderful home to return to.
Well, here’s the end of this grand adventure. My thanks to all of you for junketing with me. Knowing you are along means so much. As always, gratitude goes to my Traveling Companion who helps make memories that are not easily forgotten. Thanks, Bruce.
There are many reasons to travel, but by far the most important one is that travel lets me discover over and over again that we are all more alike than we are different….even when it comes to confronting a dreaded virus. In fact, my overwhelming concern over the pandemic and the state of the world got in the way of writing this blog. Still, I am looking forward to the countries of world flinging open their doors to me again. When those doors open, let’s go!