Tuesday, June 27, 2006

prepare for take off

I love travelling.
Whatever stage I am at in my life - whether I’m working, in school, or in transition between the two - the one thing summer always awakens in me is the urge to travel. I haven’t travelled much, but I have been fortunate enough to visit some amazing places. Those places I haven’t travelled to yet, I try to experience vicariously through books and movies.
India, Ireland, Tibet, Japan, and even the United States are all places I dream of one day visiting. These stories whet my appetite and keep the longing alive until I have the opportunity to experience them personally.

The place I’ve travelled to the most is Israel. This often comes as a surprise to Israelis - that we foreigners consider this small country an unlimited source of travelling wonder - but Israel has been for me a place to find myself, my roots, my history and most important the path to my future. What travellers realize is that it's often not the place one travels to, but the experience of travelling itself that changes a person. Foreign lands, exotic cultures and unusual and mysterious traditions capture my heart and imagination all year long, but in the summer it's the idea of travel itself that lures me.
Getting on a train, watching the trees and towns whiz by, like skimming through a book, the pages of those lives flipping by.
Travelling by plane and watching the urban jungles shrink away as you soar through the skies.
Disconnecting from your belongings and reconnecting to your senses.
Loosening the ties that bind you and stabilize you and exchanging them for the freedom and uncertainty to jump into the unknown.
Leaving behind schemas and heuristics and replacing them with wide eyed discoveries.
Finding the freedom that comes from leaving behind the person you are, and are expected to be, and for a short time, reinventing yourself into who you yearn to be.

One of the most amazing things I've noticed when travelling is the long lasting impact it has on people. I am one of many Americans who found their way back to Judaism by travelling, and more specifically visiting Israel. The amazing thing however is that I met countless Israelis who also found their way back to Judaism, by travelling outside of Israel.
It seems that leaving your comfort zone, your safety net, offers you the chance to re-evaluate and reconsider your life choices in a way that is extremely difficult to do when you are entrenched in your every day life. Traveling, to me, is about discovering the wonders of the world, but even more amazingly, it’s about discovering yourself.

Someone recently told me that he didnt feel any desire to travel, he can't see the appeal in finding out how others across the globe live or in discovering foreign cultures. I had always taken it for granted that everyone shared this yearning and was really surprised by his disconnection from the rest of the world. My vision of the world seems so drastically different than his in that sense. There isn’t a corner of the earth that I don’t wish I could see, touch, experience or that I don’t want to connect to.
Can you imagine living in a home and never visiting or using the rooms on the second floor? Feeling so detached, like a stranger, in parts of your own house? The idea is so foreign to me. I told him I’d send him some pictures of places I’d been to try and awaken this desire in him but instead I decided to post them here and share them with the rest of you.

I took these pictures in Asia. I only spent a few weeks there, but I dream of returning one day. Being in such a far away place, in such a drastically different setting really emphasized in me the smallness of the universe. We take ourselves so seriously; we see ourselves and our culture and society so ethnocentrically, completely oblivious to the life going on outside of our direct experience. But the amazing thing is that once you get out there, you realize that despite the very radical differences, the human factor remains a constant. I also cant help but appreciate G-d’s wonders when I travel. Just like I realize that G-d created me, travelling reminds me that every bush and hill, every creature, every human was created just like I was. Who am I to dismiss these as irrelevant, if G-d Himself took the time to create all this beauty?


At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 1:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome Post and Blog.
I've spent years traveling.
I love your pictures. Gotta go to Asia one of these days.

At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 2:40:00 PM, Blogger A Chasidic Buchar said...

It's amazing

At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 2:51:00 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I love to travel. Always wanted to go cross country and all over Europe and on cruises. Cool pics.

At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:10:00 PM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

This post talk to Me...
Traveling is in my bones..and I sometimes feel like a caged lion...pacing..waiting for the next opportunity.
Theres this magic...in being rooted..in a sense of place..a cnew culture...sights..scents..sounds..
Nice pictures...

At Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your blog renews my faith in the internet.

At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:59:00 AM, Blogger Dot Co Dot Il said...

Great post but then again you that's all you ever do :)

At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:43:00 AM, Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

Wow, very well written.

At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:08:00 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

anonymous :
yes you do! and if you need a traveling partner.. or some tips, feel free to ask :)

a chasidic buchar:
thanks, its amazing what’s out there..

socialworker/frustrated mom:
I never understood the appeal in cruises..but if the opportunity ever came up.. I wouldn’t say no :)

I totally relate to the caged lion feeling, a few times a year it just overwhelms me and I feel like I just need to run run run run

you renew my faith in people’s potential and curiosity and growth .. uh that’s if you are who I think you are :)
if not..
thanks for the amazing comment!

dot co cot il :

thanks, I didn’t think anyone would even notice the writing after seeing the pictures!

At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:36:00 AM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Omg cruises seem amazing didn't you ever watch the Love Boat. How could you not want a cruise after that show. Just look at commercials it looks so attractive e/t on a boat really cool. Can't describe the desire but I just really would love it.

At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:18:00 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

Amazing photos!!!!
But you've never been to London?
I insist you come and stay with us in the uk- its a great way to break up the trip to Israel (and then you can take photos of me and Asparagus sleeping with all our jewlery lifting up our necks!)

I'm serious about the invite-
I have a fabulous guestroom!

At Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:40:00 PM, Blogger Genendy said...

Fabulous post and I loooove the pics!

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 4:44:00 AM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

Cool pictures but I share your friend’s opinion, I don't have the travel bug at all.
Chinese people, Africans, Americans, Mexicans etc...I can all find them 10 minutes by car (If I wished to.)
It's clear though that you don't travel solely as some mad tourist, you make traveling a spiritual occasion.

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 7:36:00 AM, Blogger the only way i know said...

Mookie -

it's exactly what i love about travelling - more than seeing new places - it's reconnecting to myself in a different way...
it's so adventurous and wonderful - there is nothing familiar in new places - but you find a way to connect to these new experiences and then you discover another side of yourself... it's exhilarating..
i love the way you ended your post - about not being indifferent to all that G-d created -
thanks - it was stunning.
also - i didn't realize you were not FFB - so interesting to know you really journeyed...
and yet - even as an FFB- i still journey..

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 7:40:00 AM, Blogger the only way i know said...

btw -
just read the other comments -
Prag was funny! lol
would love to see you in london - kasamba's guest room sounds amazing - i'll visit you!!!

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 7:43:00 AM, Blogger Also A Chussid said...

I love traveling as well, but I hate to prepare for it. The best traveling experiences I had in the past were the ones I didn’t prepare at all, the ones I simply decided on the spur of the moment to pick myself up and leave.

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 9:45:00 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

socialworker/frustrated mom:
well if you feel that passionate about cruising, you should definitely go for it :)

actually I have been to London (just for a couple of days) and the thing that sticks out in my mind the most was the wall to wall carpeting in the bathroom.. whats THAT about?! :)
well thanks for the invite.. and I might take you on it one of these days!

thanks! I feel like the pictures barely do what i saw justice.. its really amazing out there!

oh ive travelled as a mad tourist, ive slept in dumps, ate tuna for days and days.. sometimes I dream of a beach vacation, where you jut sit there and toast..
but youre right, I do try to take time and just live in the moment, its so easy to get carried away in the crazyeness..
as for having all those people 10 minutes away.. you have any of those long necked thai women? :)

the only way i know:
one of the most amazing things I did was spend Shabbos at a chabad house in Thailand - to see HUNDREDS of jews (mostly secular) all singing and eating together, in such a foreign place, and talking about how their traveling has made them feel and the realizations they’ve made..it was mind blowing - a Shabbos ill never forget!

also a chussid:
im not into high maintenance planning ahead (usually just for the first night or two.. and then take it from there) but some preparation goes a long way in calming the stress :)
sometimes though I wish I could just get in the car and drive off.. and get what I need as I go.. still haven’t done that .. hopefully I will!

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:08:00 AM, Blogger the only way i know said...

you got me laughing hard with the bathroom carpeting thing!! - it was SO one of the first things that i noticed too!!! lololol

we did shabbos in a chabad house in venice - also beautiful - but thialand is certainly more exotic!

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Sorlil said...

wow great pictures and interesting what you say about travelling to Israel, I can never get enough of travelling - too many places too little money!

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 12:32:00 PM, Anonymous Joe in NY said...

if you really do enjoy
"Disconnecting from your belongings"
all that proves is that you need to get better belongings

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

Great pics! Travelling is awesome! You havent been to the USA???

At Thursday, June 29, 2006 4:34:00 PM, Blogger jim said...

Longest post ever, 1000 words to get thru the gate, then some amazing verbage, super writing, then 12,000 words that are unforgettable in print, let alone, I am sure, in person. A pic is worth a 1000 words, you outdid yourself. Thanks for the experience.

At Friday, June 30, 2006 2:51:00 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

I hope you do take me up on it!

At Saturday, July 01, 2006 4:42:00 AM, Blogger ~ Sarah ~ said...

great post, looks like an awesome trip :)

At Sunday, July 02, 2006 12:27:00 AM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I would if I had the money!

At Thursday, July 06, 2006 1:55:00 AM, Blogger frozenminds said...

Welcome to India! my add:tappinfrozenmind@puneblog.com, can contact me anytime u want for more insights of my country.

At Thursday, July 06, 2006 8:44:00 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

the only way I know:
Ive heard of Shabbat in venice, its supposed to be amazing too.. definitely on my list!

tell me about it, sometimes I think the only way g-d can keep me in one place is by making me broke :)

joe in ny:
i’m not sure that’s true, but I’m always the open minded one, how about you provide the new belongings, and ill test out your theory..

lakewood venter:
of course ive been to the usa! But I wanna do the big cross country road trip, with stops at the dingy diners for apple pie a la mode (what are the chances ill find a kosher diner in alabama?)

thanks, you always have such nice things to say :) I definitely feel like I revisit those places when I look at those pictures, it’s just so vivid and impressive..

yup.. I can just imagine the pictures you’d come back with!

thanks for coming by and for your offer.. you have a guest room? :)


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