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?