Our blogger Rebecca Levin writes from A Wider Bridge’s 2014 Israel Mission. Day 1: 3 Airports, 4 Languages, And 36 Hours Later…
I am not a good flyer. That, virtually all of my travel companions can attest to. With the back problems of an eighty year old and the hearing of a wolf, I can’t sleep anywhere that doesn’t exactly match what one would think of with the word “bed.”
Needless to say, when I arrived at Tel Aviv airport at 2:30am the morning of our first day, I was not a happy camper. I was sleep deprived, hungry, dehydrated, dirty, and feeling harassed after a particularly subpar experience with a certain Dutch airline. I had been up for well over 24 hours and still had about 12 more hours to go until our group arrived at the airport. I also had zero patience and the attention span of a walnut.
But before I go on kvetching about my flying experiences, I should probably say that despite all that and my chronic resting bitch face (RBF), today was one of the best experiences in Israel I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I did love my Birthright trip. However, I felt like I wasn’t on the same wavelength with a lot of the members.
Take, for example, Matt. Another long distance voyager, Matt arrived bright and early at the airport and accompanied my waiting at about 6am. In the six or so hours we spent alone together, Matt and I bonded over our love for the literary and for travel (oh, and the harassing experiences we endured while taking several flights to Israel). In just those few hours, I felt a more genuine connection than I had felt with anyone else on my Birthright trip.
Of course, today wasn’t just spent in the airport. After the rest of our group arrived, we headed north to a Bedouin camp. We rode camels, ate a fantastic dinner, had delicious tea and coffee, and connected with our intentions for the trip on a night walk in the desert. There, I began feeling a connection I had thought was long since lost. I began to regain my spirituality.
The hospitality of the Bedouins, along with the kinship I felt with all the people on the trip and the connection I made in nature, set the mood for a relaxing and enjoyable evening. You probably couldn’t tell that from my RBF, but you can’t win them all.