Friday, March 20, 2015

Israel: Top 13 Photos

Being the good tourist I am, I took 5 million pictures of everything from cereal boxes to the Western Wall. So, I shall pick out on the best and most intriguing of my photos to share with you (these don’t  include Jerusalem marathon photos. For those, go to my race report HERE).

1. Putting my hand on the spot where Jesus put his hand almost 2,000 years ago (station #5 on the Via Dolorosa). Acquiring (in one second) the germs of 9 million people from around the world.


2. Leaving a wish in the Wailing/Western Wall. Better than a birthday cake and candles. What did I wish for? A better butt, of course.


3. Hello. I am a tourist.


4. I was intrigued by the “security fence/wall” that separates the country (mostly the West Bank is cut off) into two pieces (422 miles total – some fence, some wall). 13 years old, this wall costs about 260 million per year in maintenance alone. There are conflicting views about this wall. In 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered it as a measure to protect Israelis from Palestinian suicide bombers. Israeli sources say it has stopped terrorism by 96%. (if you look closely at this picture in the top left, you can see the wall).


5. Rubbing Dead Sea mud on my body and those bodies of my counterparts, who are all really out of shape. #dontmindrubbingotherpeoplesbodies


Patrice, Dax, Teresa, Adam, me

6. Getting the best lamb schwarma in the universe from this over-enthused and bad ass young man.


7. My skinny-ass floating in the Dead Sea. You really float. Like, with no doggy paddling or anything. It is crazy.


8. Drinking on the tour bus. What? When you have a DD (designated driver) you need to embrace it


9. Finding canine love in Tel Aviv. Trying to make my Heidi back home jealous so she misses me more.


10. Eating my face off at every.single.meal. This might help with #2 (not #2 as in “poop” but #2 picture in this list).


11. Catching air on the coast of the Mediterranean in Tel Aviv/Jaffa. This only took 49 tries.


12. Taking a trip to the local grocery store and being mesmerized that they have Trix (I thought they were just for kids, but they are for Israelis too!):


13. Viewing the vastness of the Dead Sea and the Judean desert from the infamous Masada.


I could go on for days about this trip, and I have.

I don’t quite know how to encapsulate it all or how to adequately express the experience. Suffice it to say that Israel now has a piece of my heart and I have a true fondness for the country and its people. I felt brave leaving my cozy and safe home and venturing to this unknown place alone. What I quickly realized is that I was never alone. I made life long friends and was embraced by the people of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I always felt welcome and I always felt safe (even often surrounded by groups of security men/women with machine guns).

The world feels a bit smaller to me now. An Instagram picture immediately travels 7,000 miles and is “liked” or viewed by friends within seconds. A Face-Time call to my family in the middle of the night Israeli time puts me at my spot at the dinner table with my family. A sleepless night spent on an airplane over the Atlantic has me waking up in a different world, but with people who are just people like me, one way or another.

Well, since I don’t sit still for long, today Ken and I leave for Moab, Utah for the Canyonlands Half Marathon, which is tomorrow.

Food for thought:

Would you rather travel the world for free your entire life (flights, hotels) or have $200,000 added to your bank account right now?


For more fun and updates, follow me on Instagram HERE.


  1. Hmmm, that depends. Could I bring people with me? I think I would take the $200,000 and then go a few places I really wanted to see with my fiance or some of my girlfriends. I really need to start traveling more!!

  2. Travel free for life!!!!! $200,000 would disappear sooner than you think, seeing the world is priceless.

  3. Absolutely travel the world for free!! I am a nurse and I hear from patients ALL THE TIME about how they wish they traveled more (no matter how much they did travel, everyone wishes they did more. There is no "enough"). No one thinks they will get sick or disabled, or realizes how fast life goes by. I think it's totally amazing that you went to Jerusalem and embraced life and the marathon!! Something you'll never forget!

  4. As long as my husband was included, I would definitely pick traveling!

  5. Travel. $200 grand is gone like THAT.

    Love your photos. What a moving and emotional experience. I'm so glad you went, I'm so glad you believed the email (finally) and I'm so glad you had such an amazing time.

  6. adored following your journey and I love how much fun you had just soaking it all up!!

  7. What a gift this trip was for you. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  8. Travel, hands down!

    What an amazing trip of a lifetime you had. Israel is high on my list of places to go. I'm so happy you got to experience it like this.

  9. I love your pictures. What an experience!! I think I would choose to travel the world for free. :)

  10. $200,000 would really come in handy right now, but it would be gone so quickly. The memories you make travelling are priceless and last a lifetime! I would definitely pick travel.

  11. Travel! I would just use the money for boring things, like bills. That's not a life lived.
    Your adventure is so amazing. I've wanted to visit the Dead Sea since I was a kid. I can't imagine what it feels like to just float like that.

  12. Totally travel. So much beauty in this world to see.

    How on earth are your legs so fab! Majorly jealous. Mine are getting chunkier the more I run. So not fair.
    Good luck for run tomorrow.

  14. I'd for sure choose TRAVEL!

    Trix are for Israelis too!? That made me laugh out loud.

  15. Awesome pics! Such an amazing experience.

    I chose travel. Hands down. Over ANY amount of money. Money comes and buys things. Traveling & experiencing different cultures, different climates, learning different customs and traditions...those memories and experiences are priceless.

  16. Travel. Absolutely. I've loved your trip!

  17. isn't floating in the dead sea the craziest sensation?! i totally have the same mud picture :)

  18. Have fun in canyonlands! I have ran every race in Moab at least once. Your pictures brought memories back to my couple of trips to Isreal. It is a beautiful and thoughtful place.

  19. I'd travel…but since I am old, maybe the $ would be a better bet. Glad you had a great time and thanks for the photos!

  20. Travel! Geez, good luck on your half. How are the legs after your marathon?

  21. Travel!! Loved your adventure. Israel is on my list of must visits in this lifetime.

  22. Travel the world for free. I crave the adventure and history that other places have to offer.
    Your trip looks amazing.

  23. Oh I would definitely choose the travel. I never go's sad. Great pictures by the way.

  24. I'd chose the $200,000. I want to buy an old farmhouse on a large piece of property and fix it up and have my own senior dog rescue. I love caring for them, love those gray faces.

  25. Travel hands down! I would love to know if you had any its a small world conversations? Whenever I travel I seem to meet someone that has ties to my small State or incredibly small hometown.

  26. Travel if my husband was with me. I also would have no problem doing this on my own, but since I am married I would not want to leave him behind. I would love to experience the people, traditions and see the different countries and how they live. I have enjoyed traveling and only lack 7 more states in the US. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure and telling us about it. It sounds wonderful.

  27. Love your pictures! And you!!! And I would definitely choose travel over money. My wanderlust is in high gear now coming down off the trip to Israel. I've spent a ridiculous amount of time on Travelocity today looking for deals on places to go! xoxo

  28. TRAVEL!! The only reason I would take the $$ would be for my kids college, but they/we can figure that out.
    When I am old and senile I want all those travel memories deep in my head to remember on my own!

  29. Beautiful pictures. :)

    200,000. I love my home so I would miss it. And I could travel a lot of different places with 200,000!

  30. Looks likes a wonderful trip. So amazing things to see there.

  31. Wonderful trip! It is amazing how small the world has gotten.

  32. Who would have thought that blogging would have such awesome fringe benefits! Trip of a lifetime. Nice.

  33. Travel for SURE! Those photos are amazing, but that first one takes the cake... Amazing. Spiritual. Humbling.

    Thanks for sharing your trip!


  34. that Justin from American Idol and From Justin to Kelly on a Cocoa Puffs box...?!?!!!!

  35. Looks like an amazing trip, Beth, but I'd encourage you to learn more about the other side of the wall too. I'm know there are many good, kind people in Israel, but the treatment of Palestinians by the government has been appalling and, as friends of the Israel, we need to let them know that it's not okay.

  36. I love all of them, but the muddy Dead Sea photo is one of my favorites from the trip. It just captures that day so well! xo