Israel and Jordan – the great return

Although it will not be my first visit to these two countries, it will surely be the most important trip of the year. A trip that I’ve been waiting for 13 years.

In 2001 my Dad went to Israel as a soldier to the Golan Heights for a year. In July 2002, we visited him with my Mom and Sister. For a month we’ve been travelling together around Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

I was 14 years old and this was my second trip abroad and already for such a long time.

That time I fell in love with Israel and Jordan. Also I got the travel bug – it was hard not to got it when you could see so many places at once, felt a bit of the Orient.

I remember how much I liked Jerusalem, the view of the city from the Mount of Olives, the chaotic stalls at the market, the sand-coloured Via Dolorosa.

I also remember other places and various things from Israel. When we always looked at the Mount Hermon, the clouds above it never flew over our side – they were coming from the side of Lebanon and evolved over the top.

I remember how fresh and green was the Banias waterfall. I remember floating on the Dead Sea and itchy skin after leaving it. I remember the amazing ruins of Caesarea, all the places associated with Jesus, large fish swimming in the river Jordan and baptize, that at that time took part there (more than a dozen men in white dresses dipped in water), I remember the taste of falafel from a street stall.

I remember when we were interviewed at the airport (me and my Mum at once, because I was her interpreter): why we were  coming for so long, and whether we had contact to my Dad. I remember that we could not swim in the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv, just because many jellyfish were in the area we could not enter the water (we tried – something crammed us in our legs and after that we had bubbles on our skin). I remember that during visiting one of the churches some guy pulled me out of there (I was standing at the door), he started kissing my hand and propose that he will be our guide. Thunders from my Mother’s eyes saved me, as she decided to follow me to the rescue. <3

From Jordan I remember that Amman was incredibly hot, great ruins in Jerash, a wonderful red rock city of Petra, and that because of the heat my Sister didn’t want to walk up, so she rode on a donkey, and we watched in horror as the animal stepped its little hooves on the edge of the stairs, just next to an abyss. My Sister later mentioned that sometimes she closed her eyes. 😉

I Remember all those moments and more, I kept the memories of Israel and Jordan and nursed them in me like the dearest treasure. And I always wanted to go back there.

from my family’s archive

And when I write these words I have such an amazing feeling inside that tomorrow my dream will come true. After 13 years of waiting I will finally stand on Israeli soil once again.

I wondered for a moment whether it won’t be a sentimental journey? Don’t I expect from Israel and Jordan a repeat of what once lived?

When something has a sentimental value for us, we often wish to try it again. And when we are about to try it, we hold it in our hands, we see it and taste it after so many years and… often it’s dissapointing. It’s not that!

Because our brain works so that it wraps our positive memories in the thin layer of sweetness. Everything what was positive in our childhood, will always be good and it will be good to think about it. A layer of sweetness with time will become thicker.

Our brain colours our memories.

Therefore, when after years we have a chance to take those items of sentimental value in our hands again, usually the feeling associated with them disappears. And they are so … NORMAL.

I wonder if my memories about Israel and Jordan are not just wrapped with that layer of sweetness. A bit? Or much, but I can not tell yet?

I hope that when I get out from the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv immense happiness will fill me that I came back, that I am back in my beloved corner of the world.

And maybe it will not happen? Maybe it will be quite normal? Maybe… maybe I will say that I don’t the Middle East in general?!

I do not want to treat this trip as a sentimental journey. I do not want to think that the same things as before will meet me.

Ok, I go back, but I want to treat this return as a completely new adventure. I will visit a lot of places which I have seen already, but also those which I haven’t. I will do things they I’ve never done before, because of my age during the previous trip.

And most importantly – I will get to know the country as myself, not with my Parents as bodyguards who care about the safety of their daughter.

I think that it was too long ago to treat this trip as a “reminder”, and besides, I had a completely different way of perceiving the world when I was 14 years old, and today, when I’m 27. Then I just watched and today I’m looking for answers to specific questions related to a region or traveling.

How it is for a woman to travel around the Middle East? How to reduce costs of so long (after all I’m going there for two months) trip to the rather expensive country? What places are worth seeing, how to prepare to the trip? Etc.

I will have enough time to learn more about Israel and Jordan from a practical view, but also substantive.

What is the plan of the trip?

At the beginning we will spend two weeks in Nazareth exploring the north of Israel – the Galilee and the Golan Heights. Then we’ll go to Jordan for about 10-day tour. Later we will return to Israel, exactly to Jerusalem, the Negev Desert and to Tel Aviv.

And boom!, five weeks will pass, Sebastian will go home, I’ll stay. I will go again to the north of Israel, then for few days go back to Jordan, and the last two weeks I’ll spend on the coast near Tel Aviv.

I have for a great sentiment for those countries, but this trip will be quite different. It will be mine. Kind of old, but still new, because rediscovered. Full of new experiences and impressions.

Israel and Jordan, here I come! 😀

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One comment

  1. Great places. I wish I could’ve visited Israel but didn’t get a chance to do visa during a tight time. But I did go to Jordan and it was an incredible experience, especially jeeping through Wadi Rum, hiking the mountainous Petra (definitely more than just ruins there) and canyoning at Wadi Mujib. Would love to return again!

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