Armchair tourists are the people that travel the world with their senses, with their minds. In some ways, we are all armchair tourists. We experience it when watch certain TV shows or movies, surfing the web, attending local international festivals, or even enjoying take-out. Armchair tourism brings us joy in our daily lives.
Moving to a new country changes your life.
Even if you stay for six months, and then turn around or move on because it wasn’t what you expected, you won’t be the same person as who you were when you arrived.
But the hardest time to leave is when you are still in the honeymoon phase, the process of falling in love with this new place, and external factors are in play.
There is a discrepancy between the places we visit and the places we live. When you visit Israel as a tourist, you will want to eat hummus and falafel, and drink Goldstar beer, no doubt. But the day-to-day life as an expat brings a realization of how similar we all are. In daily life in Israel, we drink Danish beer and eat pizza.
Finally, I said my last good-byes and line up to go through security. The weather was not looking good for flying, and I was nervous there would be issues with my flight being delayed. As it was, I was late getting to security, and the line was horrendously long. Thunder crashed outside. I wondered what await me across the ocean.
When Jewish kids make Aliyah, things feel so intense, urgent, wonderful, and real. When you arrive in Israel, you have that shiny new ID in your hand. People are singing and dancing in the airport. The young beach-goers in Tel Aviv are ridiculously attractive. Everyone you meet wants to know what your plans are to serve your new country.
Before we dive in, I cannot stress enough how amazing the employees at outdoor/camping gear stores are. I always have a million questions and want to learn about new technologies and products, and these people have gone above and beyond every 👏 single 👏 time 👏 Gear sales people are the MVP’s when you’re planning a trip.
I had always been told that Israel was the safe space for Jews, that Israel was perfect. That I should be scared of Arabs and not believe the lies anyone else might try to tell me. I had a few friends in high school with whom I debated the Israel topic, including a Muslim friend who confided that she didn’t believe everything her uncle was telling her. No one ever truly contested what I had been taught about Israel.
Then, of course, I went to college.