As you’ve all read so far, leaving your home, your family, and your friends to live in another country is insanely difficult, specifically emotionally. I went through that process in 2013, and I’m taking a week off of regular blog posts because I’m doing it for the second time in just one year.
Last July, I packed up my things in Haifa and left, not knowing if I would ever move back to Israel. Things were pretty bleak, and I am so grateful for all of the people that supported me in that decision and that process. I came to live with my family here in the States for an indeterminate amount of time. It’s been a wild ride, but, ten months later, I’m getting on a plane once again, ready for a fresh start—a second chance.
A Difficult Decision
It hasn’t been easy realizing that I want to go back. I had no career, no motivation for an education, and was simply struggling to survive. I was robbed, causing me to lose almost all of my hard-earned money that had been allocated for a trip to the U.S. My amazing community in Haifa and my friends around the country got together to help me out to get through two very difficult months. I had a one-way ticket to the U.S. already. If I hadn’t, I would have been completely screwed, for lack of a better term. When I moved out of my apartment a week early for my own safety, my landlord gave me a refund on that last week of rent so I “[wouldn’t] leave with a bad taste in [my] mouth.” She wanted to make sure I didn’t forget why I came here, and why this country is so special.
Even with all this generosity and emotional support, I wasn’t sure if I could make it in Israel if I came back. About forty percent of people who immigrate to Israel consider going back to their origin country, according to this article. There are mixed emotions about those that actually do leave, leading many to do so quietly with a “never look back” mentality. Most of the immigrants I know that have left have done so within five years of being in the country. I was just a few months shy of my fifth-year anniversary, and the odds were against me. A lot of my friends, even if they didn’t verbalize it, didn’t believe I would ever come back. I simply didn’t know one way or another.
Family Time, All the Time
I spent the last ten months with my family, with my time split evenly between Nashville, Tennessee and San Antonio, Texas. While based out of Nashville, I received the gift of travel to see extended family on my mother’s side in the Pacific Northwest, and had the chance to see my grandmother on a regular basis before her passing in November. In San Antonio, I’ve been able to get to know my paternal family in a way I never had before. I’ve reconnected with old friends and had the pleasure of creating new friendships, too. I had the opportunity to really sit down and figure out what I want to do, and how to transform those dreams into reality. It has been a long, incredible, sometimes difficult journey, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
While I start this new adventure, the focus of this blog will shift slightly. I will still have a thread of personal anecdotes, but it won’t necessarily be in chronological order. The focus will be more on you, the reader! This website isn’t for me, after all. I’ll be writing more posts that are informational, that are inspiring to you and your travel dreams. The concept of Travel With Shirit is about accessibility, and I’m going to be individualizing the site based on your feedback. It’s time to buckle down and talk about what we really came here for: an international, connected community with as many different ways to approach travel as there are members.
I am so excited to see what the future holds for us!
During the break, stay connected to Travel With Shirit by following along on Instagram and Facebook for live videos and real-time story updates during this unique six-day adventure from Texas to Tel Aviv.