Tag Archives: travel

Israel On My Own

Visiting Israel has long been a desire of my husband’s. I never put much thought into it. I didn’t need to. He thought about it, talked about it, and devoured books about the region. I just always had in the back of my mind that I would get there someday, because I’d be holding his hand when he finally arrived on Israeli soil. It didn’t exactly happen the way I expected.

One year ago today, my husband put me on a plane to Tel Aviv without him. His hand didn’t make it to Israeli soil for me to be holding. I squawked a little before leaving about how it wasn’t fair that I was going while he stayed home. I complained that my expectation to have his vast wealth of knowledge whispered in my ear at each new encounter was not being met. I wanted to wait till he had vacation and freedom to travel with me. But he wanted me to go – his parents were going and I wouldn’t be alone. He didn’t know when it would be possible again. He would have come in a heartbeat had he been able. So in the end, I went with eager anticipation and without my husband.

Friends encouraged me to blog about my adventures, posting pictures as I went. I answered with cautious optimism about my ability to do so and good intentions to please. I failed, miserably. I blogged nothing while away. My excuse was the triple-wammy of too many sites, too little internet service, and an over-saturated mind. An information overload that needed processing, and lots of it, judging by the length of time it’s taken me to get to this point. Here, on the one year anniversary of my departure from home, I am finally sharing bits of my excursion through Israel and Jordan.

Stay tuned for the next twelve days or so to walk with me through this terrific journey. Israel on my own, but not alone.


©Erika Rice

Pack Light

I’m standing here buying toothpaste, mouthwash, and pocket journals. There’s a suitcase lying open at home on my bedroom floor.  My packing instructions say, “Pack Light. Do not take more than you’ll for-sure, no-doubt-about-it-need! […] Lay out all the clothes you think you will need on a bed, then pack half of those and put the other half back in your closet.” I’m not even sure where to begin with what I need.  How can I put the other half back? I have an electrical adaptor set out. My waterproof Israel North and Jerusalem map is beside it. Soon I will choose my shoes. I thought I would pack one good pair of walking shoes, ignoring the directions to put half of what I think I need back in the closet when it comes to shoes. But then I read to pack two pairs, twice what I think I’ll need. It’s all a bit complicated.

Which is why I’m standing in a Walmart pharmacy aisle buying mini-size essentials. It just seems safe. Especially now that I’m confronted with a variety of travel-sized containers. I like options! I reach for the larger tube of toothpaste. I’ll be gone for two weeks, after all. Ooh…and I can even buy twice as much mouthwash for the same price. I’ll be sure to have enough! Then “pack half of what you think you need and put the other half back” flashes through my mind. To be clear, that directive was related to clothing. The instructions told me to be sure to pack enough of my regularly used medicine-cabinet items for the whole trip. So I add the larger travel-sized bottle of each of my toiletries to the cart. But I don’t stop thinking – thinking about how my freezer never gets below half-full, and my closet seems a little smaller every year, and my pantry too often holds an expired box or two of something; thinking about the sentence in the travel hints that says, “If you just think, ‘Oh, I might, somewhere or sometime need this’…you won’t, so don’t pack it.”

No one wants to run out of essentials in a foreign land. Discerning what is essential is the sometimes tricky part. It’s good to take stock of what I need and make sure I have enough. But as a stranger and pilgrim in this land, with my eyes on a Heavenly city, I can’t afford extremes. Everything I pack is my responsibility, my load to carry. I don’t want to be weighed down with more than I need. I tend to pack with reserves, prepared for every scenario. How wise and full of foresight I think I am to bring a little more than I know I need to be sure I always have enough. But I have a sneaking suspicion that more often than not I need to put the other half back, and trust the One who supplies all my needs according to His riches in glory. Pack Light.


©Erika Rice 2014