This time will be different

Written by on May 21, 2014 in 30 Life Crisis, Blog, Israel, Middle East - 4 Comments

“This time Israel will be different.” I tell everyone who will listen to me, not really for them, but to remind myself how much I have changed.

“This time, I’m going for different reasons.”

“This time, I won’t be miserable. I won’t cry into my too expensive glass of wine each night, wishing away my time here. I won’t sit on the beach and close my eyes and feel like I am sinking, sinking, sinking into the soft sand. I won’t wander the holiest city in the world and only see it in one dimension. This time …”

A sidewalk in Tel Aviv

It’s been eight months. That’s it. Eight months since I last landed in Israel. Eight months since I last wandered Ben Yehuda in Tel Aviv, hopped on a motorbike and checked out the flourishing street art scene in Tel Aviv. Got so drunk, I cried myself to sleep. For three nights.

Traveling solo isn’t supposed to be one dimensional. It isn’t supposed to be going through the motions. It is supposed to be — at least for me — about waking up. Seeing life. Feeling alive, alive, alive. And yet, there I was, in Tel Aviv, feeling as bad as I have felt in a long, long time.


Because Life. Yup. I call Life. See, I went to Israel last time for the wrong reasons. I didn’t go because I wanted to see, I wanted to eat (although, the idea of sinking my teeth into juicy figs, plunking soft bits of challah into my mouth and stuffing as much falafel into pita as I could did keep repeating in my mind). I went because I was silly. Because my heart — which trumped my mind — whispered just the right sweet words into my ear, even though my mind said “nonononono.” I went because of someone. And, if there is one thing I have learned from traveling solo, never go because of someone. Go because of me. Go because I want to go. I want to see. I want to be.

I executed my own cardinal sin of travel.

Ben Yehuda in Tel Aviv

And, to make matters worse, the headspace, the mindfuck, I was giving myself about every facet of my life while in Israel was just about the worst thing in the world I could do. It clouded everything. The beautiful moments (and I promise, there were some, because it is traveling, and traveling is the thing I love most in the world) were dulled.

I pushed myself. I let myself sink deeper and deeper into my sadness. Into my absolute confusion of what I was doing with my life. Where I wanted to be. Who I wanted to be. I was a mess. I was depressed for a multitude of reasons.

Another shot from Tel Aviv

So, for almost a week, I zombied my way through one of my most favorite countries in the world. I’d visited Israel 11 years earlier and fell in love with it. I found myself identifying so much with the culture, with the place … the country reached its desert-interior, history, Mediterranean coast, deep, deep, deep into my heart. But this trip? There was nothing. Just me. Hating myself. Hating the position I put myself in.

Even before the trip, I found myself sitting with my friend, telling her I didn’t think I should go. I should cancel. I should just go back to America early and spend time with my family. I knew going to Israel was going to hurt me, was going to wake me up, and the thing was, I was already awake. I knew what my life was at that point, I had realized. But, like a car wreck, you drive by and you slow down. Only, I was that car wreck. And I didn’t know how to exit the wreck gracefully.

So, I went.

Enter today.

Today, I’m heading back to Israel. Back to Tel Aviv. Back to the scene of my crimes. When I booked this ticket, I got wary looks, frank comments about my decision to return.

The Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv

“It isn’t a good idea,” I was warned. “Remember last time?” “How are things going to be different this time?”

I didn’t get defensive. I didn’t get anything, because I knew. I knew what I was doing. I was going to create different memories in a place which deserved far better than I gave it. Like my later trip to Paris (’cause I absolutely hated Paris the first time I went). Tel Aviv deserved a second shot, and Israel as a whole deserved a third … because I’m not the same person I was eight months ago. I am good. My head is in the best place it has ever been. feel good.

This time, I go for me. I go to erase (well, replace) the last moments I had in a country I love with happy times. With smiles. With fresh eyes, a fresh mind and a content heart.

So yes, this time will be different.

This post is part of  the D Travels Europe series. Stay up-to-date on all of my European adventures by following along on Twitter (#dtravelseurope), Instagram,TroverG+ and Facebook. And, for a look at the health and wellness side of European travel, be sure to follow along at The Comfort Zone Project and on TCZP’s Facebook.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is an avid traveler who recently spent four years living as an expat. Most notably, Diana spent nearly three years in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she worked with Save Elephant Foundation to raise awareness about the realities of elephant tourism. Currently based in Las Vegas, Diana works in many industries as a publicist, social media expert, content creator and journalist. The co-founder of the Responsible Travel & Tourism Collective, Diana has spoken at conferences about travel blogging and responsible tourism.

4 Comments on " This time will be different "

  1. Giselle and Cody May 21, 2014 at 9:24 am · Reply

    You’re so lovely and insightful Diana. We had a great time with you on your third time to Israel. We hope we helped in making it a happier visit for you.

  2. Diana May 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm · Reply

    Wait until the next post about Israel! <3 I LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH. This trip to Israel was PERFECT.

  3. Alouise May 21, 2014 at 2:26 pm · Reply

    Beautiful post. I’m sure Israel will be different (better) this time because you’ve grown as a person – you have the self-awareness to know why your last trip didn’t work and now you can go to Israel with a new mindset and appreciation.

    • Diana May 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm · Reply

      Israel was WONDERFUL this time. Absolutely amazing. Probably one of the best travel moments in my life, thanks to being surrounded by people I love with all of my heart. Post coming.

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