Visiting Israel

After not visiting Israel for 3 years, it was time to travel back to my childhood country, this time for longer than usual.

It wasn’t too hard to get used to my new “tourist” status. My parents live in Zichron Yaakov, a peaceful town on the slopes of a small, green mountain, located close to the beach, which by itself creates a vacation feel. Just minutes away from my parents’ house, there is a stretch of isolated beaches. Paradise is the only word that enters my mind when I think about it – white soft sandy beaches combining calm, beautiful sea and warm water that is so clear you can see your feet…

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My first three weeks here were full of family, and seeing my parents again brought a constant grin from ear to ear on a daily basis. We spent a whole week in Eilat on the north shore of the Red Sea, enjoying some quality time that we all desperately needed. It was a great opportunity to tell them again, face to face, what a privilege it is to be their son and also a wonderful opportunity for my 4-year-old nephew to truly meet his “Australian uncle” and to infuse all of us with his boundless energy (having kids will definitely be a challenge).

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My parents and I kept traveling the country so that I could properly visit the rest of my extended family. We have a pretty big family spread across the country, so even a month-long stay seemed not long enough to meet them all, but I’m quite happy with what we achieved. Everyone had so much love to offer even though I hadn’t seen most of them for more than 5 years.

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I experienced the same feeling with each friend I met. Most of my friends are now married with kids, and although our lives have taken different directions, friendships have remained strong, and in all cases, it felt like I had never left. Simply a great feeling!

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After being spoiled by family for so long, it was time to balance it with a couple of weeks in the most vibrant city of Israel, Tel-Aviv. Besides the wonderful beach, Tel-Aviv’s nightlife is simply unrivalled, a city that literally does not go to sleep. I rented a great apartment close to the beach from a guy whose family had gone on summer vacation in Europe, and from the first moment that I walked Tel-Aviv’s narrow streets again, I felt its colorful vibes flowing through my veins. The crowd there is diverse, a fun-loving mix of people that hardly think about tomorrow. Even during weekdays at 3am, bars are still packed and traffic doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. A true Mediterranean atmosphere!

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To escape a bit from the urban lifestyle, I traveled to the northern part of Israel, an area which is supposed to be the lush green oasis of the country, with forests and streams. However, a very dry, brownish landscape awaited us. The view, though, was still spectacular, with beautiful mountains and the Galilee Lake at a distance. There is something truly magical about the landscape of this country, and I had almost forgotten how beautiful Israel is…

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A good friend of mine had recently asked me if I felt that Israel is my real home, or if maybe it’s Australia now. If I had been asked this question a few years ago, when I finished my studies in Melbourne, I would definitely have answered Israel. The feeling now has changed, and I quite honestly feel that I have two homes, like having two best friends. Right now, my first home Israel is a perfect vacation spot and my second home Australia is a perfect living spot. Life is good.

All love, Tal

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