Israel: A promising start to the Middle East

I snapped off another piece of chocolate from the large Milka bar wrapped in gold foil. The energy I garnished from lunch, a flaffel pita with all the fixings, was slowly fading. It’s four twenty in the afternoon, I’ve barely moved since I sat down three hours ago. I am now two-hundred and eight pages into the 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris. Not bad considering I was just past the intro after stuffing my face with the vegetable and hummus filled feast. Friday evening marks the beginning of Shabbat here in Israel. Shabbat is the day of rest for those biblically inclined, for those who aren't; it’s the day religious people claim that Jesus rested after 6 days of creating the world. What does it mean for us? Well, malls close, phones turn off, and family and friends gather for dinner all over Israel. Last week, we celebrated shabbat with my friend Matan and his family in Jerusalem. Tonight, we are making our own. 

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Jazmin and I have been galavanting in Israel for the past 11 days and we are on the verge of heading to Eilat (the south) in order to cross the border into Jordan. Since arrival we’ve explored the streets of Tel Aviv and the old city of Jaffa. We’ve navigated the intertwining alleyways of Jerusalem, hiked to natural springs, crossed suspension bridges, floated in the dead sea and even climbed the hill to Masada at Sunrise. In that time we have managed to only pay for accommodation once. I introduced Jazmin to her first couch surfing experience and she told me her life story on our deserted drive to the Mitzpe Ramon crater. No lie, it’s been nice to have someone to talk to and share the experience with. The next few months will surely be a learning curve for both of us, but as it stands we are up for the challenge. 

The snake path to the Masada plateau

The snake path to the Masada plateau

Mitspe Ramon Crater

Mitspe Ramon Crater

Change is only constant for us. Everyday we witness a new cultural norm that is completely different from ours. Different languages, laws, cuisine, and experiences. No right hand turns on red. Dinner is 8 pm or later. Mandatory military service for men and women. Smaller cars due to high gas prices. Muslim calls to prayer. Shabbat. Traveling is fueling our education and further broadening our horizons. The ‘middle east’ is something that generally incites fear (thanks media outlets), but our experience has been smiles all the way. Oh, minus the driving. Israeli road rage puts the US to shame. If you hesitate for .001 seconds you get honked at. Shit, even if you use your turn indicator and slow down to park someone is bound to honk at you, or just stand on their horn for the sake of anger management. Will be happy to be done driving here. All things different, Israel has been amazing. The food is great, the people are friendly (unless you're driving), and the historical sites are plenty. 

Tel Aviv turnpike

Tel Aviv turnpike

Dead Sea

Dead Sea

This brings me back to page 208. I’ve been on the road now for 15 months and finally stumbled across the 4 Hour Work Week at our host’s house. It’s a bible for re-structuring your life so that you can work less and make more. Reading it will not make you rich, but it definitely gives you insight to a lifestyle you never thought possible. If I have ever preached de-cluttering your life via living out of a backpack, this book tells you how to re-evaluate what is possible. I would highly suggest buying this book in print, which you can do HERE. Why print? This book is full of useful websites, advice and insight that could easily get lost in an audio translation. Not only that, its worth re-reading multiple times. I actually put the book down in order to grab my computer and take some notes and automate some tasks I never thought about doing, and ended up writing this post. Now that I’ve got the important things out of the way, I’m going to grab another piece of chocolate, a cup of coffee, a page of notes and finish this book before we start cooking. 

the 8 hour work week...

the 8 hour work week...

I’ll leave you with a two question summary of Pareto’s Law that I think everyone should explore:

  1. Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?
  2. Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?

Shabbat Shalom from Israel!

Stay Wild,

-Joe