Hey guys, checking in again. This weekend we traveled to the south of Israel to go on a hiking trip. Now, hiking and outdoorsy things in general are not really on my list of activities I enjoy, but based on the simple economic laws of supply and demand I decided why not sign up; when will I ever really have the chance again to go hiking in the desert of Israel with a huge group of friends?
I forgot that I live in a country of soldiers and so hiking to an Israeli and hiking to an American are two very different ideas. I’m thinking we’ll walk along the sand, maybe see a couple camels or what not, but I was a little mistaken. Let me just say, I enjoyed the trip. I’m proud I did it and at no point was I miserable; having said that, mentally, I was not prepared for what I was about to endure. We were brought to the Negev, a sandless part of the Sahara dotted with rock and rubble that is basically Mars on Earth. It was actually quite beautiful, I thought Tyra Banks would have loved the location for an America’s Next Top Model shoot.
Anyway, in this red hell of rock and clay there were large cliffs and steep mountains, canyons and craters, but then there was the mountain we climbed; this huge monstrosity of dirt and loose rock. At first I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke when they said we were going to climb it, but no, we were actually going to climb it. I have never gone hiking before so you can imagine the thought we’d be scaling a mountain never even crossed my mind, to think that hiking and mountain climbing would be confused for the same thing, even across languages, is shocking. Nevertheless, up the mountain we went, and I must say it wasn’t so bad. I’m not afraid of heights, had there been railings or handles or even mountain gear for us to use maybe it would not have been so terrifying. Yet, despite all this, I can say I climbed up and down a mountain, well more climbed up and slid down on my butt, but still I did it and it’s something I will never forget. There is also something strangely powerful about knowing you are constantly one slip away from death but still surviving the climb. Some people cried, others had mental breakdowns, and we all called our parents to say we’re still alive, but still we all got through it together and I’m sure were stronger people because of it.
Days later I’m still sore and I never experienced vertigo before this weekend, but hey that’s what study abroad is all about, new experiences. I listened to The Climb by Miley Cyrus after finishing the “hike” and I got to say it was quite an emotional experience; the song means that much more to me now haha. That said I probably won’t ever go hiking again, it was more of a once was enough don’t press your luck type experience, but I do feel like if I can free climb a mountain then I can can handle much more than I give myself credit for. Midterms at Northwestern will be a piece of cake from now on.
We also floated in the Dead sea which was really cool, but you know, Mr. I Don’t Go On Public Transportation climbed a mountain so I think that stole the show. Also, I can’t really claim that title anymore since I’ve been taking the buses here and they are not so bad. Israel just had their elections this week so for those of you who don’t know, Bibi Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, was reelected so that’s been fun to talk to people about. There are some mixed reactions but overall I’d say the people I’ve talked to are happy about it. Alright, hope you enjoyed this episode of Dimi in Israel, can’t wait to see you guys next time!