I like to be prepared when I go on a trip. Traveling is like art: the more you know about the masterpiece of a foreign culture, the more you enjoy it. But no amount of preparation can assure things will go as planned. Some days simply don’t turn out as expected. Our Sunday was one of those days.
There we are. Somewhere in the middle of the desert in Palestinian territory, with a car that doesn’t start anymore, phones that don’t seem to work and no people anywhere. I’m starting to get worried. We try to stay calm and bring out the only tool we have: we pray. We try to start the car again… Vroom, vroom! It’s the glorious sound of a roaring motor.
We drive to the parking lot of Ein Gedi, but there the car stops working again. At least we now have bathrooms, drinking water and a phone here. Good thing, because we ended up having to wait there for 4,5 hours (!!!). No problem, you’d say, with a famous nature reserve and beautiful beach nearby. Unfortunately, these were both closed due that afternoon to flooding danger.
Our day goes from ‘beach, hike and camel ride’ to the exciting wonders of a parking lot. We’re given the gift of time. So we walk around and enjoy the view. We sit in the sun and write in our travel journal. We eat a Magnum. We feed birds and watch mountain goats jump on a car to get to the fresh leaves. In the small grocery store, we meet a family that shows us what Israeli hospitality looks like. They let us use their phone to call the rental company and they even speak to them in Hebrew to convince them that they really, really should be on their way by now.
I wish I could say that I laughed about it, because ‘if it’s funny later, it’s funny now’. I manage to stay positive for the first few hours, but when I hear that the road assistence isn’t even anywhere close to us, 2,5 hours after our emergency call, I get very frustrated. I was so pissed that Avis Rental Cars ruined our day and so disappointed that we now missed the plans I had so looked forward to.
I remind myself of a phrase I heard on the day we arrived in Israel. A middle-aged American in our taxi didn’t have enough cash with him, so he had made us (and our very angry taxi driver) wait for a while. When he had finally paid, he turned around and shouted into the van: “Sorry for the wait guys! But you know, it’s all part of the adventure!”. Little did he know that he just introduced us to the slogan of our trip.
Traveling is an adventure, I have always known that. My dad is a camping-to-the-core traveler, and has made our family to be one as well. That kid who learns how to make fire and figure out which berries in the forest are edible? Yup, that was me. Following this tradition, we also did this trip in backpack-style, a.k.a. camping in the city. This always includes things not quite turning out as expected. This often also means adjusting to a lack of luxury or comfort. We must laugh about it and find a way to make it work.
Noisy hostel? It’s okay, we can sleep again tomorrow.
No more gas for the stove? Let’s use the toaster oven.
No heating in this Airbnb? I’ll wrap myself in blankets and sit in front of the foot heater.
The road ahead is flooded? It’s okay, our detour shows us areas of Israel we otherwise would have missed.
A cut bleeds so badly that it leaves red splatters all over the wall? It’s okay, we have a bread knife to cut the bandaid and some tissues to tape around it.
Disgusting shower? It’s okay, there’s a sink.
It’s the glamorous life of a traveler. You gotta love it.
– This post is part of the DDIsrael16-series, with travel stories and pictures of my daddy-daughter trip to Israel. You can find all other posts here, you can find some other pictures on Instagram.
If you’re back on the blog tomorrow, you can read about moments of breathtaking beauty at Masada and the St. George monastery.–