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A trail marker

A Snippet from ITT

Written by Rachel Austin, 2015 Middle East: Behind the Headlines

“Life’s a bitch, but she’ll love you if you let her.”
– Graffiti on Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv, Israel

I listen. Waves hit the coast on my right. Music from the bustling city fills the air on my left. Our feet on the sand create the rhythmic pace we march to. Together, MacKenzie and I are navigating this beautiful maze some call the Israel National Trail… and after hiking a few hours we are somewhere between Netanya and Tel Aviv. We have all of our luggage on our backs. Our clothes are dripping of sweat. Our shoes are filling with sand. I’m exhausted.

As the sun begins to sweat, I look back on our day. It was hot. We took an unexpected detour due to the trail markers being inconsistent with the trail book. My bag was heavy. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Israel has been like that though. It’s hot. Nothing is ever straightforward. Things will take longer than necessary. There’s never a consistent narrative. What you experience here is heavy. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

The sandy beach became our bed that night – the Mediterranean Sea our realtime lullaby. My heart is filled with gratitude. For the people I have met and the community I am a part I now. For the opportunity to be here… Specifically on this beach, but on a larger scale in this complex, challenging, and captivating country. And for the memories that go with me as I set out to continue my journey.

what are you waiting for?