Amsterdam–Berlin/Brück

Amsterdam to Berlin

The day had been a long one. Almost 10 hours hitching from Amsterdam to Brück

“The end of the journey is not quite in sight. We are sitting in a bar that has Native American/old time-y American theme. Flags, posters are reminiscent of the American west and American flags, bows and arrows, and cowboy paraphernalia. Interspersed with all of this are lacy window hangings and Waldorf-like dioramas on the windowsills. Nothing like stepping into a bar and seeing little statues of lambs and other animals nestled in evergreen branches. Another giveaway that this bar is not some place in the US, at least in this time period, is the indoor smoking and bright lights. The live music band is doing a decent job, though, reminiscent of a coffee house and small music gatherings I have been to in the states, covering classic rock to bluegrassy tunes. Despite all the fascinating décor, the pub not all that comfortable. Maybe it is the diner-like plastic wood grain tables, maybe the bright lights and white walls. Perhaps it is because I am a stranger here in the middle of the night, sat down among people I do not know (and who are definitely several drinks into their evening). I know that smoking is bad for you, bad also for those who are taking in the second-hand smoke. However, the fact that everyone smokes inside here is oddly relaxing considering the situation.

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a side trip to germany

No longer are there cameras in every shop and on every store front. No longer are there soldiers, weapons strapped across there chest, standing at every other street corner. On crowded sidewalks there isn’t a fear of being run over by three children piled on electric bikes weaving drunken lines on the crowded walkways. On any given day it is no longer common to hear conversations in at least three different languages not my own. In line at the store, or waiting for a ticket I can now doze without the fear that someone will cut me in line. The sidewalks here, (Northern New England), have cracks like lightning bolts cut through the hilly concrete. There are no more long bus rides. The cold this winter is slow to arrive, nonetheless the feeling of the season makes reflecting all the easier.

brandenburg-tor

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how to travel alone

Look  for your courage,
take a tablespoon of this but not so heaping,
you don’t want it to cloud your common sense.
Take twice as much self-esteem
than you think you need.
Your self-esteem might be torn to tatters,
best to have a few extra just in case.
But in your hiking pack,
be sure to leave the biggest pocket empty
for your mind
that is open for each an every new experience;
you’ll need all the energy from this as you can get,
because nowhere else is like your own home,
and this is the beauty of travel!

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a break from farm life

A brief adventure away from Hava ve Adam became an adventure through some of the most beautiful landscapes between Jerusalem and Eilat. I found myself in a crew guiding around 160 bikers on this journey. Though not a very quick trip, time moved so differently than time on the farm. Working with the Arava Institute again also brought up many good memories.

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Journal: and then the rains came

10/7
Today the rains came. Or, I suppose it would be more correct to day, in the very early hours of the morning, the rains came. I now live in a yurt with two other people. We were very thankful for the tarp we took the time to fling over our skylight window. There is nothing like people under 5’5″ trying to get a piece of plastic over a steep roof 15’+ up. Others, we heard, were not so lucky and woke up to a 3am rainfall in the middle of their home. The yurt, like any other tent, makes the rain sound so much louder and more intense than it really is.  Even so, when I woke up at 3, 4 and 5am I didn’t feel any inclination to get out of my nice warm bed to check. This was the first night I felt cold at night. On the upside, there were no biting insects.

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Fiction: excerpt from an impromptu writing class

Note: This poem is result of a skill-share creative writing class. The prompt was “first day of school”. During the writing of this piece the facilitators would shout out words that we were to incorporate into our stories/poems.

Eyes shiny & bright,
full of energy
& highly caffeinated,
your mom has tears in her eyes,
you are the baby,
flying the nest,
even though this is your second year away.

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a change in direction (a slight look back to the start of august)

Hostels are the best. Not only are they cheaper than hotels (usually), they also turn up in places that no developer would dare build a hotel without a turn over of the neighborhood. I am not trying to insinuate that this place was ugly or rundown (ok, maybe a bit rundown), but it is located next to a long strip of car garages. There was broken auto glass on the ground but this didn’t stop people from walking barefoot though.

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trusting strangers

I really enjoy travelling because I get the opportunity to walk outside my comfort zone. Opportunity, perhaps, is not the right word. I am dumped out of my comfort zone surrounded with life boats that don’t always speak English and I don’t always know how to utilize. But it works out, I learn to adapt and the greatest thing, I have to talk and put my trust in strangers. I learn to find those kind and helpful beings who take a moment out of their lives to help a traveler. I am forever thankful. As a child I don’t think I was ever told never to talk to strangers but somewhere along the line there was instilled in me this fear of doing so. Perhaps it came from reading so many books, or maybe movies. Half of the time “stranger danger” as portrayed in these types of media are a joke, I wonder how often this then translates into a subconscious fear. At home you are in familiar territory and you can rely completely on yourself. That is not as easy to do abroad. Travelling reminds you how to ask for help.

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Fiction: this is magic

 

Sometimes you have to make your own magic. Like when you find that perfect pomegranate and instead of squirreling it away you share it with the people around you. That look of simple satisfaction as they eat the purplish-red seeds, the quick pop and burst of flavor in their mouths and then the expression of satisfaction; this is magic. It is not the only kind.

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Western Wall

When you are sitting on a bed, propping your tablet on your knee, and hoping beyond hope that your Bluetooth keyboard won’t suddenly stop working, it is hard to think of deep-felt meaningful experiences. But as it is, this is where I am and what I have to work with.

I wish I could write about visiting the Western Wall while I was there, however, I feel as if I would receive many glares for working on a computer. I would do so if I did not fear someone may berate me because I love to sit and watch the world go by while I write, it makes the process so much smoother.

This was my second time at the Western Wall. I think I may have written briefly of my last experience there but for those who haven’t read it or I haven’t told you the tale I will briefly recap. It was right before Passover during spring 2014 when I found myself in front of this wall. I had heard of the Wailing Wall before but I had never really given it a thought; to me it was just some wall. As I approached this first time I had the sense that, to all these people visiting this ancient bit of wall hidden amongst the curves of this old and crooked part of the city,  it held a profound sense of both sadness and exultation. Unprepared for this type of energy I felt too dazed to really take in the full effect of what was going on here. It wasn’t until the urging of a friend that I wrote a letter and steeled myself to walk to the wall. Not a moment after I found a safe corner to tuck the piece of paper into and I laid my hand on these rocks that so many hands had worn smooth, an elderly lady in a wheelchair, thinning hair covered by a kerchief, elbowed me hard in the ribs as she wailed something unintelligible and moved herself into the spot I had previously occupied.
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