The countdown is on for our yearly summer trip. Every summer we try to spend a few weeks in Israel, as long as possible really :)
My husband and I started our married life in Jerusalem and feel a very strong connection to Israel. Most of our family lives there but I also really value the way of life there, the fact that the popular culture there is Jewish, the beauty of the country, the spirituality, I could go on and on. Our older two were born in Jerusalem and it was a very difficult decision to move back to the States almost four years ago. There are so many things I miss about it.
That is why it is so important for us to go back there whenever we can. It is definitely not cheap but that month can sustain me for the rest of the year so it is worth it.
The only problem is that in order to get there, we have to get on a plane, with 3 children and a ton of suitcases, strollers and carseats. And then entertain those children for 10-11 hours. And deal with the jet-lag when we get there. This year we are actually traveling on my birthday, this coming Wednesday. On the one hand it's a great gift to go to Israel for your birthday. On the other hand, traveling is not exactly conducive to a relaxing, fun day.
People sometimes ask us how we do it, how we travel with our crew. My answer is always that it it is hard, but it is totally worth the effort. After all, even the worst flight from hell ends eventually and then we get to spend 4 weeks in a place we love, spending time with people we love and don't see enough.
Of course it is easier to stay home but it is also really boring! That doesn't mean I take traveling lightly. I try to be over-prepared. I make sure to stack up on food, snacks, toys and books. I charge the DVD player and bring along our whole collection (don't get me started on children and DVD/TV. That is a post for another time). This usually works reasonably well, although at some point we will have exhausted all our play options and the kids will get antsy. And there will still be five hours left to the flight. And I will probably not get any sleep. But that's okay. This too shall pass is my mantra, that I repeat over and over again.
Just to be clear, I am not saying this is easy at all or that I stay cool and relaxed throughout our trip. Things like being late, delays or long lines really stress me out. Just ask my husband who has to deal with me when I get all tense and crazy :) But I still think it is worth it. I would not give this opportunity up for the world.
I have started making lists but have not packed or bought a single thing yet. I have a long way to go till we're ready. But I know we will get there. And I'm sure I will have some crazy story to share with you when we do.