It’s the People We Meet Who Make Life Unforgettable

Today has been a formative day of a life-changing week.

I’m in Tel Aviv, Israel, and after my first four nights, I can honestly say this is my top two or three favorite cities in the world.

Tel Aviv’s heart is beautiful. The colors of life are vivid here, those that are seen and those that are felt — the blue sky and green-blue sea; the ancient, sand and stone colored buildings; the vibrant orange, red and purple flowers which line the roads and hang above the alleyways.

But it’s the people; it’s always the people you remember when traveling, for people instill a place with life, with character, with color.

While traveling, if you don’t put in the effort to meet people, you won’t meet people. Simple as that.

People vary from city to city, country to country. But we’re all just human underneath our differences, and I believe we’re here to connect.

The people in Tel Aviv, I’ve found, are open, warm and welcoming if you put in the effort and just say waddup.

Last night was an all night city wide party in Tel Aviv that’s been off the table for the last few years due to Covid.

You could probably imagine the scene was poppin. After the all-night shenanigans, this fella had the brilliant idea to jump in the sea by myself as the sun came up.

There I am, swimming through the glassy, warm water, gazing upon the ancient neighborhood of Jaffa in the distance, cloaked in a mystical grey and purple sky. It was astounding.

These past three months of traveling have essentially gone on without a hitch; there’s been a few knocks to my intelligence and pride here and there, but no season-enders.

I return to the shore, the sky is light, groups are frolicking and mingling; life is good. Life is fucking grand.

Until I realize both my wallet and phone are missing from my pants which I naively left on the beach…

I returned to my hostel demoralized, wet, and just slightly embarrassed to tell the receptionist what happened.

So here’s the lesson. Here’s why it pays to be a kind and open soul. If I didn’t offer a drink to a stranger at the bar a few nights ago, I would have never met him and his buddies from Tel Aviv.

I wouldn’t have gone out with them the last couple of nights and shared some of the best meals of my life. They honestly feel like long-time friends already, and they’ve graciously welcomed me into their group.

They’ve made this trip unforgettable, and today when I told them of my mistake, my friend who grew up here took me around Tel Aviv to different police stations trying to make an insurance claim; basically a hot and discouraging experience, yet he was lifting my spirits however he could throughout it all.

He was doing all he could to help, giving up his day to ride the buses and walk in the downtown heat with me.

He’s giving me some cash to live on while I figure out my credit card. Basically, I’d be lost without him. He’s a good fucking human, and I’m so incredibly lucky to have met him and his friends.

It’s the people. It’s always the people that make an experience, that make a trip, that make life unforgettable.

We can be that person.

We can be that friend who goes out of their way to help, even if it’s just a stranger. Perhaps, especially if it is.

So I won’t have a phone for my final week in Israel. Something tells me this happened for a reason. I admit I’ve been spending a lot of time showing that I’m traveling on Instagram.

What would this all be like without that possibility? Without a phone to take pictures of every meal, every night out, every eye-catching flower?

I’m about to find out. I’m grateful for these formative life lessons: don’t leave your shit on the beach when swimming out to sea at sunrise, you fool!

Be a friend.

Always look at the bright side of life, because there is always a bright side if we’re open to it. If it weren’t for my friend I’d probably be in my hostel room, hibernating and slowly sinking into oblivion.

But I’m not gonna waste my precious time in this gorgeous country sulking over spilled milk. I’m gonna live, and learn, and cherish every moment.

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