07 May 2012

Travel-Inspired Series {Part 7}: Catherine from FEST

I'm thrilled to have Catherine from Fest here today to wrap up my travel-inspired guest series.  Catherine and I initially connected over our love for travel and through this discovered that we both share a huge passion for the Middle East.  Once I found out that she had studied abroad in Israel {which is definitely on my top 10 list of places that I need to visit before I die} I knew that she had to share her experience as part of the guest series.

Today she is doing just that and is talking about her thoughts on spending a semester in Jerusalem.

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Hello Home Away From Home Readers! I'm Catherine and I blog over at FEST. Jenna and I share a passion for travel (as I'm sure do many of you) so I'm thrilled to be guest posting today. While I don't currently live overseas, I aim to live my life adventurously and seek out the new and different in everyday life. 


In 2008, I had the opportunity to spend 4 months living in Jerusalem. It was one of the greatest times of my life and taught me so much about political realities and the importance of optimism. For those less familiar with the cultural climate of Jerusalem, there is a lot of tension between Palestinians and Israelis there. Walking around Jerusalem everyday, it was easy to get annoyed with the security issues. 99% of the time, I felt safe, but there were definitely streets where I trained my eyes not to make eye contact with anyone (especially men) for fear of sending a misunderstood message. Especially while traveling, this apprehensive behavior was out of character for me. Nature's instinct is to observe absolutely everything and take it all in.


Thankfully though, the saving aspect of this unfortunate situation was the kids. I think with travel anywhere (especially as a woman) you need to be careful about the vibes you put out to strangers, but kids are always safe to look at. There is no threat involved and mostly kids are just as curious in looking at you as you are at them. Kids have no preconceived judgements about Americans. No locked up role for women. No longterm grudges. I was so grateful for the kids in Jerusalem. In a big way, kids are the small light of hope to a difficult situation--hope which is very much needed. 


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Thanks so much for sharing Catherine! 

When I was in the Middle East I also found the children to be the most friendly and welcoming.  They were always curious, more than willing to smile for the camera, and seemed innocent of all the political trauma and cultural differences.

Find her blog here.

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I'll be back to normal posting on Wednesday!

It's been a great, albeit extremely busy couple of weeks and I can't wait to share lots of photos and stories!

10 comments:

  1. wow-such a different place to live..i think

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  2. What a fabulous post about a place I really want to visit. Big fan of FEST!

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  3. Thanks for having me, Jenna! Hope you're having an amazing trip!

    XOXO,
    Catherine

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  4. Oh my gosh, I love this post. I miss Jerusalem terribly. For all the issues in the region, Israel is somewhere that I truly feel is 'home'.

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  5. WOW I love reading about travel! So inspiring and that way I can live vicariously!!! New follower! xoxo A-

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  6. Great feature! I'm going to head over to her blog asap.

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  7. Glad I came across your blog - I love all things travel. I recently posted some stories about my trip to Rome, with many more stories to come. I was also in London for four days and can't wait to write about that too!

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  8. Amazing. That first pic is beyond cool..

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  9. What an amazing place to live!! Those pictures are awesome. I want to travel!

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  10. Interesting post! I'd love to visit Jerusalem sometime, love the photos too!

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Thanks for commenting! I love reading each and every one of them :)