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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

Oh the Places You’ll Go

I have travelled far and wide.

Often with my family by my side.

I have slept in hammocks and a hard bed.

I have slept in tents and a bed with a crucifix above my head.

I have slept in the back seat of a car and budget airlines traveling very far.

I have tried to sleep on a beach, with music blaring all night at a screech.

I have slept in a park where I was fearful of the dark.

I have slept in overnight coaches and a train station waiting room full of roaches.

I have slept sweaty and sandy with no shower. I have stayed in places with no power or buckets for a shower.

I have peed in the sea, and visited holes that substitute for toilet bowls.

Tuna, peanut butter and crackers, are the kosher substitute for Mackers.

Lots of fun in the sun but food has been none.

Oh The Places You’ll Go, with the Samuels family you just don’t know!

Many people ask us why we travel so much and to such off the beaten track places. We love travel, we love adventure but it’s not always easy. On one trip I was sending whatsapp messages to our family group showing beautiful photos and exotic places. I realized just like Facebook photos can be deceiving. Our family was seeing the highlights of what was a tough trip – many hours of uncomfortable travel, no-one speaking a word of English and horrible budget accommodation. I think the moment that nearly pushed us over the edge was after a long journey and boat ride we arrived at our Rancherio – small shack and the bathroom was full of garbage and the toilet had the previous travelers doody floating in it!!! Or was it the mosquitos that seemed to really enjoy the bug spray as a starter before proceeding to enjoy us!!!!

So why are we compelled to leave Israel on Pesach and live on tuna and matzah? Why do we go on 7 hour bumpy car rides? Or risk getting caught in exotic jewel scams in Bangkok? Or thrown out of a pension for being Jewish on Shabbat in Greece? Or held up in Costa Rica, abandoned in Jordan, flipped car in Peru, mugged in a park in Italy? Or spend 16 hours stuck on the side of road in Ecuador, charmed by a mystery man in Malaysia, sleeping with bed bugs in Ireland. Or mugged in Amsterdam and Madrid, or ripped off in Bali? All these are true stories and subject of another blog. So people ask why – what’s the attraction?

It’s all about the adventure, the unknown and the promise of tomorrow. There is something about spontaneous outcomes and finding beautiful untouched places. It’s about beautiful sunsets, clear starry nights, exotic beaches, incredible views, wildlife sightings and unfamiliar people. It’s about stumbling on unique cultural moments like a wedding in an Indian village, a funeral procession in Indonesia or induction of an African chief. It’s about interesting people and unique friendships.

Mostly is about the shared family experience and the bonding. Or the fact that we have the coolest Shabbat table stories. Most importantly it may just be so our kids can say they have the coolest parents in the world!

Originally published: August 31, 2016


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