• Jodi Samuels

The Things I Love About Travel



The more I travel, the more I want to travel. In fact I am passionate about travel and I am always scheming or planning my next trip. I now have a spread sheet tracking how many countries I have been to as it just became too hard after 60 to keep counting.


We travel budget style there is no luxury and lots of hard work. Add traveling kosher where we schlep all our food and Pesach schlepping is a real challenge. We spend many, many hours in the car and we have even taken overnight public busses in Turkey. As one of my friends said to me, “Sounds like torture not travel!”


For my whole family this is actually pleasure. We delight in these travels and specifically, the challenges of kosher budget travel. Below are some reasons why – like a beautiful rose there are thorns too…


Staying in local places rather than fancy hotels, allows us to meet real people and have authentic experiences. Some places are really scary but most are clean and a few are gems

I love seeing people’s shock at how much we schlep and this year with Pesach a few people have been unable to hide their shock. After all I am still a Jewish Princess, and it’s Pesach

We love checking out Jewish communities around the world and learning their fascinating history. Thanks to Chabad we have experienced Shabbat, Succoth and Pesach in many off the beaten track cities from Shanghai to Nova Scotia; Bangkok to Jackson, Wyoming


  • When you plan your itinerary on the run you have many adventures. Many test your flexibility and some delight. Yesterday we put in a destination in Greece on Waze. While the GPS says turn left or right in English the rest is written in Bulgarian. Hence our surprise when a sign said “Macedonia border crossing – 1km”. Often these detours allow us to experience new things and mostly enjoy the spontaneity

  • I love making an unplanned stops and discovering a quaint villages where locals are filling there bottles with local wine

  • I love walking around a local neighborhood and seeing how locals live. Stopping in a mini market and seeing how people shop and what they eat. A visit to a park tells you so much about a society

  • We have become experts on local beer our pleasure we indulge in instead of food and wine.

  • Meeting Israelis is always an experience. They are everywhere and when they realize we are Jewish they have to engage us in conversation. Of course they are surprised to know we live in Israel and then they need to know everything about us and I mean EVERYTHING

  • Gavin and I love seeing how adaptable our kids are. Every second Pesach we are in South Africa and indulged with great food. The next year when traveling our meals are more like an episode in survival yet the kids handle it with great spirit. Likewise when an unforeseen detour (“Macedonia 1km”) adds 4 hours travel time they just go with the flow. Flexibility is a great life skill

  • One of my personal favorites is the amazing conversations we have with the kids about religions, poverty, lifestyle, economics and other topics that most young kids don’t engage in. With the help of Google, travel guides and real life experiences my kids gain so much knowledge each trip. For Caily the constant input is amazing

It’s hard to eat tuna and crackers (or matza) that cost more than local food. It’s hard to sometimes use less than stellar squat toilets and carrying bags up four flights of stairs is no fun. But we always have the best war stories to entertain our Shabbat guests. I know my kids love the experience too. Meron’s goal was to see 30 countries by his Barmitzvah and now Temira is aiming for the same by next June for her Batmitzvah!


To end with the quote that was on the wall outside my hotel door in Greece:

Originally published: April 7, 2015

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