How Moving Abroad Gave Me a Thirst for Life

October 17, 2014
culture, gp, israel, living abroad
How Moving Abroad Gave Me a Thirst for Life

Life is most meaningful in the moments when we are dislocated and disoriented from the experience of our every day lives. Moving to Tel Aviv, Israel from New Jersey, was precisely this amazing dislocating and disorienting experience for me. A country where things take forever, the market place may best be described as a zoo and everyone here treats each other as family.

Ten years ago I probably would have viewed Israelis as invasive and rude (as they often times are), but having jumped in and joined their culture and life, I know they are, as they are often described, like sabras (cacti). Tough or prickly on the outside, but truly warm and sweet on the inside.

It was in the act of letting go of my background and expectations that enabled me to reconsider my existence and move towards a more rich, authentic experience of life.

Leaving behind suburban New Jersey, many belongings and cultural expectations, and facing life from a new angle was more than a breath of fresh air. It was the very thing that allowed me to move toward a more authentic experience of life. It was in the act of letting go of my background and expectations that enabled me to reconsider my existence and move towards a more rich, authentic experience of life. One that is less beholden to my past and cultural upbringing.

From casually sitting next to an armed friendly soldier on the way to Jerusalem, to being pushed and shouted at in the shuk (outdoor market), to being helped by strangers to do anything and everything, living in Israel has been, to say the least, a meaningful adventure. Moreover, the space away from the familiar has allowed me to grow and see things in a new light.

Living in Israel and reflecting on my experiences here, I have learned that through dislocation and disorientation, while potentially initially uncomfortable experiences, the very aspects of travel and moving abroad allow us to be our most authentic selves. I now know that in order to truly travel and move forward, I must let go–of my ties to the past, fixations of achieving specific ends, and superficial obsessions.

More than just letting go of my ties to cultural expectations, I started seeing the world with exuberance, constantly filled with energy and curiosity–wanting to taste everything (vegetarian of course), meet anyone, and try anything. I did not exhibit this type of awakened state before.

I now know that in order to truly travel and move forward, I must let go–of my ties to the past, fixations of achieving specific ends, and superficial obsessions.

I wish to continue exploring the world with this thirst for life and my biggest recommendation to anyone traveling, moving abroad, etc. is to let go of your hometown’s customs and your country’s cultural norms, and really be open to your surroundings. This eternally unfolding and indubitably interesting world is right at your feet.

 

How Moving Abroad Gave Me a Thirst for Life

About Sharon Zelnick

Sharon ZelnickSharon Zelnick is Pink Pangea’s Outreach Coordinator. Sharon holds an MA in comparative literature (summa cum laude) from Leiden University and a BA in liberal arts (magna cum laude) from Tel Aviv University. Originally from the US, Sharon has lived in the Netherlands and Israel and has traveled extensively through Europe, the Middle East, and Central America.

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