currently in: Ronda, Spain

Traveling in Israel, updates, and photos from the trip

Some of you who keep an eye on the blog and my youtube channel may know that I’m currently traveling in Israel until November 2012.

I’ll fly back to PA on November 2nd, get braces (have been needing these for a while now), and then head down to Miami so I can live in warm weather.

So a lot has been happening here…

Externally,

• I’ve been all over the country this month: Golan Heights, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dea Sea, Negev Desert, Haifa, Tiberias, Caesarea, Sea of Galilee, and more.

• I’ve been serendipitously meeting amazing people and have been finding myself in deep and inspirational conversations.

• I’ve couchsurfed with 1 person in Jerusalem, and 4 different people in Tel Aviv.

• I met Eric & Anja, who are traveling by bike around the world for one year starting in Portugal and ending in New Zealand.  They’ve explained to me details of their trip, as well as tips for how they keep their digital life organized.  Thanks for mini-lesson on databases guys!  Oh, and Anja’s dog Petey is a viral success.  He plays volleyball and basketball.  Check him out!

• I rented an apartment 2 blocks from the beach.  You can see a map of the place here.  I’ve been waking up early most days (between 6:30-8am) and either running, exercising, or swimming at the beach.  I also bought a juicer so I’ve been feeling extra healthy!

new juicer and apple, carrot, spinach juice

• I’m building my 2nd online course.

• I’m editing 3 different video interviews I’ve done in the past few months.  Keep an eye out for them!

and a lot is happening internally…

• I’m gaining more and more clarity with the things I want in life.

• I’m getting better at telling the story of my life’s journey.

• I’ve been spending more time in contemplation.

• I’ve been feeling slightly depressed at different points in the day and have found myself falling into slumps.

Since I’ve rented a place for the month of September, and a lot of the external stimuli (constantly on the move) has subsided, I’ve found myself snoozing on the alarm and waking up late the past few days.  FYI, I’ve been tracking my sleeping and waking times for 5 months now, because I realized that by choosing to be self-employed, I need to will myself out of bed each and every morning in order to get shit done.

Sure, I could sleep in if I want, but how the hell am I ever going to accomplish all I truly want to accomplish in life?  I’ve also been emotionally eating and feeling low about myself this past week.

I am wondering…. do you ever feel like this when you remove a lot of external stimulus and “noise” ?

On a skype call the other day with a good buddy Josh Lipovetsky, I realized that I can be rather egotistical at times, and in doing so, ultimately leads to me feeling depressed.  There’s this whole comparing myself to others thing….

When I compare myself to those whom I perceive to “be below me”, it makes me feel good about myself, my life choices, my current results in life, and who I am as a person.  When I compare myself to those whom I perceive to be above me, I can feel inadequate, I loose motivation, and I think the projects I’m working on are shit.

It’s funny – I’ve written about this before.  I has been a repeating pattern in my adult life, and I would like to work on it more deeply. I’ve been thinking of gong to an ayahuasca retreat soon.  I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about it’s healing properties, and it’s come into my awareness multiple times this month.  That’s “sign enough” for me ;)

I don’t really know what to make of all this right now.  Even as I write this post, my thoughts are a little all over the place, and I’m even judging my writing style.  But at the same time, I don’t give a shit.  I’d rather just “freewrite” it and not hide how I’m feeling or thinking.  I feel like any great journey has twists and turns, ups and downs, confusion and clarity, etc… and I’d rather just write about what I’m currently going through as I know these words will resonate with some people and this blog post will also be a nice reminder for me to read in the future.

Okay, enough with all the depression crap.  Let’s close this post out with some photos and videos from the trip.  I’m still researching what the best photo gallery plugin is, and I’ve tried 2 so far (neither has worked as desired), so I’m just going to insert the photos in the post below.  I originally had about 90 photos to show you, but I’ll have to put in a bit less.

Here are some photos from the trip so far…

At the Western Wall, with The Dome of the Rock in the background
At the Western Wall, with The Dome of the Rock in the background (gold roof).

 

With a friend's family in Northern Israel
This photo was taken at my friend Shiraz’s house. She’s not in the photo, as she had to leave early that morning. I stayed overnight there and a great time with her family… barbecuing, teaching the two little guys handstands, teaching Niv (far left) how to juggle (I also sent him a set of juggling balls in the mail), and having some deep, meaningful life conversations with Sagi and Dekel (guys to my right).
Next to Niv, is Shiraz’s mom Malka, then Dekel’s wife (forgot her name, but a lovely person!), and then Dekel (far right) is holding his son Itamar.
Below you’ll see a video of me inside a bat cave. Sagi and Niv took me hiking there.

 

At the Dead Sea, Israel
Here I am at the Dead Sea covered in some kind of mineral mud. It was a great experience there, and I wish I had more photos of us in the water. It’s hilarious.. you really cant’ sink. It’s impossible. You just keep bobbing on the surface ;)

 

My traveling gear
This is a photo of my traveling gear. 2 bags. One large “traveler’s/hiking backpack” and one regular sized school packback. I was getting ready to walk to the bus station in Jerusalem and take the bus over to Tel Aviv. I had an intense experience at the station there, and may publish that blog post soon.

 

Sunrise at the Western Wall, Israel
I woke up early one morning to photograph the sunrise at the Western Wall. I was hoping to do some HDR photography, but there was a lot of lens flare, and it proved challenging in photoshop.
I aslo get yelled at by some guys who said I was on the rooftop of someone’s house. Luckily I convinced them to let me stay for a few more minutes so I could get this shot.

 

At the Lebanese and Syrian border
This guy next to me (“71 years old, no regrets”) just got done giving a very inspirational and passionate talk about a lot of things. I didn’t agree with everything he said, be I admired his honesty and his firm belief in living life on your own terms. In the background is the Lebanese and Syrian border.

 

Sunset on the beaches of Tel Aviv, Israel
This photo turned out beautiful! I was on a tight schedule this evening, and I had a few minutes to run to the beach and capture the sunset. This is in Tel Aviv.

 

With a cow in Haifa, Israel
My friend Esti took me hiking this day in Haifa. We were at a small water spring where cows come to drink from time to time. I tried to get as close as possible, but it was a little scary. They are a lot bigger up close LOL! He was a little shy and didn’t let me pet him much.

 

With nice people in Jerusalem, Israel
A retired attorney, his wife, and I myself in Old City, Jerusalem. I was walking around asking people if I could take their photo. They agreed, but were curious as to why I was taking people’s photos. We ended up speaking for nearly 30 minutes. It was a great conversation, and this is the photo I took before they left :)

 

gym on the beach in tel aviv, israel
Here is where I exercise on some mornings (at the beach near my sublet for September). I have to get really creative there since there it is a limited setup, but I’m able to do pull ups, dips, shoulder press, a triceps press, shoulder raises, and of course, calisthenics. I usually superset everything to get the cardio going too!

 

Hiking in Golan Heights
I took this photo of myself while hiking in a “secret nature reserve” in the Golan Heights. The guy I went with is an experienced hiker, and was able to sneak us in.
The night prior I slept out under the stars, and then woke at 5am. It was the most technical hike I’ve done to date. We had to swim, climb, and descend some dangerous terrain. It was an amazing experience.

 

On Ben Yehuda, Jerusalem
I was called to approach this lady and give her some money. At first, I gave her all the change I had (1 shekel… about 25 cents, US). She smiled and blessed me. As I walked away, I was called to go back and get a photo with her. After taking the photo, I sat with her for some time. She didn’t speak any English (not even one word) and I didn’t understand anything she was saying. She was praying, did a number of blessings, and even started to kiss my hand and my entire forearm lol – it was adorable. We sat together and held hands as she smoked a cigarette. She offered me a cigarette, but I shook my head, letting her know I didn’t smoke. We both smiled and laughed. There were many people walking by looking at us holding hands. I didn’t care. It was an amazing experience to spend time with her, and to see life from her perspective.
Before I left, I felt I should give her more. I reached into my pocket and gave her the largest bill denomination I had (200 shekels.. which is about $50 US dollars). She kissed my forehead, my hand, and my entire arm and was so thankful.. she was smiling and thanking the universe/god. It was adorable. I kissed her on the forehead, blessed her with all my energy, and continued to walk back to the bar where the rest of the group was hanging out.

It’s funny how not-depressed I feel after uploading all those photos and writing the descriptions.  I think I’m too hard on myself at times, and that leads to my feelings of depression and confusion.  I’m happy I feel better after writing this.  I feel like I’ve been through 6 different emotions while writing this.  Blogging is definitely helping me in my life :)

Below are 2 video from the trip as well.  The first is some street music I heard in the mystical town of Tzfat, and the second video is from inside the bat cave with Sagi and his brother Niv.

By default youtube plays the videos in 360p, but you can change the settings by hitting the little “wheel icon” and watching in 720 or 1080p for higher resolution.

 

 

About Matt

I'm a location-independent entrepreneur, passionate about life-long learning & personal development. Co-founder @ LLC University. Spiritual vantage point. Systems-thinker. Read more about me here: More details.

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11 comments

  1. I hear you on the depression thing, man. I get like that myself from time to time. For me the key is to not beat myself up about it, and just accept that there’s a natural ebb and flow to our moods sometimes. We have this myth in Western society that we should be happy all the time, but methinks that’s pretty much impossible. I remember hearing from someone before that we can’t always be happy, but we can always be at peace.

    Anyways, rock on with your legendary self.

    • I like that way of looking at ~ we don’t always need to be happy, but we can always be at peace :-)

      With time I feel the beating up on oneself lessens and lessens, and I too have been practicing. It really does seem like we are rhythmic beings and it’s necessary, and mentally healthier to accept the ebb and flow of life.

      Thanks Niall !

  2. Wow! This is so inspiring. I think we all are too hard on ourselves at some point. It’s moments like the ones you are experiencing that let you know life is all about your perception and we do have a choice, we honestly get to choose how we feel in some sort of way. Keep inspiring us to inspire others Matt.

    • Really, thanks Chelli! I appreciate the rockin’ comment :)

      You’re so right… I was chatting with a friend last night who reminded me of how fortunate we are. This life thing really is a practice ;) Like Niall mentioned below… life is really an ebb and flow, and I’m not sure why there is so much pressure (internal and external) to act like we’re always happy!

      I know you said to take photos… man, do I have a lot! I think I’m going to just do a large photo post soon, so I’ll let you know :)

  3. Hi Matt, first time reading you and I love this post :) I think I love it because it’s just so real – the bumpiness and confusion and difficulties in transitioning from understanding to embodying..it’s totally awesome that you put it out there because this is it, the raw journey of life..and it can be tiring sometimes as an aspiring life-rocker to feel like everyone’s got it totally sorted. Sharing is cool :)

    • Hey Stephanie, much thanks for all the kind words :) I really appreciate it! Sometimes I’m rockin’ it real high, feeling great, and everything is flowing… and sometimes, I get low, feel the struggle, and lose motivation. The past 30 days have been very interesting… I’ve really been procrastinating on a large project, and feeling like I’m all over the place mentally.

      I know that I’ll reflect back on this post (and others) and some near time, and be like, damn… it’s all a part of the hustle.

      I hope to continue with this transparency, and sharing of my journey. Thanks again for stopping by :) You rock !!

    • Everybody loves real talk, y0 :)

  4. That is some REAL TALK, Matt.

    Respect.

    I love it.

    And I’ll offer something most don’t consider.

    Chaos is essential to growth and order and awesomeness.

    Do you want awesomeness?

    You need some periods of depression + chaos.

    I’ve had more than almost anyone I know — but Ryze is also the strongest brand of anyone I know ;)

    • Thanks Jay! It’s really so true now that I hear it externally, and see where you’re coming from. Depression and chaos are always stirring up something more profound and powerful. It’s all about riding the waves and not getting attached to them – something I’m working on now.

      Thanks for chiming in brother !!

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