The giggles as we slathered each other in mud from the Dead Sea, the softly spoken prayers and tears at the Western Wall before Shabot dinner, the thunderous applause upon meeting the President and former Prime Minister and of course the off key notes sung in unison at the karaoke bar, these are the things I will remember about this trip. I have just returned from two weeks of traveling in Israel over spring break and am in awe of this wonderful experience.
Now, I fancy myself something of an experienced traveller and generally have a combination of sympathy and pity for anyone I see traveling in a large group led by an exasperated tour guide trying to herd cats. As such, it was with slight hesitation that I signed up for one of the Learning Expeditions Tuck offers for spring break. And I am glad I did because as with everything else, this was so much different at Tuck.
Traveling with 25 friends is totally different than any other group tour as I quickly learned. And while our guide was forced to sometimes hurry us along it never felt like we were stuck getting herded around. A few other students even remarked how they are generally opposed to group travel but were surprised how this felt nothing like that.
Over the course of the 10 day trip we saw the cultural sights of Jerusalem, visited tech companies in Haifa, one of the biggest R&D hubs of the world, met with political and business leaders and relaxed on the beaches of Tel Aviv. For as intrepid as I thought I was, there is no way I could have experienced Israel the same way on my own. The access we had to leaders of the country provided great insight into the religious, socio economic and geo political issues of the country along with personal stories provided so much color that one would never have experienced in just sticking to the tourist hubs.
Somehow even the most exotic and exciting trips never seem to quench my thirst for travel. Just the opposite in fact, my insatiable appetite only seems to grow further. This morning, I spent three hours researching my next destination, I am already looking forward to our next spring break. But in the mean time it is time to get back to work.