That Girl Away

On a tour of the fjords in September 2015 in Norway.

Happy Weekend! It’s one week (+ one day) before I leave on a ten day trip to Israel – the homeland! – for Birthright. I’m sneaking in just before I age out of the newly expanded age range. Two months before I age out, to be exact – but who’s counting?

I haven’t traveled with a group, or a tour guide (or another person for that matter) since I was 22 and newly graduated from college. I had never traveled by myself before – I was met at Heathrow Airport by a representative from my study abroad program and taken via bus to my new neighborhood of Kensington, so that didn’t count as ‘traveling by myself’ – so that’s why I chose to go on a Contiki tour (because: anxiety). But I beat that anxiety several years back, traveled alone, and realized that traveling on my own is ACES.


One morning in Budapest, March 2018.

BUT when I was offered a free trip abroad, I couldn’t turn it down, so I’m going on a tour with 17 or 18 other people who range in age from 27-32. Although I’m generally excited to go to a part of the world I’ve only been to on a layover (in Istanbul last year), but there are a few things I’m a little bit nervous about so I thought I’d write about them here:

  1. Being Tired All the Time: When I spoke on the phone a week or so ago to the woman leading my trip and she asked what I was most nervous about I told her that I was nervous that I wasn’t going to get enough sleep. I really like to sleep for 7 or 8 hours a night, even when traveling, and I am just nervous AF that I’m going to be exhausted and running on adrenaline and caffeine the whole time. I say this based on my experiences on group tours before.
  2. Not Enough Free Time: I’m used to the ENTIRE time being free time and being by myself. This will be quite the change of pace. I remember starting to dread having to do touristy things in London back in 2017 before my then-boyfriend and I split up when we were planning to visit and he’d never been before, but I’d been there twice. My mind was literally racing at night in a panic thinking about how I wouldn’t have free reign over my time. This is selfish but this is why I travel by myself.
  3. Being Judgmental of My Fellow Travelers: I try not to be judgmental and oftentimes I succeed, but sometimes I meet people and immediately make assumptions that aren’t easily reversed in my mind. When I traveled with a group in 2008, we had almost three weeks together and I was desperate to make friends, so we all got to know each other pretty well. This time I’m an adult and I’m not really concerned with making friends on a short 10 day trip. But I would like to avoid pre-judging people if possible, and it is possible, duh. I just need to be really present and aware.

Bonus: I won’t have any time to meditate. Because of the aforementioned lack of free time and being tired.

If you’ve been on the newly minted Young Professionals Birthright Israel trip and can quell any of my concerns, please do. Email me or let me know in the comments below!

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