Sunday, March 6, 2011

"I'm leaving...I'm gone!"

As some of you know, I am leaving the country today for once-in-a-lifetime trip to Israel.  I'm going with Birthright Israel, which is an incredible organization that pays for Jewish young people (ages 18--26) to visit their homeland (Israel) for the first time.  This ten-day trip is completely free and includes your flight, hotel accommodations, food, activities, and transportation.  The only things that aren't covered are booze and souvenirs.  Since I recently turned 27, this round of trips (I applied at age 26) was my last chance to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.  I obviously jumped at the chance.

You can read my sample itinerary here.  It includes amazing activities like a camel ride through the desert, a night in a Bedouin tent, and a sunrise hike up Masada.

Even more awesomely, you can pay a small airline fee (less than $200) to change your departure date and extend your trip in the Middle East.  I extended for five days and am going to Jordan during that time.  I have a friend who is living there on a fellowship (read her blog about the experience here) and we are going to visit Wadi Rum, Petra (the site of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade's climax), and her home in Amman.  (I am not worried about the demonstrations in Jordan, which seem to be peaceful and are largely calling for reform rather than ouster.  Of course, I will be safe and will keep my eye on the situation.)

Best of all?  My sister is coming on this trip with me!!  I am just so thrilled to be having this experience of a lifetime with her.

What does this mean for you, readers?  Basically nothing changes!!  I have a full schedule of posts to run in my absence, including lots of backlogged OOTDs, fitting room reviews, a new Inspiring Interpretations feature, and A GIVEAWAY!  You won't want to miss these things; I'm super-excited about them.

I've also got a bunch of awesome guest posts relating to the topic of hometown, culture, or heritage.  This topic seemed very appropriate since the reason for my absence is that I'm visiting my cultural/religious homeland for the first time.   I'm calling this the "Hometown Heritage Series," and I think you will really enjoy reading the different perspectives on the subject.

What WILL change:  I won't be responding to comments or emails while I'm gone, but I will read every single one of them when I return.  I also won't be able to comment on others' blogs while I'm away.  I won't be able to edit my blog entries until I get back, so if there's a problem with a photo or there's some kind of weird formatting issue, it will stay that way until I get back to the internet!

Until next time...shalom!

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