I Miss the Middle East

Sounds kind of crazy, maybe? I don’t think so, but allow me to explain:

I absolutely LOVE to travel. I love learning new languages, I love geography, I love crossing places off of my bucket list. It’s a thrill, and I get pleasure out of knowing that I am comfortable going almost anywhere as a solo traveler when so many others (especially fellow women) are often reluctant to do so. For me, there is nothing more wonderful than finding myself in a brand-new place, with a brand-new culture and language.

So, almost two and a half years ago, I visited Israel for the first time. I didn’t go for any kind of religious or political reason, but out of simple curiosity. I wanted to learn more about the Israel-Palestine conflict, but I also just wanted to experience life in the region and talk to people who live there.

Before I even boarded my flight, reality struck like a hammer to the head. I was booked on El Al, Israel’s national airline, and I was unprepared for the onslaught of questioning that I would be subject to before I could even get in line to go through security. It was intense; I ended up being sequestered with two other redheads, and we sat together as a group as the El Al staff searched all of our belongings. Fortunately, we made our flight. Although I was shaking a little, I was very happy to be on the plane and on my way.

Long story short, I ended up spending a solid portion of 2015 living in Israel. I lived in Tel Aviv, a liberal, cosmopolitan, and very beautiful city. I worked at a startup incubator on the port off of the Mediterranean Sea. I made a great friend, began to learn two languages, and saw a lot of wonderful art. I also visited parts of the West Bank, witnessed religious extremism up close, had additional problems with Israeli security, and saw quite a bit of government-endorsed discrimination. I guess you could say my experience was a mixed bag, but it was certainly an adventure.

I get bored easily. I get antsy. My focus in life right now is getting a full-time job but I do hope to return to the region one day. I want to see more of the West Bank, and I also really want to go to Jordan. Maybe UAE too, or Qatar. I am very aware, probably more than most people, of the various instabilities in the Middle East. But that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for me. Life is risk, and although I don’t plan on traveling to any war zones, I do want to spend more time in that part of the world. Life for me is a learning experience, a class that I never want to end.

I have a ton of photos from my time in Israel, but I’m going to divvy them up. I’m saving conflict-related shots for a future post. I also have a series of photos of Tel Aviv’s street cats, but that will also be saved for another day.

Tonight’s pictures are some of my most personal I guess. I have better shots, but these are just the introductory images. I don’t know…

Enjoy, hopefully:


I got off the plane and this is where I went first: the village of Zikhron Ya’akov.  (c) Gabrielle Lipner 2015


Respect your local vandals. I have a ton of great graffiti pics, but they’ll have to wait for another day. (c) Gabrielle Lipner 2015

I think that’s enough for one night. Thoughts welcome, as always.



2 thoughts on “I Miss the Middle East

  1. Hi. I’m a friend of your dad’s. I’m extremely interested in reading about your experiences living in Israel. It is one of my dreams to visit one day. I’m curious to hear about the government discrimination you witnessed. I’m curious about everything, really.


    • Hello Nicole! I would love to talk to you about my experiences in Israel, and I am happy to answer any questions. You can send me an email via this site (so I have your info) and perhaps we can start corresponding.


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