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I did not expect to find inner peace when I traveled to Israel, a place so tied to its history of conflict. Ultimately the experience was different than what I‘d imagined, different than in any other country I have ever visited.

With such a short and deep history, Israel embodies what I imagine are the principles of a startup company: a constant battle for a cause and a mix of fear and hope about what tomorrow will bring.

Running on very few hours of sleep for most of the two weeks I was there, I wondered how I felt so alive and well. Some people attribute this feeling to “something in the air,” but I think the Israeli lifestyle is unique. Some of the hallmarks of their way of living have remained part of my wellness journey, weeks after returning home.

The Mediterranean Diet

The Israelis have perfected the art of eating and, as a whole, rival some of the most intense foodies I have ever met. If you ask about “the conflict,” you could be referring to the battle over who makes the best hummus.

Just as there is supposedly “something in the air,” there must be something in the water: The fruits and vegetables in Israel are among the tastiest and most abundant I’ve ever eaten. At home, I might head to grab pizza or kati roll after a late night of dancing. In Israel, I headed straight for the 24-hour fruit shake stand to refresh and catch up with friends before the sunrise. If you visit, do not leave without tasting the hummus, falafel, dates, shakshuka (a spicy poached egg dish) and fruit shakes.

The Dead Sea

The only thing better than miraculously floating in the Dead Sea was being able to take a piece of it home with me. After soaking up the Middle Eastern sun for two weeks, my skin was thankful for a visit to Israel's famous natural spa. I also discovered mineral-rich products from the Dead Sea water and mud that left my skin rejuvenated and soft. I brought back a myriad of them and a deeper appreciation for the healing powers of nature. Luckily, my new obsession with Dead Sea beauty products only requires a trip to my local Whole Foods Market, where some of the popular Israeli brands like Ahava stock their items. 

Live In The Now

Life in Israel provides a constant reminder to stay present. Visiting a place with only 60 years of history and no certainty for the future forces you to adjust your attitude. I became hypersensitive to my surroundings: The ever-changing landscape reminded me to take each new experience with a fresh perspective. Traveling from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, I noticed the complexities of daily life vary greatly. 

One constant, and a daily testament to the beauty of Israel, is the sunrise. Whether waking up early to hike Masada or heading home after a typical evening in Tel Aviv, watching the sunrise each morning grounded me every day, before I set out on a new adventure.

photo credits: dearclaudia, lukasz wierbowski, angelita niedziejko

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