The Israeli portion of my trip was, at best, poorly organized. I knew I had just over a week and I figured I’d go to Tel Aviv and… do something. I’d probably also go… other places?
On Thursday, the day before I left Ramallah, I figured I should probably come up with a plan. I did some last minute googling and found two places - Haifa and Masada - that seemed cool, and threw Jerusalem on the list as well. A few days in each spot would be a pretty solid week, so I found an Airbnb in Haifa and headed out.
Some more Googling and I found a few really cool things in Haifa. Apparently it has some great surf spots, the beautiful Baha'i Gardens, an awesome open market, and a great boardwalk. I could easily do all this in the 60ish hours I was planning on being there. I had a great first day in Haifa walking the boardwalk (check!) and heading to a BBQ with a new friend.
Then I slept for almost 12 hours. And that’s when things started falling apart.
Waking up at 1:30 in the afternoon really screws up the day. I’d already slept through the English tour of the Baha'i Gardens. Then I felt so lethargic, I didn’t get out of bed for another hour. Add in another hour for my daily writing and shower, and I was finally out the door by… four. I had a few more hours of daylight, so I headed to the Gardens. I missed the tour, but I could still wander on my own.
The taxi driver dropped me off at the entrance to the Gardens, but I had run out of shekels. So I ran to find an ATM (and an afternoon breakfast). Then I managed to take a wrong turn on the way back, and ended up walking a few kilometers out of my way. I thought it would intersect with where I needed to be and I kept looking for a way off the road (which seemed to be on the side of a cliff), but there was no way to get off the road.
I finally got back to the Gardens at 6:30, and apparently they close at 5. Damnit. I didn’t know where the market was, and it was definitely too late to go surfing. I was pretty frustrated that all I had managed to do that day was withdraw a few shekels from an ATM, and upset I had managed to miss every one of the things I wanted to do in Haifa. So I just started walking.
There’s a phrase that’s gotten popular the last few months, FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out.
It’s the fear that you’re not doing the best thing possible. That you’re missing out on something cooler than what you’re doing now. That the experience you’re having is not the greatest possible experience.
South by Southwest is an extreme example of this. No matter how awesome of a time you’re having, there is always something more awesome happening within a block from you. When people hear about (or even just worry about) what else might be happening that they’re missing out on, it makes it much harder to enjoy what you’re doing now.
While I was on my kind of pissed off walk yesterday, I realized I could either be frustrated about all the things I didn’t do, or I could just accept and enjoy what I was able to accomplish: Lots of rest, wrote a good blog post, got local currency, ate some great falafel, got my backflip picture for Haifa, and got to explore a neighborhood.
It’s shorter, and not as impressive, as the list I wanted. But I could either be unhappy and focus on the things I didn’t do, or happy and focus on the things I did do.
Then today I accidentally woke up at noon and tried to find a place to stay in Masada, but realized everything was $400+ a night. So it looks like that won’t work out. So I needed to find a different city to go to and a place to stay tonight, which took long enough that it screwed up my chance to go to the Gardens or the market again.
Did yesterday’s realization give me the zen-like ability to be okay with this? No. Not really. Pretty frustrated about it. But I’m working toward finding ways to be okay with whatever happens, even if I can’t do everything I wanted to do.
If you have any recommendations on how to do that, let me know in the comments.
Backflip in front of the Baha'i Gardens. I had another tourist take this. I had my camera on burst mode, but somehow she kept missing it. We had to do three takes, and this was the best picture that came out of it. I thought they were Russian, so I said “spasibo” (“thank you” in Russian). She looked a little offended and said she wasn’t Russian. Then we both awkwardly walked away.