Well, here I am back in the land of the roo and once again pumping out my words to the blogging kingdom.
And I am grateful, so very grateful.
I will be blogging in more detail about our trip over the coming weeks. Each place we visited had its own unique hum and gifts to share and each is worthy of a mention. I could talk about the food, the architectural beauty, the culture and our experiences, but not in this post.
Today, I want to write about geographic boundaries, dodging missiles, coming home and gratitude.
When I left these Australian shores a month ago it was with the knowledge that I would be vigorously attacking the travel part of my bucket list. There were places we visited and almost visited that have been in my personal bucket for decades and they were finally going to be red penned with much excitement.
Travel is inherently risky. We could talk about statistics and probabilities and compare travel to other activities, but that would mean reducing feelings to numbers and introducing too much logic into what ultimately is a personal decision. Whatever the case, it’s a risk I have always willingly accepted.
For the first two weeks of our travels in Western European countries, we ate, we walked, we toured, we ate, we saw, we ate, we slept and we ate. This is not to say that all we do is eat on holidays. It just seems to be that when travelling one tends to have more encounters with food than usual. So I have a perception that I ate a lot, although my clothes seem to have forgiven me.
During the third week however, the news about the conflict in the Middle East became more extensive and urgent. For the most part we were stuck with the BBC news coverage, which seems to be the English news service of choice amongst our chosen innkeepers. We also knew that we had to make a call at the end of that week as to whether we would continue with our planned flight to Israel, a flight we booked a year ago. Making this decision for oneself is hard enough, but to also have to make it for your children raises the degree of difficulty exponentially. I can only imagine what decisions Palestinian and Israeli parents have to make for their children every day.
Whatever the merits or demerits of the current Palestinian/Israeli conflict, we were about to head straight into it.
I have discovered that Government travel advisories are only of limited assistance if you want to live a life wrapped in anything other than cotton wool. So I felt we were largely on our own in having to make the decision.
After considerable deliberation and angst we decided to proceed, having stored the email address and contact number of the Australian embassy so it was close at hand. Four air raid sirens and rocket blasts later, we observed and experienced what life was like under the Iron Dome.
And we flew out of Tel Aviv richer for our experiences – ALL of them.
It would take three flights and about 30 hours to get home to the other side of the world.
One of my favourite pieces of inflight entertainment is the route map. I love watching it in the warmth of cabin darkness, seeing the passing of time and passing of names of cities which roll off the tongues of our local news presenters with some effort. Names like Kandahar, Teheran and Jaipur. Then there are names of cities I had never heard of like Sevastpol in the Ukraine, adjacent to the Black Sea.
We were in the air at the time MH17 went down. We were one or two hours out of Singapore headed to Sydney – a seven hour flight. There was no indication of the tragedy that was to unfold over the Ukraine skies at the time we last tapped into the news during those precious final free WIFI grab moments at Changi airport.
Touching down in the cold of a Sydney’s winter day at 6 am in the morning, we felt tired and excited whilst feasting our eyes on the familiar. Turning on my local phone, we learned of the fate of MH17 whilst collecting our luggage from the arrival carousel. A luxury not afforded to the passengers of MH17.
And then came the swift realisation that we had been flying over the same region, if not squarely over the crash site, some 8 hours before the MH17 tragedy.
We are grateful to be home, we are grateful to have had the ability to wait for our luggage at the point of arrival and we are grateful to live in a land of peace. Our thoughts are with all of the families who lost members during the last month in each of these conflicts. One has to believe that humanity will ultimately prevail.
As always, I welcome your comments on my posts. However, I have no wish to turn this into a political debate about the conflicts referred to in this post or the political views about any country referred to in this post and I would ask that you respect that. I am merely relaying my personal recent travel experiences which happen to collide with current affairs.
11 thoughts on “Life Under the Iron Dome, MH 17 and a Tonne of Gratitude”
A typo, I’m sure, but Sevastopol, where The Charge of the Light Brigade happened during the Crimean War, is adjacent the Black Sea, not the Dead Sea. Imagine you still had Israel on your mind. We’re booked for several days in Israel in late November. We don’t know if it will happen, but since it is part of a cruise, it isn’t totally up to us. They’ve already eliminated Egypt from the itinerary.
Yes, you’re right I meant the Black Sea. Thanks, will correct it. I hope matters settle down ahead of your cruise. Such an amazing part of the world.
Wow….that was a close call. An eight-hour difference isn’t long enough considering what happened to MH17…This certainly turned out quite to be an eventful (and really scary!!!) trip…Glad you are here blogging again and not trapped there or worse…
I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip and are safely home. You were very brave to venture to Israel, and I’m sure that was not an easy decision for your family, but probably a once in a lifetime chance to witness something we usually see from the safety of our tv rooms. I look forward to hearing about the places, events and eats!!
Glad you are all home safe and sound.
Judy, I am glad you made it home safely. The loss of lives on the Malaysian flight shows how fragile we all are and it could have been anyone. To me, that is the cruelest thing about war, terrorism and violence, is the innocent tend to get killed more than those who promote the violence. On the Kindness blog, there is a picture this morning of a Ukrainian woman grieving for those who were killed on the flight, but to me she is also grieving for her country and those who are losing their lives there. Thanks for your email and I look forward to catching up. All the best, BTG
OMGosh! I’d be shaking like a leaf. Glad you’re home safe and I look forward to more stories about your trip(s).
Judy, I was really worried about you when you visited Israel. I am so glad that you are home and safe.
I am very much looking forward to hearing much more about your adventures 🙂
I’m glad you had a good trip and even gladder (if that’s a word) that you’re home safe. Peace is sadly underrated these days.
A beautifully written post Judy! It was an emotional read for me. I found myself tearing up a bit as I read it aloud to Nita. I’m looking forward to reading more about your trip and I can’t wait to spend time with you in October.
News about MH17 really rattled me … we had just landed in Germany the day before. I can’t imagine how incredibly close it felt for you. It seems that when I travel, the list of things I’m grateful for increases dramatically. Your post echoed that sentiment loudly.