First impressions are such an important thing to get right no matter the situation. We all know if you go to a restaurant and get a bad meal, the knock on effect is that you probably won’t return and are very likely to spread negative feedback to all of your friends. So when I accepted an invitation to attend the Once In A Lifetime 2.0 blog trip to Israel, I knew that first day could easily make or break how I would feel about the people and the country.
Having navigated the rather thorough security staff in London before boarding my flight you could forgive me for thinking the trip was getting off to a bad start. But hey I was going into this with an open mind and didn’t want to start judging a book by it’s cover just yet.
Any concerns I had soon faded after meeting the shall I say very excited Keren and Omry at Ben Garion Airport at the very early time of 6am. It was here where I started to learn just how much this trip meant to these students of the Technion and University of Haifa. I’m always excited about travel but these guys… WOW it was like someone had just told them they had won the lotto.
Running on no sleep myself, (Keren and Omry too I think) we caught the train up to Haifa from Tel Aviv and checked into our hotel before setting off to walk some of the streets of Haifa. Not 2 hours in the country and already I’m learning about the history of Haifa and getting to know these amazing people that will be our guides and friends for the trip.
The point where they really blew my mind however was meeting everyone for dinner that first night. Imagine 20+ people all waiting eagerly for you to arrive and knowing everything about you. I’ll be honest it was an intimidating experience, I’m not used to having everybody know my entire story before I get to tell them. The funny thing was that even while I knew nothing about them, the smilies and the handshakes and the aura of excitement that surrounded the night made me feel like I did.
It didn’t matter that I had just met Maxim (The Money Man) or Ori (Damage) or the beautiful Chen, they all felt like friends I’d known for years. Here I was in Israel, a place my family, friends and the media would say OMG you can’t go there it’s not safe. Instead all I was thinking about was that if these few people were so amazing then I can’t wait to get out and see the rest of Israel and its people because I’m in love already.
So to answer that million dollar question “What Was My First Impression Of The Trip?” did it live up to the images built up in my mind? The answer is quite simple… I was blown away. I have so much to tell you all that I hope you will follow along with my trip and maybe learn a few things about Israel like I am.