Today, I woke up very early in the morning to do some translation work before going diving. It was rainy and quite cold (cold for Filipino standards ;-)) so it took me a while to get up and bring my computer back to bed. Because of the time difference between me and my family, I usually find a lot of new messages waiting for me to read or listen to right after I wake up. Today was no different and after going through few of them, I saw that I had a new Facebook notification. I checked it out and it turned out that today’s Facebook memory reminded me that I left Israel exactly 3 years ago. 3 years I thought, that’s a long time! Facebook showed me some pictures from the goodbye party on the beach we organized just before I took off and I felt the melancholy and longing again.
I miss my friends, I miss the food, I miss the parties on the desert and I miss the madness of this country. Crazy I know, but I really do. I lived in Tel Aviv for almost 3 years and I had the time of my life. I was devastated when my visa expired and I couldn’t find a way to renew it. I had to leave but I really didn’t want to, I got quite depressed and felt like I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. The whole world was open and I could do whatever I wanted but at that point, I felt that the only place I wanted to be was in Israel – and I couldn’t be there. I cried and cried and cried but eventually, I found myself in Ben Gurion airport carrying two heavy suitcases and leaving behind people and places that I loved so much.
So today, when I was lying in my bed in my tiny remote house in the Philippines, after 3 years of traveling and living the craziest adventures around the globe I started to wonder, what if I hadn’t have left? What If I just stayed there, what If I wasn’t pushed into the deep seas of the unknown that eventually brought me to where I am now? It was extremely hard to admit, but looking back at past years I realized that being kicked out of Israel was one of the best things that has happened to me. Obviously, I couldn’t see it back then and obviously, there is still a wound in my heart reminding me of how hard it was to leave, but all the things I’ve done and the direction I’ve grown in would never be possible if I haven’t have left.
After leaving Tel Aviv, I started my adventures that led me to writing this blog. I’ve travelled to faraway places where I met amazing people who are now a part of my big family of friends. I’ve discovered the underwater world and became a Divemaster, which allows me to have the coolest job in the world anywhere I want! I practiced and practiced and practiced and finally took Yoga Teacher Training that taught me many valuable lessons and made me a stronger and I hope better person. That means that now I can teach yoga around the world and that is a huge privilege for me! I even managed to get my feet on Hawaii, which has been a big dream of mine since I can remember. None of those, and many other smaller and bigger things would ever have been possible if I hadn’t have left my beloved Israel.
Seeing my painful breakup with Israel from a different perspective made me realize again how easily bad can turn into good as well as good turn into bad. Or maybe there isn’t any good or bad – just the angle we see things and decide to perceive them as positive or negative. It’s not an unknown fact that big sorrows are often followed by huge happiness, but perhaps one has to experience it itself to really see the twisted nature of life.
One of the really important things traveling taught me was not to judge people or life circumstances too fast and always have faith that everything will work out eventually. There were moments that hope was the last thing I had as there were no rational signs that there was any chance things could get better. But somehow, in the end, I always made it through bad days, weeks and months.
It’s so trendy now to talk about human growth, developing higher consciousness and becoming a better person, but not many talk about what kind of mess one has to go through to get there. The final result is always pretty, but the path that leads there is usually bumpy and not always full of pleasant surprises.
I don’t know how my life would look if I had stayed in Israel (I try to picture it but it’s really hard), but I know that regardless of everything that happened on the way and what’s yet to come I’m so very happy and grateful for all of those wonderful lessons and gifts I received from life the past few years. Waking up today to the sound of warm rain, breathing the fresh air and watching the mountains hiding behind the clouds while eating the most delicious mangos in the entire world reminded me that although sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned and we might feel like everything goes wrong, life is full of marvellous surprises that very often wait for us behind that door we are afraid or not willing to cross.